How many wars

Peter asks “How many wars? I’m pretty sure it’s none.”

The editors also had an internal debate over whether the hell is really that of “being stuck in one comic strip forever,” or that of “being stuck in one unending present, forever.” We booted the debate over to you.

18 Comments

  1. Beetle never got to go to a bar because his syndicate’s standards of propriety wouldn’t allow it. (Andy Capp’s syndicate was much more lenient in this regard.) However, Beetle’s inability to get a girl had nothing to do with syndicate censorship: what self-respecting woman would want to associate with such a lazy, unqualified lout?
    P.S. Charlie Brown never had any interest in bars, but he did (finally) get his (“little red-haired”) girl (in “The Peanuts Movie”). I assume that Schulz is still spinning in his grave (and/or is green with envy).

  2. Girl, schmerl; bar; schmar; I’d think Charlie Brown’s complaints can get more basic than that: “I can never kick the football that Lucy holds for me” or “I can never keep my kite out of the kite-eating tree.” And don’t even get him started on baseball….

    Of course so far as we’ve been shown Beetle has never fought in *any* wars, unless his usual relationship with Sarge counts as a “war” — and even then he doesn’t “fight,” he just gets beaten up.

    Maybe this would have worked better if Charlie were complaining instead to, say, Dick Tracy or Orphan Annie, who have in fact had a lot of painful and unpleasent and scary things happen to them over the past eighty or so years.

  3. But Beetle hasn’t been stuck in one comic forever — he has made occasional visits to Hi and Lois for years.

  4. All of the above adds up to conclusive evidence of the thoughtful and exhaustive in-depth research that is usually associated with any PCST panel.
    P.S. @ Andréa – Correct, he is her brother.

  5. As far as I know, Beetle and Miss Buxley are still dating each other (though possibly not as often as Miss Buxley would like).

    According to one recent Sunday (or Wednesday?) cartoon, Miss Buxley was listing all of Beetle’s undesirable traits to a fellow female colleague, with the punchline panel revealing that Miss Buxley said that so that she could have Beetle all to herself.

  6. From what I’ve seen, Beetle and Buxley are usually shown on their way to, or from, a date, or sitting around discussing what to do.

  7. Yes, Beetle and “Bux” are still dating. My theory is that she has critically low self-esteem. When the guys like Killer tell her how wonderful she is, she doesn’t believe it. With Beetle, she has found a guy that treats her like she thinks she deserves, with near indifference. SHE has to work for it.

  8. Actually, among parodies in MAD and such, and crossover gigs in DICK TRACY, and other crossovers as special events for one cause or another during the year, scarcely any comic strip characters are “stuck in one comic strip forever.” And if Charlie Brown is appearing in a BEETLE BAILEY strip in this example (though maybe it’s the other way around), he’s not even an example right now of being “stuck” thus.

    Not to mention changes to get out and flex your comicy muscles in TV specials, commericals, toys, games, greeting cards, t-shirts . . . compared to your average successful comic strip character icon, it’s *we readers* who are stuck in a single boring slice of megauniverse reality.

  9. >The editors also had an internal debate over whether the hell is really that of “being stuck in one comic strip forever,” or that of “being stuck in one unending present, forever.” We booted the debate over to you.

    Well, neither actually. But for the sake of making this a *joke* it has to be that stuck in a comic strip.

    Which would annoying but we’d get to get really old and not age so not so bad.

    We had this before where it was pointed out, Beetle being in training never fought in any war. No-one has explicitly spelled it out this time. It seems those referring to it seem to take it as self-evident.

  10. The idea of “stuck in an eternal present” for me connects to “stuck in an inescapable repeating present” idea, most iconically represented by the “Groundhog Day” movie.

    But there have been several substantial new works that also fit that idea, it’s almost like a subgenre! These relate to it in the way that makes fans or reviewers (or creators in publicity interviews) say things like “Yes it definitely has some elements that will make you think of Groundhog Day, but the premise and story are really not the same as before.” Two worthy recent instances:

    The really excellent series “Russian Doll” on Netflix, starring and largely written by Natasha Lyonne. IMDB overview page: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7520794/reference . (Amazon is eagerly trying to tell me “Included with Prime!” so there is that too.). Very appealing small touch: The charming / alarming repeat appearances of Greta Lee with her Happy Birthday greeting!

    And the pretty good feature (or “theatrical” movie, hahaha) , starring Andy Samberg but not in his unbearable over-the-top mode. IMDB summary page: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9484998/reference .

    In both, the real achievement is the human frustrations and reactions, but there is of course a lot of interest in what they do about communicating the nuances of the premise well, and how they plant tricks. Both have some kind of resolution / escape, but imperfect of course. A good, if somewhat gushy and wordy, spoiler-using review and analysis in audio podcast form is at https://slate.com/podcasts/spoiler-specials/2020/07/palm-springs-spoiler-filled-detail

  11. Mark In Boston: “So, 70 years of Basic Training?”

    I don’t think so. As far as I understand it, they are on active duty, albeit non-combat roles.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beetle_Bailey#Overview
    Wiki says:
    The characters never seem to see combat themselves, with the exception of mock battles and combat drills. In fact, they seem to be in their own version of stereotypical comic strip purgatory (initially basic training, they now appear to be stuck in time in a regular infantry division).

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