The Morning Line: ¡Viva la Revolucion, Mon!
In theory, it should not work. You should not be able to dress up rats and cats and ducks as agents and soldiers and rastafarians and have it, on paper, be this entertaining.
In reality, though, we are digging this week's "Pearls Before Swine" plotline -- and it's not just because Stephan Pastis has drawn some unexpectedly beautiful palm fronds in that last panel. (Or just because "Pearls" and "Hi and Lois" allegedly colluded on Castro jokes this week.)
No, it is because Pastis has seemingly studied the Sacred Book of Funny till he can recite it chapter and verse. He apparently has heard and reinterpreted the oral folklore of Commonly Accepted Stock Hilarity that all good cartoonists must absorb from the culture. These include such ideas as:
1. In the right hands, Rasta can be funny. We don't know who first struck this comedy goldmine -- perhaps the same humorist who realized "Amish" can be hilarious -- but decades of blissed-out, ganja-tokin' Rasta-man caricatures in the movies ("Cool Runnings," anyone?) have only helped the comic cause, mon.
2. Have sunglasses, will laff. If you're going to give a rodent that air of militaristic authority -- or give a Rasta-duck that (pungent) air of Marley-esque mellow -- then stick some shades on your critters for a Touch O' Character.
3. Pain, humiliation and suffering form the trinity of high hilarity. Pig must suffer. Rat must torment. And somewhere, a lion must have his kinghood mocked by zeebas. This is the natural order of cartoon humor. (Cue "Lion King.") It's the circle. The circle of strife.
Whatever Stephan's methods, the comics page is the funnier for it, mon.
| September 11, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories: The Morning Line
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