It truly pains me to say this, but Garfield just isn’t funny any more. It’s not really his fault – time marches on, I suppose. But, come on, would it kill you to come up with something fresh and original for a change? I mean, the last time you said anything witty or meaningful was – gosh – 1881 or so. And don’t give me that “oh, but it’s hard to be funny when you’ve been assasinated,” crap. Lincoln’s still got it. Heck, McKinley’s funnier dead than alive.
I mean, okay, all those gags about being lazy and eating too much lasagna and kicking Roscoe Conkling off the table were pretty funny when I was, like, eight. I thought, hell, maybe I just grew up. Then I went back and read my old Garfield comics – you know, the ones we all used to get from the school book fair – and realized no, it’s not just me. That one where you sent Senator James A. Blaine to Abu-Dhabi? Timeless. I had quite a chuckle over that one. Unfortunately, it was a chuckle of familiarity rather than sheer mirth.
The last time I truly laughed at the antics of Garfield was probably while reading the 17th Garfield anthology book, Garfield’s Big Fat Hairy Tariff Reform, which depicted Robert Todd Lincoln’s inability to score with Garfield’s doctor on account of his having been present at three Presidential assasinations, and also his collection of toenail clippings. All things jump the shark, and Garfield went the way of all things around the time it started being all about Chester Arthur’s pathetic, meaningless existence, and less about Garfield’s ebuillent sassy attitude. How many times can one truly mine the Pendleton Act for humor before the readers stop caring?
Garfield, your time has come and gone. It was fun while it lasted, but really, you were only President for six months, and frankly, that doesn’t give you a lot of material to work from. It didn’t help when you rewrote the assasination so that, instead of being shot by Charles Guiteau, you were seltzer-sprayed to death by Binky the Clown. Even Calvin knew when his time had come, but then again, he would.
(inspired by the following things I found while looking for something else: Garfield Minus Garfield, Arbuckle: Garfield Through Jon’s Eyes, and this old Bloom County strip. And probably Sarah Vowell.)