Few things pain me more than having to spell out the obvious: Get Fuzzy, one of the funniest, most original and well-drawn comic strips to comic along in the post-Watterson era (circa 1999) is fast circling the drainage hole of its lifespan. Times are tough, and few have weathered the storm as badly as Get Fuzzy, with recycled strips and reruns causing fans and supporters to wonder if the once mighty funny was even still in production. To be honest, I’m a little surprised that Andrews McMeel is still able to pump out their rectangular collections with some regularity.
But take solace, Fuzzy Fans, as You Cant Fight Crazy, the 15th Get Fuzzy collection, exists and most certainly won’t be the last, collecting daily and Sunday strips that originally ran between April 2011 through July 2012. One thing fans should keep in mind that, for several years now, Darby Conley has been fond of using reruns to supplement newer strips, padding out what might have been empty spots for the comic’s syndicated run. Again, recycled strips in what must be one of the most exhausting of all creative industries isn’t new or shocking. But the practice with this strip has become so severe that several newspapers have dropped it entirely, replacing it with newer and more consistently updated options.
Unfortunately, this latest collection keeps the lackluster pace all recent collections have, serving as yet another reminder of that this once-great comic strip may be ready for retirement.
The original formula, psycho cat, dim-witted dog, and dweeby human, remains intact, but the execution is lacking. Bucky Katt, clearly the star, continues to be strip’s sole saving grace as he plunders both patience and goodwill from his roomies. Poor Satchel Pooch, once the lovable antithesis to Bucky’s craziness, continues to suffer from his cartoon personality disorder, alternating between sweet and sour, dumb and disturbed, all while speaking in a wildly inconsistent voice that betrays the character’s inner sweetness. Rob, their hapless owner, hasn’t changed much over the years, continuing to be the human mannequin who must own the world’s largest of obscure labels.
But what happens when a funny stops being…funny? Jokes and gags just don’t fall flat – they fall REALLY flat – to the point you’ll wonder if Conley is even aware of just how bad the dialogue and comedic flow is. Puns seldom work, and the strip’s penchant for obscure references (think Rugby and unconventional pop-culture) need so much exposition they violate E.B. White’s sage advice about explaining jokes and frogs (go look it up).
There’s precisely one new character here, like Astral Bob, the horoscope reading cat, though a week’s worth of “reader poll” votes featuring potential new characters was good for a chuckle. I shouldn’t bring up the fact that we’re looking at ‘results’ from a fictitious 2011 reader poll within a book published in 2014, but still…At least there’s no Mac Manc McManx, thank goodness.
OK, there’s a few gems here with some of the longer series, which Get Fuzzy has always done well, like Bucky’s quest to invent fish soda flavors (rice crappies made me giggle, likewise with beluga nut crunch). And there’s definitely some of that old spark with – again – Bucky’s gross journey to become Batcat, complete with dead bat wings. That’s pretty funny.
But a handful of genuinely funny funnies aren’t enough to make You Cant Fight Crazy any better than recent Get Fuzzy collections, and that’s a tragedy. There isn’t much here to recommend to anyone who isn’t just wanting to keep their collections current, and who knows how much longer that will last. Even hardcore Fuzzy Fans – they do exist – will have to admit it’s getting a bit harder to justify keeping faithful, and it may be time to find another comic to rally behind. How sad.