If you like these cartoons, then if you support them you’ll get a warm glow of well-being, fizzling outward from your brain until you can feel it tingling in your toes, and then you’ll feel really confident and cheerful about talking to strangers and then you’ll decide to go out dancing and wait no that’s not supporting my cartoons that’s just being on drugs never mind.
I went back and forth on if the actor in this strip should be female or male. Either way seemed to be too specific. Then I remembered that in Doonesbury – especially in older strips – Garry Trudeau would sometimes draw strips that were four panels of nothing but Mike Doonesbury in an armchair and watching a TV. Because readers saw the TV from the side, we didn’t actually see what was on the TV screen – which somehow made it funnier,
Never let it be said that I hesitate to swipe from my betters.
(I always find it disturbing how close Mike sits to the TV in those old strips. You’re gonna destroy your eyes, Mike!)
(Of course, nowadays we all sit that closer or closer to our computer and tablet screens.)
I also decided to swipe Trudeau’s signature small smile appearing on the character’s face in the fourth panel. Having the character only react in the final panel encourages readers to see the character as a stand-in for themselves, sharing their amusement – or at least, that’s how I interpret it.
And what the heck, I stuck a framed picture of Zonker Harris, one of the Doonesbury characters, on the wall.
(I love Doonesbury, by the way. Very few cartoonists match Garry Trudeau’s record of being consistently funny and good for fifty years. Half of everything I knew about politics in the 70s and 80s, I learned from reading Doonesbury.)
TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
This cartoon has four panels. Each panel shows a woman at her kitchen sink. Although each panel shows the same scene, each panel is shown from a slightly different angle, which would have required redrawing the perspective every panel. Gosh, that probably was a whole bunch of work by the cartoonist. I’m just saying that as a neutral observation from an objective observer, it’s not like these transcripts are written by the cartoonist himself. Cough. Cough.
The woman is fat, and is wearing blue jeans and a pink tee shirt that shows a planet sticking its tongue out on the back, and has the words “don’t panic” written in large friendly letters on the front. Her orange hair is in a messy bun.
On the countertop next to her is an open laptop, and throughout the cartoon the voices we hear are coming from the laptop. The laptop is positioned with the screen facing away from the “camera,” so we can’t see what’s on the screen.
The woman is washing a dish over the kitchen sink. Voices are coming from her laptop, but she doesn’t appear to be paying attention.
VOICE 1 – TV HOST: You’ve been on People’s “hottest celebs” list six times… but in your new movie, you wear a fat suit! It’s a ”huge” transformation!
VOICE 2 – CELEB: Ha ha! It was quite a learning experience.
The woman continues to wash dishes, but glances at the laptop screen.
TV HOST: Interesting! Can you tell us some things you learned?
CELEB: First, it’s disturbing to play a part designed to let audiences enjoy being grossed out by “my” body.
A close up of the laptop on the counter.
CELEB: Second, I learned it’s exploitative to wear a marginalized person’s body as a costume. And I learned there are plenty of fat actors who’d love this opportunity but weren’t given a shot.
The woman has stopped washing dishes and is leaning against the counter and watching the laptop screen. She looks amused.
CELEB: Finally, I learned that no one should see this stupid movie. Excuse me, my manager appears to be having a coronary.