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Posted at 10:05 AM ET, 07/ 7/2009

From the Good Folks Who Put the 'Meta' in Metamucil

By Michael Cavna

The quickie a.m. roundup of 'toons, from the recycled goods to the adopted Dagwood...

'PICKLES' (WPWG)Enlarge Image

Don't sell Earl and Opal short. Some comics featuring senior citizens dwell on gags about, oh, Metamucil; the "Pickles" pair, on the other hand, like to supplement their diet with some serious "meta." Exhibit A: today's strip.

Casting our gaze to the fourth-panel punch, we see Opal retort: "They said my work isn't original, and my original work isn't good." Sure, the wordplay alone can elicit a titter, but that would miss the entire meta-joke: That this very punchline itself isn't original.

Or, put another way: Not only aren't some of Opal's photos original, but even her quippery here isn't original -- which supports the entire point. Presto! We don't have to take the judges' word for it -- when it comes to Opal's calcified creativity, the proof is in the punchline.

As for who did utter this quip first, well, that's a matter of debate. The line oft attributed to Samuel Johnson is:
"Your manuscript is both good and original. But the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good."

No matter who first penned it, this much is clear: Even when Brian Crane isn't being original, it's because he's being very, very good.

'BEETLE BAILEY' (KFS)Enlarge Image

THE CROSSOVER ZONE: Most 'Riffs readers surely spotted this already, but some devilish cross-pollination is afoot in today's funnies. The obvious example is in "Beetle Bailey," in which Sarge -- though he fears women -- shows uncommon valor when it comes to downing a "double Dagwood." Yet again, this is cross-referencing between two strips that have been handed down to the creators' kin. Yes, folks, it's the mischievous shenanigans of the Legacy Kids!

'GET FUZZY' (UPS)Enlarge Image

The somewhat less obvious example is in today's "Get Fuzzy," in which the phone's screen lights up with the name..."PASTIS." Yep, Darby Conley is including a nod to the "Pearls Before Swine" creator for you eagle eyes at home. (And you could TRY calling the number on the screen, but of course, "555" is Hollywood's old prefix trick applied to faux phone numbers.)


'LIO' (UPS)Enlarge Image

POSTER BOY: Not the first place I expected to see a visual Farrah tribute (I'd have put even money on "Zits,") but somehow, with Pops finding his pubescent poster amid the toys in the attic, this "Lio" acknowledgment just kind of -- well -- "works." Neatly. (And on a day that the media will likely give over to Michael Jackson, it's somewhat fitting to have a few seconds of Farrah. Deja-vu all over again.)


DEJA-VU ALL OVER AGAIN...AGAIN: Remember the other week, when this Riffster wrote that the oft-used/overused "restraining order" was officially one of the Currently Humorous "Gag"-Reflex Terms? Well, turns out "Dennis the Menace" is just a little slower than on the trendy uptake index compared with "Mother Goose" and "Brewster Rockit."

Are their strips today that you love or loathe? You've invited to share them links.

By Michael Cavna  | July 7, 2009; 10:05 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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Next: The Al Franken Clustertoon: Because Doggone It, People Like Them!


I'm trying to make sense of the police officer's expression. Either he's considering the request, or it's a pedosmile. Perhaps both.

Posted by: tidalwv | July 7, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Today's Frazz (online, since it's not in the Post), calls out Pastis as well. It's probably a response to an earlier (June 2) PBS strip that made fun of a bicycling Jeff as self-righteous.

Posted by: dbruggeman | July 11, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

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