, written by Jim Davis. It stars Garfield, a
with a penchant for licking, and the only animal who doesn't have "thought speech".
. He decided to create a strip that would be popular with the masses, in order to be commercially successful. The fact that he succeeded says one of two things, depending on how
one is. On the other hand, at least he was
Garfield's speech is completely internal, even in his animated version. Although it made animation
, fans wondered exactly how much Jon understood Garfield considering they couldn't actually hold a conversation. With that in mind, they started the trend of
— from the comics. What results is a surreal trip into the mind of a very disturbed and lonely man, which is often considered funnier than the original strip,
. And going one step even further,
— and hilarious.
Probably holds the distinction of being the comic strip that features the most tropes
- 3-D Movie: The concept is lampooned in this strip.
- Aborted Arc: Many storylines end like this, especially the ones where Garfield, Jon and Odie take a trip. They always go out of their way to make a strip or two preparing or heading to their destination, but by Sunday they're suddenly back home as if nothing happened. If the story spans more than one week, the Sunday strip will continue the storyline instead.
- Achievements in Ignorance: Odie was once able to climb a tree because he didn't know he couldn't.
- Acrofatic: For such a ball of lard, Garfield is surprisingly athletic when he wants to be, being able to run extremely fast and even beat up other animals and even people! Some readers have theorized that all those diets Garfield has endured over the years were partially successful.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: The 10-24-1999 strip saw Garfield destroying daisies, maiming marigolds and mauling mums.
- In a strip where Pooky goes missing:
Garfield: Aha! Could this be a telltale trail of teddy bear hair? Even if it isn't, that was a pretty nifty bit of alliteration.
- Affectionate Parody: Jim Davis sometimes uses Jon's family to poke fun at his own Down on the Farm roots. Jon's father is depicted in one strip at being amazed by an indoor toilet, while in another he breaks Jon's sink after trying to pump the faucet.
- Affectionate Pickpocket: Garfield has done this to steal food from people's pockets on at least two occasions.
- Alien Animals: One strip suggests that cats are invaders attempting to subjugate humanity, and that they are responsible for certain seemingly-mindless actions of dogs and lower-class humans.
- All Cloth Unravels: Garfield only pulls on a thread from Jon's pants, but the shirt somehow unravels, too, leaving Jon naked outside.
- All Just a Dream: Word of God is that the 1989 Halloween story arc is this, although some readers continue to have their own interpretations.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: This strip features one of the Trope Namers themselves.
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Arlene is about as pink as a bottle of Pepto-Bismol.
- Ambiguous Syntax: Jon once told Garfield, "We are going on a diet." Garfield starts questioning the implications behind this statement... implications that aren't obvious, that is.
Jon: I don't think I'm getting through to him.
- And a Diet Coke: Occurs in this strip.
- Inverted in this one, in which Garfield is given a lasagna that's low calorie and one-third fat. He requests two more.
- And Then What?: In one strip, Garfield is being chased by a dog and wonders what the dog would actually do if it catches him. So he turns around and surrenders to the dog, asking it what it's going to do now. The dog then starts a waltz with Garfield, with an irritated Garfield demanding that he gets to lead next time.
- In another one, a mouse tells Garfield mice would rule the world some day. Garfield asked "Then what?" and the mouse said they'd then live in people's house and eat cheese. Garfield was unimpressed by the answer.
- An insect said someday they'd rule the world. Garfield asked "Then what?" and the insect hesitated before saying they'd "crawl on stuff".
- And There Was Much Rejoicing: Ellen's reaction when Jon tried the sympathy angle by claiming he only had one week to live.
- And This Is for...: Garfield clobbered Odie and said "That's for not being a cat." Later on, Garfield realized it was wrong on his part to Clobber Odie for not being a cat since it wasn't Odie's choice. Garfield then kicked Odie. "This is for being a dog."
- Anthropomorphic Shift: Garfield originally started out looking more like a real-life housecat, but per Art Evolution, he became extremely humanoid in 1984.
- This was lampshaded in two strips. In one, Jon asked Garfield where the cookies in a jar went. After getting no response, he said, "For a cat who walks on his hind legs, you don't speak much!"
- In the other, Jon told him that cats can't walk on their hind legs. Garfield said, "I didn't know that," and then, to Jon's shock, started walking on his front legs.
- Animal Jingoism: The traditional cats vs. dogs rivalry is played straight on many occasions between Garfield and Odie and all the other dogs he interacts with, but it's also repeatedly subverted. Garfield and Odie can get along perfectly well when they feel like it. One particular strip involves what looks like a large, angry barking dog chasing a terrified Garfield, but in the last panel they stop to catch their breath as a despondent Garfield tells the dog that they'll never catch the ice cream truck.
- Animals Lack Attributes: None of the animals are anatomically correct, but in a family-friendly daily newspaper comic strip, would you really expect them to be?
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
- "What's new, Garfield?" "Well, King Kong is on the roof batting down airplanes. The entire planet is being ravaged by brain-eating aliens... but more important, my dish is empty."
- "Birthdays bring you lots of things... Gray hair. Bad eyesight... Creaky joints. Ear hair, aches, pains, bad teeth... Sigh... And cake!"
- Another one that occurs while Jon's watching a soap opera:
Jon: I have some bad news, Garfield. I ran out of your favorite cat food.
Garfield: I'll survive.
Jon: Odie chewed up your scratching post.
Garfield: Big deal.
Jon: And Frank left Marcia for Stephanie.
Garfield: (dramatic expression) HOW COULD HE?!
- "Why do people expect us cats to eat mice? This mouse could be somebody's mother. This mouse could be a deacon in its little mouse church. And one of the fuzzy sucker's bones might get caught in my throat."
- Art Evolution: A rather extreme example, as Garfield has gone from having a huge body and beady eyes, to having a huge head and a body that looks like a basketball with legs. Just look at his face alone.◊
- Ascended Meme: Jim Davis not only approved of Garfield Minus Garfield, he also contributed a few to the book.
- Aside Glance: Occurs in the final panel of nearly all the comics, often as a reaction to a particularly stupid line or action.
- Ask a Stupid Question...: Jon asked if Garfield would sleep all day. Garfield then checked his social calendar. He said he'd have a high tea with the Queen of England but had no appointments for that day so he slept and Jon mentioned the trope's name.
- Ass Shove: Implied in one strip where Jon says, "Ellen, I have a cold. I thought you might like to feed me some soup… that's not what spoons are for, Ellen."
- "There's a novel new place to park the remote."
- Is also implied a couple of times when Garfield is upset that the vet took his temperature (or in one strip, when she threatens to do so if he doesn't cooperate. He decides to cooperate.)
- Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption: In one strip◊, Jon begins a phone call politely, only to yell threatening things at Garfield for stealing his food yet again. Needless to say, Debbie thought the yelling was directed at her.
