Comic Strip: U.S. Acres
U.S. Acres was a short-lived comic strip created by Jim Davis, far better known for his role as the creator of Garfield, and assisted by Brett Koth. The strip focused on a cast of talking animals who lived together on an unnamed farm:
- Orson, a pig with an overactive imagination and fondness for books
- Roy, a prankster rooster
- Booker, a yellow chick
- Sheldon, a partially-hatched chick
- Wade, a paranoid duck who is afraid of everything
- Lanolin, a really mean sheep
- Bo, her really kind (but not too smart) brother
- Cody and Blue, a cat and dog, respectively
Tropes present in the strip:
- 555: This strip contains one.
- Accordion Man: This worm's never been so humiliated.
- ACME Products: The worm family owns products by ACME.
- Adults Are Useless: ...and so are all other humans. The only humans who appear in the strip are a farmer and his daughter, who picks up a young Orson. They are only seen from the waist down, and never appear again afterward.
- All Part of the Show: A worm named Marty invited friends named Waler and Orville to watch a shadow show. when Booker started stomping on Marty, his guests thought it was part of the show.
- And Ninety Nine Cents: Roy tricked some of his friends into falling into a waller. When the mud dried rendering them immobile, he tried to sell them as "lawn ornaments" and charged $4.99 for each.
- Anti-Sneeze Finger: In this comic, Roy does this to Orson, resulting in himself finishing the sneeze Orson started.
- Art Evolution: The art goes from round and cutesy to very loose and frenetic, a radical departure from Garfield either way.
- Ascended Extra: Jim Davis's assistant Brett Koth gained a co-writer's credit in the strip's last couple years, even though he did no more work on the strip than he had as assistant on Garfield at that point.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Roy wanted his eyes to be bigger. Too bad for him it was Lanolin who granted that wish.
- Brand X: Orson is driven off in a "Furd" truck.
- Box-and-Stick Trap: One arc includes Booker's several attempts to catch worms with that kind of trap. One of the strips features a worm using Booker's trap as a bait to capture Booker and Sheldon with a bigger version of the trap.
- Camera Obscurer: Wade forgot the lens cover on when he tried to take a picture of the Through Ness Monster.
- Catch-22 Dilemma: This strip shows why Wade will always have claustrophobia.
- Catching Some Z's: Yes, they look like they do in Garfield, and yes, they also play with them sometimes.
- Comically Missing the Point: Orson told Booker and Shendon the story of the boy who cried wolf and Booker learned the boy... needed a big club to hit the wolf with.
- Also, A worm trying to sell gloves to another worm. When his potential customer got inside home without even speaking to him, he thought she went inside to pick up her handbag.
- Orson believes goalies must be ready to spring at any moment to avoid being hit with the ball.
- Debut Queue: The entire cast was introduced one at a time, starting with Orson, followed by Roy, then Booker and Sheldon, then Wade, then Bo and Lanolin, and finally Cody and Blue.
- Delayed Reaction: Sheldon asked for a lick of Booker's ice cream. It took a few seconds for Booker to realize Sheldon couldn't lick through his shell.
- Also, when a worm impersonated a chopstick to trick Booker, the worm talked to Booker, who called him "Mr. Chopstick" and only later realized how odd it was for a chopstick to talk.
- Down on the Farm: Played straight. Jim Davis is from just outside of Muncie, Indiana.
- Duck!: Occurs in this strip.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Bo and Lanolin appear to offer a one-liner in a Sunday comic long before their "official" introduction.
- They, along with Cody and Blue, also appear on the back of the first book's cover, even though their debut strips aren't until the second book.
- Eek, a Mouse!!: A worm had this reaction after entering a mouse hole to hide from Booker.
- Evil Roy
- Exact Words: Booker dared a worm to show his face. The worm then showed a portrait.
- During the ugly face contest arc, Roy told Lanolin she couldn't "make a reeeally ugly face". He forgot to specify whose face was supposed to be made ugly.
- Orson was trying to take Bo's photography and asked him to show his teeth. Bo removed them from his mouth.
- Expressive Accessory: The duck head on Wade's innertube, which looks exactly like his actual face and often mirrors the expression on his actual face.
- False Reassurance: The worm dressed as a chicken to trick Booker and Sheldon told them he knew what he was doing.
- When Lanolin knitted Orson a scarf, Bo was worried Lanolin was pulling a trick on him (Orson). She said she wasn't and then it's revealed the scarf was made of Bo's wool.
- Football Hooligans: Some strips had The Beautiful Game as a theme. In this one, Lanolin showed the área where the parking lot would be. She explained that's where that'd hold "the fight after the game". Her face held an expression she was looking forward that monent.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: This 1987 Christmas strip. Enough said.
