Get Fuzzy

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Get Fuzzy
Get Fuzzy Logo.png
Logo for Get Fuzzy comic strip.
Author(s) Darby Conley
Website Get Fuzzy Website
Current status / schedule Running
Launch date September 6, 1999
Syndicate(s) United Feature Syndicate
Publisher(s) Andrews McMeel Publishing
Genre(s) Humor, Pets, Family

Get Fuzzy is an American daily comic strip written and drawn by Darby Conley. The strip features the adventures of Boston advertising executive Rob Wilco and his two anthropomorphic pets: dog Satchel Pooch and cat Bucky Katt. Get Fuzzy has been published by United Feature Syndicate since September 6, 1999. It appears in over 700 newspapers worldwide.

The strip's humor comes from the conflict between Bucky's and Satchel's personalities, which are extreme stereotypes of cats and dogs. Sweet, trusting, naïve Satchel is routinely subjected to the exploitation of cruel, self-centered Bucky, who is always torturing the poor canine. Rob, the middleman, is often frazzled from dealing with them, or more specifically, from dealing with Bucky's destructive nature and overall nastiness. The three characters live in an apartment on Boston's Longwood Avenue. Get Fuzzy often eschews the traditional "setup-punchline" format of most funnies, instead building on absurd dialog between characters.[1][2][3][4]

The unusual title of the strip comes from a concert poster that Darby Conley once created for his brother's band, the Fuzzy Sprouts. "Life's too short to be cool," the poster read, "Get Fuzzy."[5]

Characters[edit]

Main characters[edit]

Rob Wilco[edit]

Rob Wilco is the "owner" of Satchel and Bucky and serves as the straight man between Satchel's goofy naïveté and Bucky's cynical hostility. In the Get Fuzzy universe, virtually all animals talk, a situation that no one seems to find odd. Rob is portrayed as a bit of an everyman: a mediocre performer in a job he dislikes, not successful romantically, and an all-around relatively quiet guy with a poor haircut and chronic lower back pain. His passions, which often border on obsessions, include sports (particularly the Boston Red Sox and the New Zealand All Blacks), video games, and books. He is also a strict vegetarian due to what he feels are too cruel methods of killing the animals and either politically liberal or at least a Third Party member.

Bucky B. Katt[edit]

Bucky Katt, is Rob's selfish and cynical Siamese Cat. His ears are nearly always drawn laid back flat on his head, a feline sign of defiance, aggressiveness. The Humane Society found Bucky huddled on a trash can, while the cat was only a few weeks old, in Hackensack, New Jersey, later to be adopted by Rob. While Bucky's father has never been mentioned, Bucky gave his mother's maiden name on a credit card application as "Tricky Woo," a reference to the ludicrously pampered (but in fact good-natured) pet dog of that name in James Herriot's stories of his experiences as a vet. Bucky has been said to be named for Negro League baseball player Buck O'Neil. Bucky lives in a dresser located in the hall closet of Rob's apartment because he refuses to share a room with Satchel. On most outdoor excursions, when Rob is present, Bucky is carried in a strap-on "Bundle-O-Joy" baby carrier, referenced as a way of keeping the cat out of trouble. Most of Bucky's aggression is directed at Satchel, although most of his attempts usually fail as Satchel does not have enough intelligence for Bucky's rude sarcasm and is often unaware that he is even being insulted. Three obsessions dominate Bucky's life: Fungo Squiggly; his desire to eat a monkey; and wanting to film a movie about him.

Bucky owns a miniature teddy bear named "Smacky," obtained by his refusing to exchange toys with Satchel at a "McDoodles" restaurant even though each had the toy the other wanted. It is one of the few objects he shows affection. As Christmas gifts, Bucky received two other bears which he named "Cracker" and "Punk," but they do not appear as often as Smacky. Bucky also owns a rag doll named "Ms. Pretty," similar to Barbie. Bucky claims to be a fan of the "Yankers," even wearing a Yankees cap throughout the series, although is appears more to be an opportunity to annoy Rob because he wouldn't let him wear his Boston Red Sox baseball cap (he calls it the "'B' is for 'Bucky' hat") than anything else. Bucky has been shown to hold extremely conservative political viewpoints throughout the strip, but these may not stem from actual convictions as much as a desire to antagonize Rob and Satchel, both apparent liberals. Bucky is also frequently shown to have francophobic and anti-Quebec sentiments (he regularly says words like frog and canuck, although these, like his politics and support of the Yankees, appear not to stem from racism or nativism but from the desire to antagonize Satchel for his background).