- Attack Backfire: This strip had this happen to Garfield, with Jon Comically Missing the Point of what Garfield was actually trying to do.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Garfield was grateful for the trope when a dog that was chasing him suddenly decided to chase the mailman instead. The dog then decided to chase a squirrel instead of the mailman.
- Attention Whore: Garfield practically wrote the book on this.
- Author Appeal: There is a definite point in the comic's long run when you will notice that most of the (human) females begin to be consistently drawn with huge breasts, butts, and lips. Some strips, such as this one, draw women in a Non-Standard Character Design.
- Autocannibalism: Hinted here, combined with in-universe Fridge Horror.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: They may give each other a hard time, but Jon and Garfield really do care for one another. Jon even went so far as to throw out a potential girlfriend (literally) when she told him she was allergic to cats and forced him to choose between her or Garfield. Garfield and Odie also qualify.
- Babysitting Episode: Not quite babysitting, per se, but two different arcs had Garfield and Odie being pet-sat while Jon was out on a date with Liz. The first time, they were pet-sat by the horribly nearsighted Lillian while the second time had them under the care of the muscle-bound Greta.
- Babies Make Everything Better: Subverted and slightly altered with Nermal being able to talk.
- Bacon Addiction:
Jon: Sometimes it's hard to express our inner feelings.
- Bad Date: Happens a lot to Jon until he and Liz become an official couple.
- Bait and Switch: In this sunday story, a dog was approaching Garfield, giving the impression he'd maul the cat but then the dog instead invites Garfield for lunch. Garfield commented that "Things aren't always as they seem".
- Balloonacy: Jon has "the world's largest balloon" delivered. Results in All Balloons Have Helium when it floats the house away.
- Banana Peel: Here◊, here (logo box)◊, here◊, here◊, here◊, and here◊. Variant here◊. Subverted here◊.
- Banging Pots and Pans: Garfield does this to Jon a lot.
- Beach Bury: Garfield once buried Odie◊ "up to his knees" (i.e., only his legs were sticking out of the sand).
- Happens in another strip when Jon lets some kids bury Garfield. He actually finds it relaxing... at first.
- Beach Episode: The cast frequently visit the beach. Bad things happen to Jon every time.
- Beat Panel: Very often, which is surprising for a three-panel strip.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: One strip has Garfield stranded up a tree. Garfield says to it "Stupid tree...May all your stupid branches fall off!" Needless to say, all the trees branches broke off and fell to the ground. Including the one he was on.
- Garfield wished for a pizza and then he got it. He then wished for some music and a piano fell on him.
- When Jon and Liz were about to take their Christmas card photo, Jon called for Garfield and Odie, claiming they wanted everyone in it. Garfield then brought Arlene, Nermal, Pooky, Squeak, a spider, a chained dog, a goldfish, and the pizza guy ("He's like family.").
- In another strip, he wished for a fifty-pound pan of lasagna. It fell on him. "Now wouldn't you think I'd know better than to make a wish like that on a Monday?" he mused.
- In a ''very'' early strip, Garfield is shown hanging onto the screen door complaining of his boredom. He wishes for something to happen, which does when Jon slams the screen with him still on it to announce lunchtime.
- Berserk Button: don't ask Garfield to "beg" for something.
- Beyond the Impossible: Garfield ate a pizza before it arrived. He has "friends high up in the delivery business".
- Big Ball of Violence: Showed up in early Garfield/Odie fights.
- Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...: Garfield, when channel surfing:
Garfield: Garbage... Junk... Garbage... Junk... Garbage... Junk... Ah! Trash!
- Birthday Hater: Garfield's birthday is celebrated every year, and he doesn't like it much, as it reminds him how old he is. He often has nightmares and weird hallucinations related to age. (He does like getting cake - and the attention - when the actual party comes, however.)
- Black Comedy
- The mass amount of pain inflicted on Jon and Odie often leans into this:
Garfield: Ooo... I bet that hurt.
(Garfield leaves and returns with a potted plant. He drops it onto Odie with a crash.)
Garfield: Get well soon!
- His repeated murder of spiders (which are sapient in this universe) also veers into this on occasion. After he kills one spider, its spouse comforts its child in a heartwrenching scene while Garfield looks on.
Garfield: I guess I should feel like a heel. But I don't. *STOMP*
- Blatant Lies: When Liz asked Jon if he believed in ghosts, he reacted in fear but then tried to recompose himself and said he didn't. Garfield told her to ask him about his 23 night-lights.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: Generally averted, since Jim Davis has said that he tries to avoid US-centric references or puns, so that the strip can be easily translated. However, this was not always true in the early years.
- The Spanish translation was pretty rocky at first:
- "I ate a Milk Dud and kissed a cat" became "I hate spoiled milk and kissing cats".
- "I love it when the Good Humor man comes◊" had "Good Humor" translated literally, as if it were just a friendly man who inexplicably hands out ice cream to cats.
- In this strip, Garfield's dialogue was translated to something like "But at least I haven't broken a limb" even though he's clearly pointing to a branch — i.e., the "sturdy limb".
- This one oddly changed "They say the pet alligators that are flushed into the sewers grow to huge proportions" to "They say there are huge crocodiles…" with no explanation as to how they would get down there.
- The current Spanish translators (see here since it's no longer on the Garfield website) are generally quite skilled, to the point that they sometimes slip in their own puns. For instance, this strip went with a pun on "sleeping bag" that still works when translated back into English. They even localize some references properly, one of the most obvious being that cats are said to have seven lives instead of nine in most Spanish cultures. But even then, they're not infallible:
- "Somewhere between Floyd the whistling snake and crabgrass" became "En algún lugar entre la serpiente y un cangrejo." ("Somewhere between a snake and a crab.")
- This one had the translators failing to realize that "chili dog" is a food, and thus translated it as "chihuahua".
- This one got translated literally into Spanish ("Philomena Scott-Aphat-Ramsbottom" is rendered as "Filomena Escotia Afat de Ramsbottom"), but to be fair, it was a very rare exception to Jim Davis' "no wordplay" rule.
- In this strip and this strip, "'Sup?" (i.e. "What's up?") became "¿Cena?" (as in "Do you want to have supper?")
- In this strip, "You sound like you're breaking up" was translated incorrectly as "Parece que estás rompiendo conmigo"; instead of poor cell phone reception, it was translated as if the two spiders are breaking up with each other, which makes no sense in the context of the joke. (They got it right in this strip just over a year later.)
- These two strips accidentally ended up with each other's dialogue in the Spanish translation.
- In the Spanish version of this strip, they forgot to invert the words for "beef stew", thus killing the joke. Considering how well most of the other strips are translated, this one really stands out as a glaring error.
