In defense of Garfield
OK, let’s start at the top: Garfield isn’t funny. Garfield makes Hee-Haw reruns look like Arrested Development.
So that’s out of the way. Here’s the thing: Garfield isn’t for me. It isn’t for you. I know that it isn’t for you because you’re not a 10-year-old boy (10-year-old boys don’t subscribe to the RSS feeds of 5-day-old blogs by dudes who drive Subarus).
When I was 10, I LOVED Garfield. When a school book order came, I checked to see if there was a new Garfield book. Sure, today, I wish I could say that in 1988 I was eagerly awaiting Foucault’s Pendulum or The Satanic Verses, but I was probably waiting for Garfield Chews the Fat. I can’t understand it now, but it was sincere: that stuff seemed genius. I think I turned out OK.
A few years ago, my nephew was into The Wiggles. I was only exposed for a few hours, and I wanted to take a power drill to my temple. I don’t know how my brother and sister-in-law survived. And you know what? He’s turning into a pretty cool kid. He’s smart. He’s funny. Like, actually funny. When he’s in his 30s, I won’t hold his Wiggles phase against him.
You can make an argument that Jim Davis is a talentless, unfunny hack, and I’d probably buy it. But if there are 10-year-olds today waiting on books orders for Garfield Gets Type II Diabetes, well, that’s cool. They’re only a few years away from reading their first Vonnegut book. It’ll be OK.