Satchel Pooch[edit]

Satchel Pooch is Rob's overweight, naïve, and easily amused dog. His father, named Copernicus, a Labrador Retriever and retired guide dog, and his mother, a Shar Pei, live in Cheticamp, Nova Scotia. It is suggested by Rob's friend Joe Doman, that he is named after the Baseball Hall of Fame player Satchel Paige. Satchel is kind, gentle, and sympathetic. These traits, coupled with his naïvete and gullibility, make him a natural target for the scheming Bucky. Satchel's personality serves as foil to that of Bucky's: easy to please, optimistic to the extreme, having (barely) less common sense than Bucky, and perfectly content to peacefully coexist with everyone. He is good friends with Bucky's nemesis, Fungo Squiggly, much to Bucky's dismay.

True to his character, Satchel takes a neutral position in the ongoing Major League Baseball feud between professed New York Yankees fan Bucky and rabid Boston Red Sox fan Rob. Satchel occasionally expresses support for the Chicago Cubs-although he once was punished by being forced to wear a Cubs hat, dubbed the "hat of shame" in reference to the team's long record of futility. Satchel is also very proud of his Canadian and European heritage, taking the time to watch Queen Elizabeth II whenever the royal figure is on television. Satchel holds to a very liberal political viewpoint and is an animal rights supporter; occasionally asking Rob for money to donate to PETA or Greenpeace. Although Satchel cannot tell time, he wears a watch he calls "Handy".

Secondary characters[edit]

Joe Doman[edit]

Rob's friend and co-worker, Joe Doman is one of the few people who gets along reasonably well with Bucky and has pet-sat Bucky and Satchel a few times. Although Joe was frequently seen in the strips early years, this has decreased since taking a job in France. Joe is also a fan of rugby, having worn a jersey of the Scottish national team on a golf outing.

Francis Wilco[edit]

Rob's father, Francis Wilco is a retired firefighter and former member of the United States Marine Corps (1969–1974) who presumably saw time in Vietnam. He reluctantly pet-sits Bucky and Satchel from time to time, has thinning hair, and is usually pictured with a cigarette dangling from his mouth.

Mrs. Wilco[edit]

Rob's mother, who has not yet been given a name. She lives in an indeterminate place with her cat, Buttercup, and dog, Chewie.

Roger Wilco[edit]

Roger Wilco is Rob's brother, who is seen occasionally in small and/or silent parts. His name is an obvious homage to "roger" and "wilco", two radio procedure words which mean "message received, will comply".

Rob's Boss[edit]

Rob's boss made appearances early in the strip. He made a brief appearance in a strip after Rob lost his hair. He also appeared in a brief story arc where he selects Bucky to be a mascot for a power tool company.

Secondary animals[edit]

Fungo Squiggly[edit]

Fungo Squiggly is the pet ferret of the neighboring Garcia family, who is Satchel's friend and Bucky's rival. Fungo does not have any audible speaking lines throughout the entire strip, but sometimes whispers into Satchel's ear or holds up signs. Fungo and Bucky take the impetus given by their rivalry as a chance to keep their hatred for each other going strong by setting traps for each other or playing tricks. The exact motive for Bucky's hatred of Fungo is unexplained, although it possible that Bucky may mistake Fungo for some sort of rodent as Bucky has referred to him as a "rat" or "rodent" at various times.