- A couple of Hungarian bloopers: In this strip, the spider's line became "I can tell when I'm being fooled!". Which doesn't make the slightest of sense. In another strip, "my place" was translated litarally, as "én helyem" ("my spot"), when "nálam" ("at my place") would have been correct. Similarly, the expressions "Well, what do you know!" and "Okay, I'll bite" have also seen word-for-word translations ("Just what do you know!" and "Okay, I'll bite you"). Also, in one instance, the word "Egad" was left untranslated.
- One Brazilian translation◊ turned Jon's dialogue into (roughly) "Yes, that was me. Okay." instead of the original◊ dialogue meaning "Smelly Feet Up to Eleven".
- Bowdlerise: In one farm-based strip, Garfield says "wanna swap sheep jokes?" His editor, concerned over this being misconstrued for a bestiality reference, changed it to "dirt jokes". Another farm-based strip kept in "sheep jokes," however.
- Box-and-Stick Trap: This◊ strip has Jon doing this to Garfield to take him to the vet:
Garfield: Jon thinks he can trap me into going to the vet using a grilled cheese sandwich as bait. What kind of gluttonous idiot does Jon take me for anyway?
[Gilligan Cut to the stick down and Garfield in the box, enjoying his sandwich]
Garfield: What, no pickle?
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs:
- Garfield is looking in the mirror when he says: "Oh no, a wrinkle! Oh no, a gray hair! OH NO, A WRINKLED GRAY HAIR!!!"
- This exchange:
Garfield: Cats are very complicated.
Jon: You're a lump.
Garfield: Cats are very complicated lumps.
Garfield (staring at food bowl) Glop.
Jon: (puts rosemary in it) And a sprig of rosemary!
Garfield: Glop with a sprig of rosemary.
- Brick Joke: The "X DOOOOOG!" running gag reappeared almost a year after his original week of chaos, which itself counts as a Brick Joke considering it was not the dog's first appearance. And of course Clive; see Not-So-Imaginary Friend below.
- Garfield "kicking Odie into next week". Odie is absent from the comic for the next 6 days, and, sure enough, he comes crashing back down (Onto Garfield.) on the seventh day.
- This 2009 Christmas strip◊ references this strip◊ a good 9 years prior.
- Briffits and Squeans: Briffits are the most common.
- Bubble Pipe: Jon uses a bubble pipe once or twice. Garfield himself once blew soap bubbles with a real pipe:
Jon: My ivory-stemmed, mother-of-pearl inlaid meerschaum!
Garfield: My blow toy.
- Buffy Speak:
- In one Story Arc where Garfield and Odie run away from home, Garfield describes the feeling of being on his own as "so....out-on-my-own-ish."
- An even earlier example had Garfield describe the sight of Odie begging for food as "bug-eyed and pant-y and slobbery."
- Bullet Seed: Shows up in two strips, both times with watermelon seeds. One example provides the page image.
- The Bus Came Back: Lyman appeared two more times after his last appearance as a regular (4/24/83)◊: once for the 10th Anniversary strip◊ (although only in the logo box and a photograph) five years later, and once on a newspaper in the 4/2/13◊ strip twenty-five years after that.
- Butt Monkey: Jon is a huge one. Here's◊ just◊ a◊ few◊ of◊ his◊ moments◊.
- Burping Contest: Many strips have them between Jon and Garfield.
- Can't Stand Them, Can't Live Without Them: Garfield and Odie's relationship, to a tee.
- Cartoon Cheese: Shows up often when the mice are involved.
- Canon Immigrant: Garfield's family first appeared in the special Garfield on the Town. That special was later reworked into a 1984 storyline where they appeared in the comic.
- Binky the Clown was first seen in Garfield's Halloween Adventure before appearing in a 1986 storyline about Garfield and Odie getting lost and joining the circus (although one earlier strip had Garfield wondering where the Binky the clown show was).
- Casanova Wannabe: Jon is an excellent cringeworthy example — until his Relationship Upgrade with Liz.
- Cash Lure: This strip from 1979 featured Jon pulling this trick on Garfield. Jon used a blueberry muffin instead of money. Garfield retaliated by knocking down the table Jon was on.
- Catapult Nightmare: Garfield has had several.
- Catching Some Z's: Usually it's only a single Z in a speech bubble variation (although some◊ early◊ strips◊ play it straight).
- Cats Are Mean: Could probably be the Trope Namer. Not that the trope is deployed consistently, but Garfield's Comedic Sociopathy is probably one of the series' most frequent recurring aspects (although at times he also demonstrates the capacity for great kindness).
- Cats Are Snarkers: Garfield, of course.
- Cat Up a Tree: Often happens to Garfield. As he puts it, cats are the world's greatest tree climbers, but the world's worst tree climber downers.
- Chalk Outline: Jon did it to Garfield for laughs.
- Childhood Brain Damage: Jim Davis opens the comic's 20th anniversary book by claiming, "I was born July 28, 1945, in Marion, Indiana, and was promptly dropped on my head - which explains my lifelong desire to become a cartoonist."
- Childish Pillow Fight: In one strip, Jon challenges Garfield to a pillow fight. Garfield easily defeats him with a pillow stuffed with a giant chicken's feathers.
- Christmas Episode: In the 2000s, Davis has taken to devoting the entire month of December to Christmas-themed strips.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Lyman. once it became apparent that he was The Artifact (he was originally brought in to give Jon someone to talk to). Arguably one of the most iconic examples in the funny papers. Although he appeared◊ in a photograph in the newspaper Jon's reading three decades later.
- Almost all of the supporting cast (particularly Arlene, Nermal and Jon's family) hardly appear in the 2010s.
- Clark Kenting: Parodied. As an excuse not to chase a mouse, Garfield claimed he "didn't recognize him in those glasses".
- Clip Show: June 19, 1988◊, the 10th anniversary strip. This strip is also the last personal appearance of Lyman (look at the logo box).
- Cloudcuckoolander: Irma, the eponymous diner waitress of Irma's Diner. Jon sometimes wanders into this as well, making comments such as "I think my toes are jealous of my fingers because they get to point at things."
- Clutching Hand Trap: Happened to Garfield with a cookie jar in a 2002 strip, but he subverts it by breaking the cookie jar on Jon's head, instead of just simply letting go of the cookie that he wanted.
- Not a cookie jar, but Jon got both of his hands stuck in pickle jars (as did his date) in another strip.
- Garfield gets his hand caught in an olive jar in an early strip.
- Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: Every time Garfield goes on a diet.
- Comedic Sociopathy: Especially in the earlier years, much of the humor comes from Garfield's abuse of almost everyone he meets, usually just for his own amusement. Jon, Odie, Nermal, spiders, dogs on chains and the mailman are frequent targets. Garfield is on the receiving end sometimes too.
