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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 08/ 8/2008

The Morning Line: When Laffs Are an Olympian Task

By Michael Cavna

TANK McNAMARA: Let the synchronized-tween-gymnasts-on-steroids jokes begin. (UPS)Enlarge Comic

As the glorious Olympic torch is raised aloft tonight and the world's ultimate athletes bask in the heart-warming glow of international camaraderie before battling friend, foe and Beijing "air," there is one hurdle we all must face:

The glut of Olympic-themed comics.

Be forewarned, comics readers: It will get downright ugly at times. Some storylines will be strained, some gags will be milked. But as we help spur you through this grueling marathon of sometime mediocrity, we are confident of one thing: If you can endure years of "Beetle Bailey," then you can withstand a torturous two weeks of Tiananmen Square gags (and there's a term you don't see everyday).

So, safe to say you can expect the usual round of "jokes" about (pick at least three from the menu): performance-enhancing drugs; synchronized swimming; Tiananmen Square; dicey dismounts; Speedos; Tiananmen Square; parallel bars; errant shot puts; enormo weightlifters; and did we mention Tiananmen Square?

So we encourage you to stay focused. Stay hydrated. And whenever possible, don't inhale the stale comic air.

Now, on to the gold medals for this week's Riffys:

BREVITY: Giving new meaning to "cleaning lady." (UFS) Enlarge Comic

1. FAVORITE SIGHT GAG: "Brevity" (Friday). Variations on this visual theme might be as old as vaudeville, flappers and still-delightful comic "Little Nemo in Slumberland," but from mop to plungers, this one is executed splendidly. Well-played, Guy & Rodd.

GET FUZZY: "What's the matter, Satchel? Cat got your pun?" (UFS) Enlarge Comic

2. FAVE WORDPLAY: "Get Fuzzy" (all week). The "three-punch hole" pulled us in, but it is today's "fireproof defiling cabinet" that knocks us out. Pound for pound, pun for pun, Bucky is our favorite little linguist.

CANDORVILLE: Life on the download. (WPWG) Enlarge Comic

3. MOST DISTURBING IMAGE: "Candorville" (Sunday). Shock. Recoil. Is that the unholy spawn of the late great Sam Kinison? No matter what Darrin Bell was going for, this yapping representation of the Internet will haunt our waking dreams. At least for a coupla more days and nights.

What comics this week made you want to stand and cheer, or recline and jeer? Our Line is now open...

NOTE: From now on, look for our riffage on the
weekend's comics in Monday's "Morning Line."

By Michael Cavna  | August 8, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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I heart Get Fuzzy

Would you like a salt and battery?

Posted by: J Cline | August 8, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Don Asmussen's(?)"Bad Reporter," The take off on headlines from a faux tabloid paper kill me. Most recent example: "Feds Mistakenly Bail Out Bernie Mac Instead of Freddie Mac."

Posted by: Bob Stockton | August 8, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

"Splendidly executed"? I disagree.

To be funny, a gag should make a certain kind of sense. There should be a 'logical' correlation between the set-up and the reveal.
The "cleaning lady" cartoon fails in several ways: Why would Mrs Denton wear a top that featured two black blobs (the set-up), the same size as her breasts? It's such a stretch to believe anyone would make -- let alone wear -- something as bizarre as that, it's just not believable; I can't suspend my disbelief that much.

Only after looking at the cartoon several times, did I see there's apparently meant to be a vague shape -- made up of several mops, a couple rags and two plungers, all somehow hanging in space -- resembling Mrs Denton (the reveal). The plungers seem meant to relate to her breasts; otherwise why the black shading?

Why does the janitor's bucket contain TWO plungers? Seems too unlikely for a coincidence.

Is this supposed to be something Janitorman created... or a chance arrangement?

The cartoon could have worked better -- with some subtlety -- without the emphasis on the black circles on her chest.

Posted by: Nelson | August 8, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Nelson, does it also bother you that cats in comic strips can talk?

Posted by: Clint | August 9, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Cats -- talking? Where???

Actually, I don't mind talking cats. Or dogs...
Or fish; I like talking fish, especially in Sherman's Lagoon.
I think it all depends on the cartoonist to create a world where the "logic" is that cats (or fish) CAN talk.
If the cat says something funny, so much the better.

Posted by: Nelson | August 10, 2008 1:14 AM | Report abuse

I'm disappointed and annoyed by Tank McNamara's Beijing comics. As the Post's own reporters in Beijing can verify, China is not nearly as closed or restrictive as Millar & Hinds portray it. It's clear that they have not been to China recently, nor did they bother to ask anyone if things had changed since 1989.

Posted by: William | August 11, 2008 3:08 AM | Report abuse

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