Chubby Huggs[edit]

A portly, interminably cheerful cat who believes positive reinforcement (mostly through hugging) solves all problems, Chubby Huggs is referred to by Rob as the Dalai Lama of cats because of his peacemaking abilities. Once Chubby is locked in his hug position, he is unable to move for 10 minutes-a fact Rob used against him by tricking Chubby into hugging a teddy bear tightly so Satchel could carry him home. He once had a "little mouse friend" named Fowly Mouse who hated him and was vicious towards him even though Chubby would take the threats as words of kindness, à la Ignatz Mouse and Krazy Kat.

Mac Manc McManx[edit]

Mac Manc McManx is Bucky's cousin from Manchester, England. Mac speaks largely in cockney slang and is an ardent supporter of Manchester City Football Club. Mac's father arrived in England during the First Gulf War from a place Mac only remembers being called "Otis", so Rob tells Bucky that his family is from Massachusetts, to which Bucky replies, "Blast! I'm a filthy communist!!!". Mac's mother is from Hartlepool.[6] Mac spent three and a half years at Rob's apartment and has come back and forth since that time. It is implied that Rob originally let Mac stay at the apartment since he and Satchel never came up with an effective way of getting Mac to leave.[7]

Foodar[edit]

Foodar is a cat who has a bizarre radar-like-seventh sense (according to Bucky all cats have 6, the sixth being knowing which humans are afraid of them or dislike them so they can sit on their laps) that allows him to detect food. His name is a portmanteau of 'food' and 'radar'.

Oreo[edit]

Oreo is a friend and love interest of Satchel's. She has the fur patterns of a Border Collie.

Ira Chihuahua[edit]

Ira Chihuahua is a generally irritable Chihuahua who first appeared in Satchel's dog conference. Ira prefers to go by his initial, I (as a play on the term "ai chihuahua"). In his second appearance, he is seen telling Satchel at the playgroup that he had worms in his stomach.

Motor[edit]

Motor is a friend of Satchel. He is 3/4th Belgian Tervuren and is offended when someone calls him a German Shepherd, though he looks like one.

Smoky[edit]

Smoky is a friend of Satchel's who has a smoked pattern to his fur.

Chaser[edit]

Chaser is a bomb dog who is in Satchel's play group.

Shakespug[edit]

Shakespug is a small pug who wears a yellow dishwashing glove, and usually applies Shakesperian quotes to his speech. Shakespug also seems to understand Mac Manc McManx the best through his "Brit-speak".

Negative reactions[edit]

Pittsburgh[edit]

Many residents of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania reacted angrily to an October 30, 2003 strip. When Bucky, observing that a large number of tourist packages were based on landmarks or other features, asks a travel agent for suggested destinations "based primarily on smell", the agent promptly produces a brochure from the Pittsburgh Board of Tourism. This was originally intended as an "in-joke" jab at a friend who lives in the Pittsburgh area. Conley later confessed shock over the large volume of hate mail and even death threats he received in response,[8] and Pittsburgh city officials publicly denounced the strip. This controversy occurred despite Get Fuzzy not appearing in any Pittsburgh newspaper.

An apology promised by Conley took an unexpected form. The November 17, 2003, strip questions why the Pittsburgh joke caused such an uproar and notes that several protesters stated New Jersey smelled worse than Pittsburgh. Satchel closes the strip by explaining that the original strip "should have made it more clear that it was [nearby borough] Sewickley Heights that smells", coupled with a post-it note advertising an apology to Sewickly Heights.[9] This failed to appease many who complained.

Conley's next three strips began with a survey in which voters ranked the five smelliest places in the United States (and a few in Canada). In order, they were ranked Cleveland, Ohio ("Remember: Get Fuzzy didn't say this one!"), New Jersey ("Not technically a city, but, hey"), Philadelphia ("Or, as 'Burghers call it, 'Filthydelphia'"), Darby Conley's "@##" ("Again, not technically a city, per se"), and New Orleans ("Worse than Lubbock, but better than Darby Conley's @##!").

The second showed apparent greeting signs/tourism slogans for people that come into Pittsburgh. Featured were "Pittsburgh: Turn Left at Erie", "Pittsburgh: If You Smell Anything, It's Coming from Ohio", and "Pittsburgh: Gateway to Cleveland!"