- Comic Book Adaptation: Garfield finally got a comic book in 2012 through BOOM Studio, written by Mark Evanier (who also wrote a lot of Garfield and Friends episodes). One of the covers was drawn by MAD stalwart Al Jaffee!
- Comic-Book Time: A weird zig-zagging. Garfield's birthday (and occasionally Jon's) is celebrated in every year, and he complains about getting old. However, none of the characters ever age physically.
- One should also note that after the 25th anniversary, they stopped listing Garfield's age every year. Possibly because of the fact that a real cat typically only lives within half the time that Garfield's been around.
- This was even lampshaded by Jim Davis with the title of a retrospective that was released at that time: Garfield at 25: In Dog Years, I'd Be Dead.
- Comically Missing the Point:
Jon: This morning I had a bowl of cereal with strawberries. When I turned my back, a mouse ate them. What do you say to that, Garfield?!
Garfield: We have strawberries?
Jon: I don't believe it.
Garfield: Neither do I. Odie just drew to an inside straight.
- The Comically Serious:
- Liz, whose job for nearly three decades was to become exasperated by and/or snark at Jon's attempts to woo her.
- Jon's father, too. He typically was a Grumpy Old Man who was there to complain about the antics of the other characters (though on certain occasions he did get to be silly).
- Continuity Nod: "Ah-HA! I knew I◊ still had those old rubber arms!◊"
- Contrived Coincidence: Jon gets his head caught in a wastebasket and his hands caught in pickle jars right before his date, then worries what to do because his date is coming at any moment. Turns out she had the same thing happen to her.
- Cool Cat
- Cool Old Lady: Jon's grandma, who rides a motorcycle, boogies down on the piano, and is just an out-and-out badass grandma. (Ironically, her daughter is much more old-fashioned.)
- Also Jon's Aunt Gussie, who, among other details, made a living teaching "slam-dancing", commonly referred to today as "moshing". Yes, you read that right.
- Covered in Kisses: Once on a date, Liz commented that Garfield must've been a cute kitten. Jon replies that he was and whips out his wallet to show her a picture. Liz, at first, appears to be surprised that he keeps a picture of his cat as a kitten in his wallet. When Jon returns home, his face is covered in lipstick as he tells Garfield, "I owe you one."
- Crossover: Marmaduke appeared at the beginning of a sunday Garfield strip. As Garfield realized the fence he was painting his name on was Marmaduke's, he apologized stating "wrong strip".
- Crying Wolf: While camping, Jon told Garfield to look out for wild animals. Garfield started playing tricks on him. When Jon refused to believe him, a bear caught Garfield.
- Cue the Flying Pigs: Consciously averted by Garfield: "Don't get me wrong, I love dogs. I'd never hurt a dog. And if I'm lying, may lightning... *pause* ... strike the dog next door." (Crack) "Yip!"
- Jon made a drawing of a pig. Garfield made a better drawing, although his had wings. When Jon complained that pigs didn't have wings, Garfield said they would before Jon outdrew him. Also counts as a Shout-Out as that strip ended with Garfield calling Jon "Pablo".
- Cue the Rain: Common, especially when the gang goes camping. In a Sunday strip:
(Jon has just finished mowing the lawn)
Jon: Finally! All done!
(It immediately starts raining. It then stops, and the grass automatically regrows)
Jon: That's just not fair!
Garfield: Suck it up, mow boy.
- Cultural Translation: In the Spanish version of the strip, "fudge" is usually translated to "chocolate".
- Cut and Paste Comic: It's not, but the remarkably regular art style gives this impression◊.
- The strip began using digital artwork in November 2011, and thus artwork is often reused and modified, pushing it into this trope.
- Cut a Slice, Take the Rest: One logo box pictures Jon holding a single slice of pizza, and Garfield holding the entire rest of the unsliced pizza over his mouth.
- A variant, one comic depicts Garfield trying to decide whether to leave one scoop of ice cream or two while he eats the rest.
- Cute Kitten: Nermal, the world's cutest kitten. (Often qualifies as Cute Is Evil, as he can often be very mean to Garfeld. Also, in one strip it is revealed that Nermal is using coffee and cigarettes to purposely stunt his growth, and claimed to be a midget in another.)
- Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: One of Jim◊ Davis's◊ favorite◊ gags◊.
- Dagwood Sandwich: These things can be dangerous!◊
- Damned By a Fool's Praise: Anything Jon likes is subject to this. Jon has ridiculously weird taste in things and tends to purchase things on impulse, then almost immediately forget he had those things upon obtaining them.
- There's a comic strip where Garfield is watching an infomercial for something unknown but so bad that he can't help complaining endlessly. Jon walks by and tells Garfield he has three of the product.
- Damned by Faint Praise: Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes once tactfully described Garfield as "consistent."
- Deadpan Snarker: Pretty much everyone at some point, though Garfield is the most prominent. Special mention must be given to the bathroom scale ("You know those two pounds you lost last week? They are back with reinforcements"; "Let me put it this way... Have you ever considered a career as a river barge?").
- Deconstruction: Of Zipperiffic, bizarrely enough. Jon wears a suit with an absurd amount of zippered pockets, then forgets which pocket he put his keys in. Cue Garfield giving an Oh, Crap face and exclaiming, "This could take months!"
- Deep-Fried Whatever: "If it ain't deep-fried, it ain't worth eating."
- Depending on the Artist: Ever since the strip went to being in color every day, there's been little to no consistency on the palette of Jon's house, wardrobe, etc. This also applies to the older strips, which were colored retroactively with just as little regard for consistency.
- This even seems to extend to the point of things sometimes being colored some shade that makes no sense whatsoever; for instance, the bushes outside of Jon's house are sometimes bizarre colors such as orange or pink.
- Desert Skull: In one sequence, Jon brings home one of these, which Garfield then puts on Odie, while Jon talks to his mother about it.
- Diet Episode: There are numerous strips about Garfield being put on a diet by Jon (or occasionally Liz).
- Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: When Garfield and Jon are absent, Odie watches a documentary about Mozart, reads War and Peace and dresses like the dog from the trope page, pipe included.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Happens to Jon while riding his bicycle in this strip◊.
- Do Not Call Me Paul: Jon Arbuckle's brother hates being called "Doc Boy". Unfortunately, their Dad likes to call them and their mother "Jon Boy", "Mom Boy" and "Doc Boy".
- Does Not Like Spam: Garfield really hates raisins. Doubles as Shown Their Work, as raisins can be fatally poisonous to cats in Real Life.
- He also won't eat spinach, snails, mice, fruitcake, grapefruit, and certain brands of cat food, but other than that, he'll eat anything.
- Does This Make Me Look Fat?: During an Arbuckle Family Reunion, a woman asked if her pants made her hips look big and somebody answered "it's not the pants".
- A Dog Ate My Homework: In this strip◊ Garfield passes by a dog, who holds a sign saying: "Will eat homework for food".
