dreadedcandiru2 (dreadedcandiru2) wrote,

Farewell to King Features, Part One: Curtis

As those of you who follow the Comics Casserole blog have learned, King Features Syndicate has taken the step of making the URLs of its strips next to impossible to predict in order to somehow save its bottom line from hemorrhaging because no one in a position of power is smart enough to figure out how to make money on the Internet without forcing people to deal with a pay wall. This couldn't have come at a better time because I'm getting heartily sick of the KFS strips I used to cover. If you'll indulge me, I'll explain why I no longer miss them.

I'll start by saying that I will not miss the strip Curtis by Ray Billingsley in the least. The creator touts his celebration of self-defeating behaviour as being the Thinking Man's comic strip; he is sort of right to do so but he makes me think things that he'd probably rather I didn't. The thing he makes me think that he'd rather I didn't is that Gunther the barber is the only character I'm going to miss. Sure, the guy never gets Curtis's name right and tells obvious lies about his celebrity connections but his funny signs are the only light in a world of darkness and stupidity.

I won't, on the other hand, much miss the principal character and his self-defeating need to not follow the rules because he thinks that being pointlessly, self-destructively rebellious makes him an individual. Sure, he's a product of his environment but it's hard to sympathize with someone who hasn't figured out that since he lives in a town filled with irrationally thin-skinned people who take offense at the least thing, it makes sense to tread lightly.

I also won't miss Gunk, his insane stories of his bizarre homeland and the amazingly dangerous plants and animals poor, dim Curtis thinks he can exploit for profit. I also won't miss the "Take Fredo Out To The Boathouse" vibe he gives off. Billingsley would rather I not think that Gunk is trying to kill Curtis for kicks but, well, that's what I see happening.

I'm not at all going to miss Mrs Nelson, her non-stop lectures about how Curtis has untapped potential and especially not the realization that she doesn't live in the same world he does. It seems to me that most of why Curtis was beset by hooligans was that they flattered the doughy old bat and since she shares the same mental failing as Diane, she thought they were good and Curtis bad because he stupidly told the truth.

Speaking of Derrick and Onion, I'll be in a position to not miss them post haste because I know that a rock-stupid woman I know of (hint: she always believes that Curtis is trying to hit Barry for no reason) will call for their reinstatement because of a lying promise of reform.

I won't miss Scary-Ass Stalker With A Crush Chutney or Mean Girl Michelle nor will I miss championing the former rather than the latter because the failures Curtis calls parents hate successful people.

I won't miss Greg, his crappy attitude, his stinginess, his ridiculous belief that cracking open his wallet will destroy Curtis's work ethic, his sullen hatred of the fact that he isn't allowed final say on whether things will change and especially his refusal to admit that his grousing about having to work for a living is what HAS destroyed Curtis's work ethic. One Elly Patterson is quite enough, thanks loads.

I won't miss that treacherous, malicious, gutless and annoying pain Barry, his non-stop insults, his habit of pushing buttons and his running to mother. What we see is what Red Green calls a fist-magnet; what the stupid women in this strip see is a victim of a bully that wants to pummel him for no reason because he says so.

That leads directly to a discussion of who I'll miss the least: the rock-stupid matriarch Diane. Most of what's wrong with Curtis is her angry refusal to admit that nice, sweet little Barry could be playing her like a damned Atari. In the veeeeeeeeeeeeery unlikely event that Barry boasts about fooling her where she can hear it, it'll be on Curtis because he isn't a lying piece of shit like Barry is. It's like she's a horrifying genetic experiment wherein some maniac combined that anger-prone, clueless oaf John Patterson with the mother from "Everybody Hates Chris" and her tendency to over-react to piddly crap because she's afraid of what the neighbors will say.
Tags: goodbye kfs, surgically attached hat

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