The third and final one showed Satchel and Bucky as trading cards, with Satchel being "Mario Lepooch" (a parody of Pittsburgh Penguins owner and star Mario Lemieux) and Bucky being "Buck Tekulve" (after former Pirates reliever Kent Tekulve). The last panel showed Satchel wearing a Cleveland Browns hat and Bucky in a LeBron James Cavaliers jersey in a final insult to Pittsburghers.

Shortly after the controversy, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review both began running Get Fuzzy in their comics sections.[citation needed]

Bob Lobel[edit]

A strip published on May 13, 2005 resulted in legal action. In the original strip, Rob, Bucky and Satchel are watching television. Satchel asks "Is this sportscaster... drunk?" Rob replies "Lobel? Who knows. He's like some TV outreach program or something." Lobel has been reported as having appeared on air in an intoxicated state which Lobel denies.[10][11]

Less than a week later, Boston sportscaster Bob Lobel filed a libel lawsuit against Conley, United Features Syndicate, and the New Bedford Standard-Times newspaper. The New Bedford paper was named specifically because it did not censor the strip as several other Boston-area papers did, including The Boston Globe; most either refused to run the strip or substituted "Him?" in place of Lobel's name. The lawsuit claimed that the strip was both personally and professionally damaging, especially given that his contract was under negotiation for renewal at the time.[10][11]

On November 16, 2005, a brief article in the Boston Herald reported that Lobel and Conley had settled the suit out of court.[12] Conley made a public apology to Lobel, saying the strip was not intended to imply that he had been drunk on the air. Further details of the settlement were confidential.

The strip was left out of the Get Fuzzy collection Take Our Cat, Please and the treasury The Potpourrific Great Big Grab Bag of Get Fuzzy.

The Tennessean[edit]

The June 19, 2011 strip was censored by The Tennessean and a rerun substituted.[13] This was due to Bucky's mail order purchase (on Rob's credit card) of a disguise with which to infiltrate the lair of his enemies, the ferrets. The disguise turns out to be a poor-quality, damaged raccoon suit, which disgusts Bucky but is then donned by Satchel, who then begins to speak in a manner suggestive of African American Vernacular English, which could conceivably be deemed offensive since the term "coon" has frequently been used as a racial epithet against blacks.[citation needed]

Reruns[edit]

Since 2011, Get Fuzzy readers have been seeing more and more reruns for reasons that have never been made clear by either Universal Uclick or Darby Conley. Originally, the strip would alternate between a week of new strips and a week of old strips. This eventually grew into longer and longer periods between new strips and old strips. For most of this period, Conley has produced new Sunday strips.

The lack of new content has caused a significant decline in the popularity of Get Fuzzy, and in some cases reader feedback polls have been conducted as to whether or not to keep the strip. One of these was conducted by the Washington Post in October 2013; the paper cited the reruns as the reason for the strip's lack of support and announced that they would be dropping it from the paper.[14] The Seattle Times, which stopped carrying Get Fuzzy on March 3, 2014, said their reasoning was "because the creator is no longer producing new installments."[15]

Collections[edit]

Title Publication Date ISBN Strips Collected
The Dog Is Not a Toy (House Rule #4) April 15, 2001 ISBN 0-7407-1392-2 1999-09-06 – 2000-06-17
Fuzzy Logic April 1, 2002 ISBN 0-7407-2198-4 2000-06-18 – 2001-03-25
The Get Fuzzy Experience: Are You Bucksperienced April 2, 2003 ISBN 0-7407-3300-1 2001-03-26 – 2002-01-12
Blueprint for Disaster October 1, 2003 ISBN 0-7407-3808-9 2002-01-13 – 2002-11-09
Say Cheesy May 28, 2005 ISBN 0-7407-4663-4 2002-11-10 – 2003-08-31
Scrum Bums September 1, 2006 ISBN 0-7407-5001-1 2003-09-01 – 2004-06-13
I'm Ready for My Movie Contract September 1, 2007 ISBN 978-0-7407-6922-1 2004-06-14 – 2005-03-26
Take Our Cat, Please! May 1, 2008 ISBN 978-0-7407-7095-1 2005-03-27 – 2006-01-29
Ignorance, Thy Name Is Bucky April 21, 2009 ISBN 978-0-7407-8098-1 2006-01-30 – 2006-12-09
Dumbheart October 20, 2009 ISBN 978-0-7407-9189-5 2006-12-10 – 2007-10-07
Masters of the Nonsenseverse December 13, 2011 ISBN 978-1-4494-2020-8 2007-10-08 – 2008-08-09
Survival of the Filthiest May 29, 2012 ISBN 978-1-4494-2190-8 2008-08-10 – 2009-07-05
The Birth of Canis May 28, 2013 ISBN 978-1-4494-2776-4 2009-07-06 – 2010-05-23
The Fuzzy Bunch October 22, 2013 ISBN 978-1-4494-2939-3 2010-05-24 – 2011-04-23
You Can't Fight Crazy November 4, 2014 ISBN 978-1-4494-5994-9 2011-04-24 – 2012-??-??