- In another strip◊, Jon goes to a class reunion, and meets his old English teacher, Mrs. Fronzak:
Jon: What are you doing at the class reunion?
Mrs. Fronzak: Waiting on that overdue term paper, Jonny.
Jon: My, uh, cat ate it!
Garfield: Leave me out of this!
- Garfield also finds out that this is actually a very lucrative business for dogs.
- A Dog Named Dog: Discussed in an early strip, where Lyman said that he grew up with four cats all named Cat... because there's no point in naming an animal that won't come when you call it. (Despite most cats do in fact come when you call them)
- Doing It for the Art : Garfield's performances on the fence, which always have a hostile reception. The strip itself is an inversion of this trope.
- Don't Answer That: Garfield says this to his mirror after asking it who's the cutest cat and then seeing Nermal walk in.
- Don't Explain the Joke: In April 26,2012, a spider about to be swatted said it was okay as long as Garfield didn't sit on it and then explained he said it because Garfield was fat.
- Don't Tell Mama: Jon was at Irma's Diner and she pointed out he didn't eat the vegetables. He sarcastically asked if she'd tell his mother. When she said hat she would, he quickly started eating them. Garfield told Irma to tell Jon's mother he ate the dessert first.
- Doom It Yourself: This occurred in one strip when Jon and Doc tried setting up some Christmas lights when Jon visited the family farm for the holidays. They ended up both getting entangled in the lights:
Jon's Dad: What am I going to do with you two?
Garfield: Why don't you plug them in?
- And in another strip, Jon walks in, a bruised and disheveled mess:
Jon: I got the Christmas lights up.
Garfield: I know. I saw it on the evening news.
- Jon has had a lot of these. In one strip, Garfield puts toast in the toaster and wonders if Jon's fixed it. Cue the toast flying out of the toaster, ricocheting off of every wall in the house, chasing Jon and Odie and finally crashing into something off-screen. Did Jon fix the toaster? "Yup."
- The Door Slams You: Has occurred to Garfield at least once. Not surprisingly, on a Monday.
- Dope Slap: Garfield does these frequently to Jon.
- Down on the Farm: Jon takes Garfield to his parents' farm from time to time. One notable instance was during Christmas, as covered by one of his TV specials.
- Dripping Disturbance: Garfield faces this occasionally. First he turns the shower head upside down to stop the dripping, only for it to keep dripping even upside-down, then he notices it as one of the sounds commonly heard at night and then he stops the faucet from dripping by using Jon's toe.
- Droste Image: Done in the logo box of this strip.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Where to start… radically different art style, the fact that Jon was a cartoonist, the presence of Lyman, the use of wordplay and topical humor…
- Let's not leave out Odie, yes, Odie was originally owned by Lyman instead of Jon.
- Every year the strip celebrates Garfield's birthday on June 19 (the date the strip debuted), so it can be odd to see Garfield's birthday acknowledged in the second comic strip (on June 20).
- Eek, a Mouse!!:
Mouse: Your owner doesn't seem to like us.
Garfield: Well, he's got this thing about mice...
Mouse: You mean the part where he stands on a chair and screams?
Garfield: That too.
- Eleventy Zillion: From the aforementioned zipper strip: "Take a gander at this outfit. It has six gajillion zippers!"
- Embarrassing Nickname: Doc, Jon's farmhand brother, whom Jon always calls "Doc Boy". Still better than "Iguana Gums"◊.
- Enemy Mine: After being driven crazy by a fly for a few days, Garfield is desperate enough to ally with a spider to get rid of it.
- Epic Fail: Garfield attempts to kill a spider by closing a window on it. It doesn't go well.
- Even Bad Cats Love Their Mamas: A famous multi-week story arc had him meet his mother in a touching reunion. This story was adapted for the television special Garfield On The Town.
- Everybody's Dead, Dave: Used in the Halloween 1989 story arc.
- Everyone Has Standards: Jon spent all morning writing a love sonnet and then the computer crashed. Actually, it didn't. "Even the Internet has its standards".
- Evil Lawyer Joke: A spider showed up with a lawyer and a restraining order against Garfield, who was smiling because he'd "never squished a lawyer".
- Evil Twin: When Jon tells Garfield Santa Claus has been watching him, he wrote a letter suggesting Santa might have seen his evil twin.
- Exact Words: "We'll be back after a word from our sponsor." "Sasquatch." "And we're back."
- The Exit Is That Way: Jon opens a door.
Jon: Boy, it's dark outside!
Garfield: That's the closet.
- Exposed Animal Bellybutton: Played straight with Garfield on more than one occasion, but subverted in one strip. Garfield notices a black spot on his belly in the mirror and remarks "I didn't know I had a belly button". Said spot turns out to be a bug, which promptly flies away.
- Also played straight with some animal characters who appeared in some strips of this comic, especially bigger ones.
- Eye Poke: One strip features a televised face-slapping tournament that ends with one of these from one of the athletes.
- Eyes Always Shut: Jon's mom.
- Face Fault: "Hey, Garfield, I lost a button...Garfield?"◊
- Garfield does it again in this strip when Jon fools him into thinking that the gas bill is a letter from Santa chastizing him for trying to convince Santa that he's been good.
- Failed a Spot Check: Happens to Jon here. He's so wrapped up Breaking the Fourth Wall, that he doesn't notice Garfield taking off with the refrigerator.
- Failure Is the Only Option: Jon getting a girlfriend, until the late 2000s.
- Fake Rabies: Garfield and Odie have had fun with Jon's shaving cream.◊
- Also happened a few times before that.
- Faking the Dead: When Jon asked Lisa if she already had plans for New Year's Eve she screamed and fell down. Jon told her she had faked her death "last year".
- Falling Chandelier of Doom: It was a monday and the screws on the chandelier above Garfield needed tightening.
- Fat Cat: Guess who.
- Filler: The first collection, Garfield At Large, ends with a single-panel filler strip of Garfield walking into the sunset. The follow-up, Garfield Gains Weight, begins with a single-panel filler strip of Garfield sitting atop the television and looking into the screen, much to the annoyance of Jon, Odie, and Lyman.
- Finagle's Law: Jon had a date that night. That made him sure he'd "get a huge pimple" that day. Garfield considers it "a time-honored tradition".
- First Gray Hair: Garfield finds a gray hair, panics, and tries to dye it. It doesn't go well.
- Jon finds (presumably) his first gray hair — or, rather, Garfield finds it for him — in this strip shown two days before Garfield's 20th birthday in 1998.
- First Name Ultimatum: "Gaaaaaaaaaaaaarfield!"
- First World Problems: Jon sings about "having the blues", and hits on a woman passing by his house:
Jon: Hey good lookin', I got the blues. Wanna cheer me up.
