Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Week of May 17-22, 1954: Dirges and Disappointments

May 17:

Snoopy used to do more dog-like things, like howl at the moon. Most dogs don't bother pro-rating the volume of their howling according to the amount of moon visible, though, because they don't comprehend fractions.

May 18:

The story of this strip seems at first, pretty much, to be "character does something foolish, which is rapidly undone due to its foolishness, so there."

Here's a thought experiment. If this strip involved Lucy stacking a vertical column of blocks, which eventually went too high and toppled over, causing her to say "Rats!", would it be a strip-worthy scene? What if it involved another character, like leaving out a bag of candy which Charlie Brown or Snoopy then came along and ate?

For some reason I'm very interested in this idea, to an extent that surprises me. It is my view that this strip works more for the "Rats!" at the end than the situation itself; it's about Lucy's learning that the world doesn't work the way she expects, and the disappointment she feels. This is a frequent theme of Peanuts.

May 19:

The universe never supplies just the right amount of water, Snoopy.

May 20:

This joke is deceptively complex. Lucy confuses the mood of a piece of music as being a value judgement on its quality.

You know you can tell where a dirge is on a vinyl record by looking closely at the grooves with a magnifying glass? The plastic is grayer at that point.

May 21:

Didn't we see this one before, or something like it? I can't find it in the archives though, despite my at-times-obsessive tagging.

May 22:

What kind of gas is in that balloon to be able to hold up that thick rope? What kind of strength must Lucy have to be able to hold it so casually?


  1. Those last two are worthy of Ernie Bushmiller. I can totally see Nancy and Sluggo in the last strip with no changes at all.

  2. I think, in this case, the joke is that Lucy thinks a "dirge" is a synonym for a "ding" or a "scratch".

    Peanuts is still in that "little kids don't know big words" phase, and wasn't Lucy's malapropism an ongoing theme well into the late years of the strip?

  3. Snoopy sitting in the pouring rain is heart-breaking...