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Posted at 7:30 AM ET, 08/17/2009

Driving (Me Crazy) Test: Who's This VIP at the DMV?

By The Reliable Source

The a.m. roundup of today's toons, from the cunning to the punning...

'ZITS' (KFS)Enlarge Image

DRIVEN TO DISTRACTION: The gag is fine and good in today's "Zits," but my apologies: I'm utterly and absolutely distracted by the appearance of the good "Mr. Docter." That's because I'm convinced I know this lanky fella from somewhere in the cartooning industry. Okay, this is driving me nuts. Docter, Docter, give me the news / I've got a bad case of misremembering you...

Ah, at LAST it comes to me. This driving-test proctor looks uncannily like Mr. PETE Docter, the 6-foot-4 Pixar talent who's directed or co-directed such films as "Up" and "Monster Inc." You don't think? Why, judge for yourself HERE.


'BIG NATE' (NEA)Enlarge Image

FECKLESS AND TABBY: "Freckles and Gabby," eh? LIKE it. Why, I've never even seen it and I can guarantee I'd like it more than "Garfield," to say nothing of "Frank & Ernest." And speaking of...


CACHE FOR CLUNKERS: If it takes a big man to admit when he's wrong, then I'm Paul Bunyan on steroids and stilts at the moment. Yes, "Cash for Clunkers" might be a good name for "Frank & Ernest's" freelance-gag payment plan. But today, "F&E" steers away from the more obvious painful puns and gives a good, honest run at a solidly constructed one-liner. Bravo, Frank. And tell Ernest the good word.

'PICKLES' (WPWG)Enlarge Image

REALITY, WHAT A PRECEPT: Here's today's testament in the ever-mounting case that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt: Perhaps no married couple sounds more true, more well-observed spot-ON, than Earl and Opal. I don't know which is more jarring: (a) That I know older couples in the family who are exactly like this; or (b) that someday in the decades ahead, I might just BE this couple. As Pickle varieties go, Brian Crane makes lifelike dialogue his bread-and-butter. (Sorry -- I slipped into "Frank & Ernest" gag-writing mode there for a half-sec...)


AARP SPEED, CAPTAIN: If all "old" pre-existing characters faced termination, O where would our comics page be today? Can we ask that Sluggo step into the bull's-eye and take the slug instead?


YOU CAN CALL ME AL: "Rhymes With Orange" immediately becomes the early leader for the Riffy Award's Pun O' the Week. Provided, of course, Hilary Price doesn't beat a dead "fresco" by following it up with wordplay about "Al Dente" (such a stiff); Al Bacore (fishy character); and Al Gebra (we've gone 'round and 'round, and this guy's story never adds up).

Sheez. Someone please call "Frank and Ernest's" "Cash for Clunkers" hotline. I just can't stop punning at the mouth, and these "pearls" are free to a bad home.

By The Reliable Source  | August 17, 2009; 7:30 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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Next: Should 'Mark Trail' Take a Hike? Time to Defend That 'Toon


"Orange" is pretty good, but let's wait and see what Darb Conley comes up with this week.

Remember: Time flies when you're having pun! :)

Posted by: SportzNut21 | August 17, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to disagree: The "Pickles" strip you cite today isn't bad, but for the most part I find them to be stale, contrived, predictable and usually laugh-less. I cannot see why this strip was chosen over "One Big Happy," which has the same setup and same premise, but which, in my experience, is far more true to life and which does not rely on Old People jokes to get its laughs.

Posted by: drw3 | August 18, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

>> drw3:

Fair enough. One Big Happy is an often wonderful strip; I admire how genuine it typically feels.

My soft spot for Pickles emanates for the fact that it uncannily captures an octogenarian couple in my extended family. Perhaps they themselves are contrived and stale to many; fortunately, in real life, their affectionate barbs are never laugh-less.


Posted by: cavnam | August 18, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

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