Woman: You? The blues? Ha! There you sit in your powder-blue oxford shirt in your own home in a middle-class suburb. You don't know nothin' 'bout the blues!
Jon: Well, excuse me for succeeding!
- 555: This strip.
- Flanderization: While certain character and story elements were present in the strip almost from the very beginning (Garfield's love of lasagna, for example), the early strips might come as a surprise to readers born after 1980 or so. When the strip was starting out, many things were different: Jon wasn't overtly a nerd, although he did have trouble getting dates; Odie was stupid, but not to the extreme degree he was later portrayed; and Garfield himself was less a cool-as-ice Deadpan Snarker than a genuinely mean-spirited (and at times sadistic) misanthrope. (The mean streak remains, of course, although the outright sadism has now softened into Comedic Sociopathy.) Also, the stories were originally slightly more based in reality; the madcap surreality that the strip has become famous for didn't truly get under way until the mid-1980s.
- Fluffy Dry Cat: Garfield had this happen to him sometimes.
- Fluffy the Terrible: This strip featured Fluffy the Fierce. Sure, he was not much taller than any cat that'd fit the name Fluffy but he was described as a legendary ratter. Until he met Matt-the-Rat, that is.
- Flushing Toilet, Screaming Shower: Garfield once turned on the hot water in the sink to show Odie that all the pipes were connected. Of course, Jon's shower went ice cold.
- Follow the Leader: Jim Davis developed a book format for the first Garfield compilation, which featured very wide pages to accommodate the three-panel strip horizontally as it appeared in the paper, as opposed to being vertically stacked like most comic strip trade books of the day. This wide-page format came to be known as the "Garfield format". Many other comic strips soon followed suit with their own books, including The Far Side and FoxTrot. Ironically, since 2001, Garfield itself no longer uses the Garfield format for its compilations, and the earlier "Garfield format" compilations have been republished in a more standard style.
- Food and Animal Attraction: Used in this strip.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: This strip during a week involving Garfield's conscience.
- Formerly Fat: One of Jon's female acquaintances, Bertha, lost 200 pounds. Garfield was disappointed.
- Fountain of Youth: On his birthday in 2014, Garfield tried to change the year on the calendar so that he would get younger, rather than older. It worked a little too well.
- Fourth Wall Mail Slot: A◊ few◊ early◊ strips◊ had◊ Garfield answering letters.
- Fourth Wall Portrait: This strip. While Jon's pig drawing fits with the comic's art style, Garfield's... doesn't.
- Flower Pot Drop: The strip has used this a few times:
- Odie crashes into a piece of furniture and the flowerpot on it falls off and crashes onto Odie's head.
- One of Garfield's audience members throws a flowerpot at Garfield before he can get on the fence.
- A flowerpot is thrown at Garfield, along with many other things, during his fence act.
- A mouse drops a flowerpot on Garfield for taunting him.
- Garfield drops a flowerpot on Odie after he kicks him off the table.
- Funny Answering Machine: This trope is used several times by any woman Jon tries to call for a date.
Suzy: Hi, this is Suzy. I'm not at home, but please leave a message at the tone... Unless you're Jon Arbuckle, in which case the machine will automatically hung up. ...Beep!
Jon: This is, uh, Ed Smith. (machine hangs up)
Garfield: Just amazing.
- A 2008 strip had Liz listening to Jon's answering machine message, commenting on it being 'funny'. Jon was being pounded by Garfield while he recorded the message.
- Funny Robot: More like a "funny AI system", but Garfield constantly has to endure fat jokes directed at him by his wise-guy talking bathroom scale. (Although he has bribed it on more than one occasion to get Jon to take him off a diet.)
- Fur Is Clothing: Garfield ripped his "cat suit" when he tried to pick up a chocolate covered peanut. He then said he needed a bigger one.
- Furry Ear Dissonance: Garfield has very round ears for a cat.
- G-Rated Drug: Garfield tends to react this way to catnip.
- Garden Hose Squirt Surprise: Happens to Odie.
- The Ghost: Ellen, until she finally appeared onscreen. And had amnesia.
- Gilligan Cut:  This comic.
- Glass-Shattering Sound: Parodied here◊. (So he's literally breaking the fourth wall?)
- Gone Horribly Right: Wanting to approach birds without being noticed by them, Garfield glued some feathers on him and put on some swin fins. He ended up being chased by other cats.
- Gonna Need More X: In the September 15, 2007 Garfield comic, Garfield's normal Running Gag about crushing spiders with newspapers was interrupted when Jon saw a spider with a hard hat walk by, chuckling to itself. Garfield followed it saying, "I'm gonna need a bigger newspaper".
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: Until he ate them. Also a variant with them arguing over whether or not he should eat a pie. Garfield says he'd be thinner if the good angel were quicker witted to the bad one's retorts.
- A Good, Old-Fashioned Paint Watching: Occasionally used to show how boring a life Jon's family has on the countryside, since the most mundane things excite them (watching the washing machine instead of the TV ("Here comes the red sock again!"), counting every brick in the wall of the house, taking a trip to see the new water tower, going to the airport to watch the planes take off etc.)
- There's an actual in-universe TV show called Watching Paint Dry.
- Gory Discretion Shot: "Impressive graphics."
- Graceful Loser: Liz's Date in the arc where she and Jon finally become an item.
- Greasy Spoon: Irma's Diner. You have two kinds of coffee (regular and decaf), pickle brine as a choice of beverage, and a five-pound "he-man" burger. Jon has found dry-cleaning slips and false eyelashes in his food. Irma thinks that letting cheese age means keeping it in the back of her truck, and her idea of a "special treat" is a scoop of mashed potatoes in an ice cream cone. Garfield once found a hoof in a burger there.
- Groin Attack: Happens to Garfield on the fence in this 1990 strip.
- Grounded Forever: In the book Garfield's Big Book Of Super School Excuses, one excuse for "Why I Can't Go Out With You" is "I'm grounded until college".
- "Groundhog Day" Loop: In a Story Arc in July 1986, Garfield gets stuck in a week of Mondays.
- Guilty Pleasures: In-universe, everything Garfield catches on TV.
- Guest Strip: Davis' father wrote this strip.
- Gypsy Curse:
- Halloween Episode: The arc that ran the week of Monday, Oct. 23, 1989, in which Garfield imagines himself to be starving alone in a boarded-up house. Or at least he's probably imagining that—the Saturday strip that closes the arc leaves open the possibility that Garfield's happy, well-fed life might be the imaginary one.
- Hash House Lingo: Jon asks for a hamburger with extra onions. Irma then turns to the kitchen and yells "BURN A COW AND MAKE HER CRY!" which causes Jon and Garfield to lose their appetites.