Treasuries[edit]

Treasuries contain two collections in one binding with some color strips.

Title Date ISBN Notes
Groovitude September 2, 2002 ISBN 0-7407-2894-6 Contains The Dog Is Not a Toy and Fuzzy Logic
Bucky Katt's Big Book of Fun April 2004 ISBN 0-7407-4136-5 Contains The Get Fuzzy Experience and Blueprint for Disaster
Loserpalooza May 7, 2007 ISBN 978-0-7407-5709-9 Contains Say Cheesy and Scrum Bums
The Potpourrific Great Big Grab Bag of Get Fuzzy September 1, 2008 ISBN 978-0-7407-7367-9 Contains I'm Ready for My Movie Contract and Take Our Cat, Please
Treasury of the Lost Litter Box May 4, 2010 ISBN 978-0-7407-9335-6 Contains Ignorance, Thy Name Is Bucky and Dumbheart
The Stinking November 20, 2012 ISBN 978-1-4494-2798-6 Contains Masters of the Nonsenseverse and Survival of the Filthiest
Jerktastic Park May 6, 2014 ISBN 978-1-4494-4658-1 Contains The Birth of Canis and The Fuzzy Bunch

Reception and awards[edit]

Initially appearing in 75 newspapers nationally, the strip grew in popularity very quickly.

Conley received the National Cartoonist Society Newspaper Comic Strip Award in 2002 for his work on Get Fuzzy.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://joshreads.com/?p=573
  2. ^ http://goingwashingtonpostal.blogspot.com/2007/12/comics-of-day-saturday.html
  3. ^ http://goingwashingtonpostal.blogspot.com/2007/12/comics-of-day-friday.html
  4. ^ "Deliciously Good Dialogue? Sure, We'll Eat It Up". The Washington Post. 
  5. ^ http://www.nya-nya.us/getfuzzy/conley.html
  6. ^ Conley, Darby. "Dumb Heart: A Get Fuzzy Collection", pg. 52
  7. ^ http://comics.com/get_fuzzy/2010-12-28/
  8. ^ POSTED: 11:01 a.m. EST November 5, 2003 (2003-11-05). "Pittsburgh Not Laughing At Smelly Joke – Travel News Story – KCRA Sacramento". Thekcrachannel.com. Retrieved 2010-05-13. 
  9. ^ Fitzpatrick, Dan (2003-11-18). "Comic strip apology to really isn't". Post-gazette.com. Retrieved 2010-05-13. 
  10. ^ a b "Head Games". Boston Magazine. Retrieved 2010-05-13. 
  11. ^ a b WGBH: Greater Boston
  12. ^ Lobel lawsuit vs. cartoonist draws to a close GAYLE FEE AND LAURA RAPOSA WITH ERIN HAYES, Boston Herald pg16 (Nov 16, 2005)<--!online version by subscription only-->
  13. ^ The Tennessean, June 19, 2011, p. 2A
  14. ^ Cavna, Michael (2013-10-31). "POST DROPS ‘GET FUZZY': O, how high the tolerance for comic-strip reruns?". The Washington Post. 
  15. ^ Seattle Times, March 3, 2014, Page B1

External links[edit]