- Frivolous Lawsuit: When Orson read the tale of Goldilocks and the three bears and asked if any of the listeners knew what she did after trying the too hot and the too cold bowls of porridge, Lanolin suggested she sued the bears.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: When Orson explains to Booker that he's named that because he loves books, his response is "I'm just glad you don't love kumquats". While this was probably just a use of Inherently Funny Words, Fundamentally Funny Fruit, or both, he may have been implying his name would be "Kummer". Say that out loud.
- Gone Horribly Right: In several early U.S. Acre strips, Orson uses hypnotism on Wade in order to make him not fear anything. It works, and Wade goes from being a lovable coward to shortly being a fearless and reckless Jerk Ass who fears absolutely nothing.
- Gratuitous German: Booker tried to trap a worm by sitting on its hole. The worm used a spiked helmet like those from German soldiers and said "Ach du lieber! A flyink chicken!"
- Hartman Hips: Parodied here when a female worm who only has eyelashes eats a peanut and gains the appearance of having broad shoulders and hips.
- Head Desk: Booker's reaction here when he realises he'd been tricked by a worm.
- Henpecked Husband: This worm was brave enough to fight Booker but cowers when his wife scolds him for being late for dinner.
- Also, when a hole-to-hole salesworm shows up at a hole and asks if the worm who answered was "the man of the house", said worm responded "I'll get her".
- Hollywood Voodoo: Booker comes along with a balloon which looks like Roy. When Roy wants to know what this is about, Booker claims it was a voodoo balloon. Roy isn't impressed, so Booker stabs it with a pin, result: Roy's head asplode.
- Hypno Fool: Wade gets hypnotized to calm his fears and Hilarity Ensues when the hypnotism ends up performing a total 180° on his personality.
- I Can See My House from Here: "Hey, I can see the barn from up here".
- Idea Bulb: Orson greeted Bo because Bo's greetings bring wind.
- I Know You Know I Know:Wade: Who's in there?
Max: You don't know me.
Wade: Are you sure I don't know you?
Max: I don't know.
Wade: You don't know what?
Max: I don't know that you don't know that you know me.
Wade: But how do I know that?!?
- Insistent Terminology: Booker was afraid he and a worm would fall off a cliff. From that height, the worm believed ""plummet" would be more like it".
- Instant Cosplay Surprise: Done on Roy here.
- Insult Backfire: Roy Rooster decided it was time for Booker to start rooster training.Roy: Okay, Booker. It's time you started rooster training.
Roy: Because you need to practice if you want to be like me.
Booker: I'd rather drink pond scum!
Roy: Good! You've got the Obnoxious part down!
- Imagine Spot: Two concerning Sheldon's future.
- I Will Show You X: "I'll good morning you!!"
- Jerkass: Roy and Lanolin, both of whom often tried to one-up the other.
- Last Request: ''Booker asks if a worm has "any last requests" and the worm suggests "Melancholy Baby".
- Lets See You Do Better:
- Booker showed Sheldon a hand trick and Sheldon said it's an old one. Booker then dared Sheldon to do it and somehow, Booker did see Sheldon doing it despite Sheldon living inside a shell.
- Roy says he can swim better than Orson can. When asked to show it, he says he doesn't want to get his feathers wet so Lanolin takes them away so he can swim without getting them wet.
- Market-Based Title: The strip was known as Orson's Farm outside the U.S.
- Meaningful Echo: When Orson joined his friends at ice skating, they told him not to because he'd drown them all. Not believing them, he entered the lake and said "See!". However, he did sink and the friends replied "See?!!!"
- Meaningful Name: Orson gave Booker that name because he (Orson) likes to read, making Booker glad Orson didn't like kumquats. Lanolin is named for a type of wax secreted by sheep.
- And Sheldon is called Sheldon because he's just an egg shell with legs.
- Medium Awareness: Orson told Sheldon their days were "not only numbered, but signed and dated" and he lived each moment as if it was his last panel.
- Morton's Fork: Orson asked Booker and Sheldon if they wanted him to read a book or if they wanted to watch TV. Booker eagerly replied "Television!" and Orson then got inside a TV and started reading a book inside it.
- Never Say "Die": These worms said "go".
- No Fourth Wall: After passing a sign reading "The end is near," Orson smacks into the end of the (truncated) last panel. This strip◊ also addresses the strip's end quite literally.
- The whole last week and final Sunday comic were about the strip ending in one way or another.