- Hates the Job, Loves the Limelight: Binky the Clown:
Binky (on TV): Heeeey, kids! Wanna see Binky do a magic trick? Well, forget it! I'm not spending another minute in this stupid clown suit! I am an actor! But, noooo... Too short, they said!
Garfield: Third time this week. He's lost it.
- Hating On Mondays: Garfield may just as well be the Trope Codifier. And it's little wonder he hates the day, because nothing good ever seems to happen to him on that day.
- Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: Garfield was lying down when he decided it was "Vacation time". He remained lying down but with a Hawaiian shirt.
- Heads Tails Edge: Garfield flips a coin to decide whether to stay in bed or watch TV. The coin lands on its edge, so he watches TV in bed.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Garfield displays tendencies of this.
- Hiccup Hijinks: One arc from 1998 featured Garfield "freestyle hiccuping◊," with the downright silly Written Sound Effects of "hickety," "huc huc" and "hickey" (no, not that kind of hickey).
- High On Catnip: Used several times.
- Homage: Some of the barn animals in the April 22, 2001 may be familiar: among them are Booker, Orson and Roy from U.S. Acres.
- Homemade Sweater From Hell: A Running Gag is that Jon's mom always sends Garfield one of these for Christmas, and they usually have a glaring defect (no neck hole, three arms, etc.). Subverted on the December 27, 2012 strip, where the sweater is actually well-made and looks good on him… which troubles both Jon and Garfield, as they feel something's wrong with Jon's mom.
- Honest John's Dealership: Invoked in a 1987 Story Arc where Jon buys a new car:
Jon: Honest Ed seems nice enough, Garfield, but there's something about him I don't trust.
Garfield: Maybe it's the fact his office is in a pickup truck with the engine running.
- Also appears in an early 1990s strip where Jon buys a Christmas tree from "Honest Frosty's."
- Horrible Camping Trip: Garfield has been forced to go an a few of these (though from his perspective, a camping trip can only be horrible).
- Humanlike Foot Anatomy: Strangely, Garfield's feet are still shown to be digitigrade when he's laying down, but turn into humanlike feet when he stands up. They've also gotten progressively bigger over time, as demonstrated in Square Root of Minus Garfield.
- Human Snowman: Happened twice;
- Hypocritical Humor: In this strip◊, Garfield smacks Jon upside the head for turning on a violent TV show, then says, "I don't like violence."
- I Always Wanted to Say That: Jon told Garfield "Stop whatever you're doing" and later admitted he "just always wanted to say that".
- I Am Big Boned: Garfield does it sometimes, a few with the trope name (the page image is the response of his sarcastic bathroom scale).
- In January 29th, 1979, Garfield literally claimed to be big boned. Jon called Garfield "disgustingly, slovenly, sloppy fat" and Garfield said Jon obviously had "disgustingly, slovenly, sloppy fat" confused with "big boned".
- In September 21st, 1979, Garfield stated people under 6'4" aren't overweight. They're "undertall".
- In November 16th, 2002, a mouse used that excuse to have a hole the size of the dinning table.
- As Garfield said about the scale in January 19th, 2008, "he can dish it out, but he sure can't take it".
- I Ate WHAT?: This strip, and before that there was, this one.
- Idea Bulb: Sometimes played straight; parodied in one strip where Garfield's Idea Bulb burns out, and in another where Odie (being none too bright) gets a candle over his head instead.
- Identity Amnesia: In the arc beginning February 2nd, 1987. Eventually, Jon starts missing the old Garfield.
- If I Had a Nickel: Jon said he'd be rich if he had a dollar for every cat hair on his rug. Garfield said he was doing his part.
- If You Die, I Call Your Stuff:
Garfield: How about a nice little game of “Stomp The Spider”?
Spider: I'm warning you... You'd better not pick on me, cat!
Garfield: And what happens if I do?
Spider: I'll tell my big brother!
Garfield: Fine! Bring him on!
Spider: Hey, Rusty! C'mere!
Spider: This big, stupid cat says he's gonna stomp me.
Rusty: Can I have your CDs?
Jon (talking on the phone):Ellen, if you don't go out with me, I'll die. (Beat) It's just a figure of speech, Ellen. (Beat) No, you can't have my computer!
Garfield: Can I have the TV?
- In another Jon tells Garfield that he wrote his will and Garfield asks him if he can have the fridge.
- I Have to Go Iron My Dog: After Jon heard some noise, Garfield claimed Odie tripped and then he presented a piece of paper with some animal paw prints he claimed to be a sworn testimony claiming he was in Bolivia at the time.
- I Have to Wash My Hair: A prominent Running Gag regarding Jon, with most of the lines overlapping with I Have to Go Iron My Dog. (Or "I have to stay home to floss my otter.")
- I Know You Know I Know:
Garfield: (holding a rolled-up newspaper) Come a little closer.
Spider: Make me.
Garfield: Make me make you.
Spider: Make me make you make me.
Garfield: Make me make you make me make you.
Spider: Make me make you make me make you make me.
Garfield: Make me make you make me make you make me make you.
Spider: Make me make you make me make... um... ummm... Wait a minute. I forgot what we were talking about.
Garfield: Come a little closer, and I'll tell you.
Spider: Make me.
- Illogical Safe: Done to Odie in one Sunday Strip.
- Impact Silhouette: Garfield has done this to Nermal a few times, through both doors and walls.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: On a slow news day.◊
- Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Jon frequently wears these on dates.
- Inconsistent Dub: The Spanish translation usually keeps the characters' names the same, but it has waffled more than once on translating the names of both Doc Boy and Pooky (to "Chico Doc" and "Puky", respectively).
- Inflationary Dialogue: Garfield didn't believe when his grandfather stated "You kids have it good these days. I remember when I had to walk six miles every day just to chase rats." When Garfield said he didn't buy that, his grandfather asked "Would you believe across the street to spook a chicken?"
- Insistent Terminology: Garfield never forgets. He just has "convenient lapses of memory".
- The Intern: Biff, Garfield's college intern, appeared in one 1998 arc. He's sent off to scare Jon (unsuccessfully) then never heard from again.
- Intellectual Animal: Garfield has been seen sucessfully dialing a phone number, writing on a typewriter, and using a computer.
- In the Style of...: This strip's logo box, as confirmed in a compilation, was done in the style of Big Daddy Roth.
- Intimidating Revenue Service: Garfield Once read about a movie titled "The Mummy's Curse" on his TV guide. The synopsis: "Mummy rises only to be hit with five thousand years of back taxes."
- Is Nothing Sacred?: In a strip:
Jon: Garfield! You're using my toothbrush!
Garfield: Stick around. You can watch me floss.
Jon: Is nothing sacred?!
Garfield: Where's the mouthwash?
- I Take Offense to That Last One:
Arlene: Garfield, I just don't know what I see in you. You're rude, obnoxious, fat, selfish, egotistical, and totally devoid of any charm.
