September 20th, 2018


Friday, 21 September 2018

The one where you can’t tell what gender the gym teacher is, only that he/she looks great with basketballs.

(Strip Number 5196, Original Publication Date, 22 September 1989)

Panel 1: Believe it or not, this panel is the first time Lynn Johnston drew a basketball goal in her comic strip and it was only to serve the visual joke at the end.   Up until this moment, Lynn has been content to show Michael throwing the ball at a wall instead of at a goal, and it made me wonder if she knew basketball goals exist.

The gym teacher seems somewhat masculine with a broad chest and a close, neat haircut.   Michael does call him “sir” as the gym teacher demands Gordon remove his hormone attack protection hat and glasses.  Maybe this is the reason they are all in purple, because it does seem like you would want to concentrate on anything else other than Mike and Gordon’s incredibly spindly bodies.   A good wind would snap those boys in half.

Panel 2: But then in Panel 2, the gym teacher’s masculine haircut gets longer.  Even though Michael still calls the gym teacher “sir”, I am beginning to think that Michael would call any gym teacher “sir”, regardless of gender.

Panel 3: In this panel, the gym teacher shows off feminine hips and has grown an earring in the left ear and places the basketballs at just the right height to show that, while Lynn Johnston still does not know how to draw basketballs, she knows where the breasts are.  Gordon has an immediate reaction and I can kind of understand that.  Those don’t look like basketballs.  They look like melons, which does put across a certain verbal joke, since “melons” are a slang word which corresponds to a woman’s chest, unlike basketballs which are not.

I honestly wonder if Lynn realized mid-strip the gym teacher needed to be female for the joke to work and decided to start drawing the gym teacher more like a woman, instead of going back and replacing, “sir” with “ma’am” or redrawing the first gym teacher picture to be a little less macho.  Lynn has had a lot of lazy drawing this week, so what’s one more?

Panel 4: “AAAGH” and Gordon is down on the floor with a massive gas cloud.  The “WHUMP!” sound effect is smaller this time and I suspect it was because Gordon was cushioned a little from expelling all that gas.   The gym teacher looks on in amazement as he/she and the readers realize this really is the punchline for this comic strip.

Summary:   If a female wears sportswear or even if she carries sports equipment, it doesn’t matter to Gordon Mayes and his hormone attacks.  Gordon will be falling and expelling gas.  Hold your nose and protect your women!