- Nobody Calls Me Chicken: A worm dared Booker (a literal chicken, mind you) to cross a line and vanished inside his hole before Booker responded. After Booker crossed the line, the same worm (or another one) showed up from another hole and acted like Booker had yet to decide if he'd accept the challenge or not. Booker was confused.
- Not Hyperbole:
- Because of his allergy to flowers, Roy doesn't like it when Booker brings any to the chicken coop. One time, he said "Don't bring those flowers in here! You want me to sneeze my feathers off?!" Enraged, Booker picks a giant flower and brings it to Roy in retaliation. The sneeze was so strong that both Roy and Booker lost their feathers.
- In one strip, Lanolin threatens to slap Roy's beak to the moon. She literally does that later.
- OOC Is Serious Business: In the strips final week, Wade finally conquers his fear of everything, which causes Orson, Roy, and Booker to run off screaming.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: This worm's chicken disguise.
- Parental Abandonment: While Booker and Sheldon were still unhatched eggs, their mother, having decided she was tired of sitting on eggs, literally just got up and walked away. The eggs remained unguarded in their nest until Orson found them the following week.
- Portable Hole: Booker ripped one from the ground so the worm he was chasing would be stuck underground.
- Punny Name: U.S. Acres was supposed to be a pun on "U.S.A."
- Rake Take: Wade believed that, if he were fast enough, he could race right by danger before it could do anything to him. A rake proved him wrong.
- Running Gag: The series pretty much runs on them. Sign gags, face gags, scaring Wade, slop jokes, imagination jokes, etc.
- The Scream: Wade sees a fake spider and screams so loud, it circles the world.
- Shout-Out: The Animated Adaptation is directly addressed in the final daily strip.
- Also, Binky the Clown makes a cameo in a thought balloon in one strip. Also, Booker had a duck call whistle that sounded "Hey, Duck!"
- "Power Pig! Fast as a speeding bullet! Strong as a locomotive!"
- Sheldon was wondering what an old tree would say if it could talk. A worm pranked him by making it seem it sang "Shooby Dooby Doo".
- Shown Their Work: Orson is abandoned at the beginning of the strip's life because he's the runt, just like pigs do in real life.
- Sneeze of Doom: Occurs here◊.
- Sphere Eyes
- Spit Take: March 22, 1989◊, and again on April 2◊.
- Spy Speak: Bo takes it literally.
- Stock Yuck: A worm tries to eat spinach but doesn't like the flavor. The remaining spinach moans over the fact "Nobody likes spinach".
- Talking Animal: Unlike in Garfield, the cast of U.S. Acres actually talks. (This might also be the reason for why Cody and Blue weren't in the cartoon.)
- Tempting Fate: Orson said even Lanolin couldn't ruin that day. She shouted "I just washed my car!" and it rained.
- That's All, Folks!: The last strip◊.
- Too Dumb to Live: Bo.(Bo is staring at the TV.)
Lanolin: What's on TV tonight, Bo?
Lanolin: (smacks Bo) Then turn it on, stupid.
- Wade is this as well. He falls off cliffs, when he can just fly to avoid injury. He goes ahead and just sits under a place where a blouder above him could easily fall and squish him. He even places his bed right on the cliff, where he ends up falling from, once he got out of bed.
- You and What Army?: Orson once used hypnosis to make Wade no longer afraid of anything. The first sign it was working was when Wade responded to a command by asking "You and what army, waller breath"?
- You Wouldn't Hit a Guy with Glasses?: A worm invoked the trope to avoid a beating from Booker. Booker was initially proud to have shown "chickens do have hearts" but later banged his head on a tree out of frustration once he remembered "worms don't have eyes".
- Your Costume Needs Work: Roy once dared Orson to dress like a bear. When a real bear showed up, Roy said it was the worst bear suit he'd ever seen.
- Your Head Asplode: June 9, 1987.
- Your Mom: One strip featured Booker plugging a hole and then yelling that the worm's mother was a garden hose. When the worm tried to return to the surface, it hit the head on the cork.
- A later strip had a worm telling Booker his mother swam after garbage scows. Guess what Booker's "Mom", Orson, was ready to do at the end of the strip?
- Feeling bored, Wade told Cody his mother had fleas so Cody would chase him away.
- Orson wondered why Roy considered himself qualified to be the judge of an "ugly face contest". When Roy said he knew ugly when he saw it, Lanolin jokingly mentioned "he should". Roy then asked "what was that about my (Roy's) mother?"
- Roy, over a frozen lake, teasing a fish. "Hey, fish! Your mother wears waders!" Then a strong fish breaks through the ice and drags Roy's face into water. Roy ends the strip with a broken and frozen face.