1. It’s all meta and 4th-wall breaking. He’s complaining that the cartoon you’re currently looking at isn’t funny. The squirrel is saying that it’s his fault.

  2. That’s the obvious reading, Arthur, but since there’s no actual joke here, all I see is Whammond saying “I suck.”

  3. People who work in the Complaints Department are used to customers complaining about anything and everything: “This sweater is ugly.” “This dress isn’t pretty.” “This cartoon isn’t funny.”

    And the squirrel’s comment is the cartoon’s way of complaining about the complainer.

    (I can hear Yakov Smirnoff saying: In Soviet Russia, cartoon complains about YOU!)

  4. Well, you see, the guy in the cartoon is assuming he is in a cartoon. Because he chose to make this assumption, he lives his life as if he were in a cartoon. He assumes that cartoons are supposed to be funny. Because his life fails to make him laugh, he assumes he has been wronged and that there is something wrong. This is the sort of thing that one would normally discuss with a therapist, a trusted friend, a spouse, or a clerical adviser. However, because he assumes he is in a comic, he seeks out a “Complaints” window (or perhaps he built one, because have you ever seen such a thing in real life?) and complains about the state of this life to the “employee” (who may well be a spouse or family member pressed into service at his homemade complaints window).

    This piece is a chilling look at mental illness, illustrating this man’s descent into madness due to his assumption that the world should conform to the assumptions he makes and that there is no objective reality. He believes that one does not like the way the world is, one should just assume it is some other way. He tried it by assuming he was in a cartoon and that it would always be fun. Unfortunately, this is not so. I fear this will not end well for the man, as people who believe that reality is whatever they assume it to be and manipulate it for their own end, have only the career paths of lawyer or politician to pursue. Either way lies madness.

  5. I could complain about the lameness of the comic, but that’s already been done. I could whine about the squirrel, but in this case he’s making a semi-valid point. Instead, I’d like to say that the dialog would have been significantly better if it had not been preceded by that useless “Yeah”.

  6. @J-L – “the Complaints Department are used to customers complaining about anything and everything: “This sweater is ugly.””

    And sometimes the complaints office complains right back. ObMontyPython:

    Michael Palin walks into Eric Idle’s office.

    Palin: I want to complain.
    Idle: You want to complain!? Look at these shoes. I’ve only had them three weeks and the heels are worn right through.
    Pailin: No, I want to complain about –
    Idle: If you complain nothing happens, you might as well not bother.
    Palin: Urrh!
    Idle: My back hurts, it’s not a very fine day and I’m sick and tired of this office.

  7. The squirrel has a serious case of projection going on here.If there were anything to hint at Bill or CIDU, I’d think this was aimed at us. Whamond and his syndicate/the papers that carry him probably get lots of letters complaining about the lack of humor in his strip, so it’s probably generic.

  8. It’s at least a smile, being self-referential. I am a sucker for this type of humor. If you wish to go on a long journey down this path, try Stanislaw Lem’s A Perfect Vacuum. It’s a book of reviews on non-existent books; except it starts with a review of the review book of non-existent books. A wonderful collection, even if sans squirrel.

  9. I think DemetriosX is on the right track here: basically the cartoonist is lashing out at the haters. A kind of veiled “if you don’t like it, why do you read it” kind of rant. Of course, once you start lashing out at your readers, you’re heading down a slippery slope… Kind of a reverse Gandhi: first they laugh at you, then they complain about you, then they ignore you, then you lose.

  10. Is the squirrel implying that the readers who complain about the strips not being funny only make those claims about the ones that hit close to home for them? I’ve heard various comedians, or what have you, say that people love satire except when it pokes fun at their group.

  11. “all I see is Whammond saying ‘I [edit].'”

    What I see is Whammond saying “that pushes back the deadline another 24 hours. Hope I think of something better for tomorrow’s…”

    ” he seeks out a “Complaints” window (or perhaps he built one, because have you ever seen such a thing in real life?)”

    It’s called “customer service” now. What you have to remember is, the verb used when a bull attempts to put a calf into a cow. What you get isn’t bullshit, but it’s almost the closest thing to it…

    “I’ve heard various comedians, or what have you, say that people love satire except when it pokes fun at their group.”

    One need look no further than the Tweeter-in-Chief’s relationship with SNL. When they were making fun of other people, he was happy to be on the show. But now that he’s in a position of power, and they’re making fun of him, it’s the most unfunny show ever…

  12. If this was meant as an attack against people who criticize the strip, we might have to rename “pyrrhic victory.”

  13. My point was that they still exist, as functional items, except that now they’re called “customer service” instead of “complaints”.

  14. Except in comic strips, where they will forever be “complaint booths.”

    Actually, were they ever really called complaint booths outside of comic strips? I can’t say that I every remember seeing something with this name, which would in fact be a silly thing to call someplace where you can also make returns and handle other matters.

  15. Dang, you guys are harsh.

    I figured it was a self-referential joke using a complaint department. Which is pretty funny. It’s in a way even cleverer than the Far Side cartoon of the cartoon repair man.

  16. I have to admit that with woozy on this one. Despite my first (rhetorical) sentence above, I thought that this was a simple “fourth wall” gag, and generally above average for this squirrel-infested feature.

  17. I’m also with woozy and Kilby; I thought it was clever and I quietly chortled. (Admittedly it didn’t rise with me to the level of “loudly chortled,” but that’s much of a complaint.)

  18. Let’s not go nuts. I didn’t think it was *hilarious* but I thought it was straight-forward and clear and in a self-referential way amusing. Certainly not “not funny” or “what’s the joke”.

    The liar’s paradox aspect is a cute twist.

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