Garfield: I am not egotistical.
- Another time too, but Garfield takes it positively.
Old Lady: You are the ugliest little boy I've ever seen.
Garfield: You think I'm little?
- It Came from the Fridge: Several times, Jon's leftovers have become sentient. One even left the fridge because it was no longer wanted.
Garfield (referring to Jon): The bacon is grazing on the lettuce, and he asks if the refrigerator needs cleaning.
- It's All About Me: Garfield's standard outlook on life.
- I Want Grandkids: Now that Liz is offically his girlfriend, Jon's mother has been expressing this desire.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Jon's aunt Gussie. Also Garfield's grandmother, who had a "body that wouldn't quit." Until it did.
- Jaw Drop: Lampshaded in one strip where Garfield lists off the ways he's seen Jon express surprise after Garfield claws the couch. "All right! 'Jaw dropping'!"
- Jaws Attack Parody: This◊ Sunday strip banner featured a Jaws parody.
- Jaywalking Will Ruin Your Life: In one strip, it was implied that the police were after Jon for trying to redeem expired coupons at the supermarket.
- Jumping Out of a Cake: Garfield is not amused◊ to find a mouse jumping out of his birthday cake.
- In another strip◊, Garfield gets a cake for his birthday from the mice in the house. He gulps it down, then spits out a female mouse.
- Kent Brockman News: "The weatherman is losing it."◊
- "Here's the news! ...Uh! Gee, this is small print! Unfortunately, I can't see a thing without my glasses. So here's a song! Feeeeliiiiings..."
- Kick Me Prank: Jon came home looking dirty and beaten up, because someone apparently stuck a "Bury Me Alive" sign on his back.
- Kick the Dog: Garfield does this quite literally, and on a regular basis.
- Klatchian Coffee: Garfield's favorite kind. Gafield's coffee is so strong, it can even eat a donut... or the spoon(s) he uses to stir it.
- Laborious Laziness: Garfield is prone to this sort of thing. In the comic that provides the page quote, the lazy cat nails the TV to the ceiling above his cat bed so he can watch it without getting up. Think about how much effort it would've taken to hoist that television up there and then keep it in place while he nailed it there, and then think about how much effort it would've taken simply to get up and walk over to where the TV was.
- The Last Straw: Happens in this◊ Christmas strip, with an ornament. That strip is the trope page's image, too.
- Latex Perfection: Not done in the typical spy manner, but Garfield has enjoyed scaring people with rubber masks from time to time (usually Jon.)
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Parodied in one strip with "Grafield".
- Laxative Prank: Jon mentions this as one of the mean things that Garfield does to Mrs. Feeny.
- Least Rhymable Word: In one strip, Jon is trying to write a love poem. After a Beat Panel, he asks Garfield, "What rhymes with 'wolverine'?" and Garfield suggests "loser".
- Changed to "skunk" in the Spanish translation.
- Leaving Food For Santa: The comic used this a few times during its Christmas strips.
- In one early strip◊, Jon sets a hamburger and a glass of milk nearby the chimney, saying, "And here's something for jolly old Saint Nick." Garfield then rises from a present under the tree and begins eating it, saying, "Ho Ho Ho."
- One strip◊ shows Jon about to have some milk and cookies lying out. He then gets caught in a net booby trap, and Garfield comes over and angrily comments, "Hey! You're not Santa!"
- In another strip◊, Garfield leaves out a T-bone steak and a pot of coffee for Santa, because "A big fat guy who's driving all night doesn't want milk and cookies."
- In the Christmas Day 2001 strip◊, Garfield says that Santa is even nicer then he thought, because he left Garfield a cookie.
- The Christmas-themed book Seasons Eatings has a list of top 10 things Garfield would do if he replaced Santa. Among them is "Order kids to leave out a T-bone steak and curly fries for him instead of milk and cookies."
- The 12-12-2012 strip had Garfield emailing his wish list to Santa and promising to leave out plenty of cookies for him. Jon claims "You can't bribe Santa!", but at the North Pole the big guy is revealed to be excited about the promise...
- Legion of Lost Souls: Garfield ate a fish and tried to hide it by leaving a note at the fishbowl claiming the fish joined the French Foreign Legion.
- Lethal Chef: Jon is like this at times. In one early strip, Garfield says that "The only time he knows my dinner is ready is when it sets off the smoke alarm." There are other strips where he turns bacon into "bacon flambé" and otherwise proves a bad cook.
- Irma, or whoever cooks at her diner, is far worse, at times giving this Trope the potential to be literal. She once claimed that the chef was out sick with anthrax. There was also this tamer exchange:
Jon: What's good today, Irma?
(Irma says nothing)
Jon: What's edible today, Irma?
Irma: Try the meatloaf.
- Let's See You Do Better: There are many Garfield Comic Creators. Here's two of them.
- Lightbulb Joke: Deconstructed:
Garfield: Here's a joke, how many mice does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Mouse: Mice don't screw in light bulbs. Light bulbs are much too big and cumbersome, and not to mention that it's much safer for us to pilfer food in the dark.
- Limited Wardrobe: Jon almost always wore a "powder blue oxford shirt", as one strip put it. Averted nowadays both by the colorists being unable to make up their minds, and Jim and co. occasionally drawing Jon in a different style of shirt.
- Literal-Minded: Believing that "You can't know someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes", Jon's Uncle Forrest had three hundred pairs when they caught him. Garfield said "That's about a seven on the creepy scale".
- Loads and Loads of Loading: Garfield encounters this in a Christmas strip◊.
- Logging Onto The Fourth Wall: Dingleball.com◊ and coffeequick.com◊.
- Logic Bomb:
Today's the day I do nothing. Unless I'm mistaken. Though being mistaken would be something, not nothing. So if today's the day I do nothing, I can't be mistaken. Unless I'm mistaken.◊
- Loophole Abuse:
- Jon once scolded Garfield for burying Odie in sand at the beach. Garfield defended himself by pointing out that "I only buried him up to his knees." Which would be fine....if he hadn't been buried upside-down.
- "Ah, it says here carrots are on my diet. And his is a carrot cake. A loophole!"
- Jon tried to teach Garfield self-control. He left a box of kitty treats in the room Garfield was in, telling him not to take the kitty treats. He left the room, then reentered a short while later. Garfield took everything except the box.
- Even more audacious when Garfield was on another diet and Jon told him "You may have a salad." Garfield promptly helped himself to some pork chops, and when Jon called him out he claimed that no one had ever told him that pork chops were not a salad!
- And once again: "This salad needs something. I think I'll garnish it. With a ham!" *wham*
- Taken Up to Eleven in one strip where Jon put Garfield on a diet, saying he could eat anything he could sip through a straw. Garfield promptly sucked an entire chicken through said straw. ("Well, back to the drawing board," said Jon.
- And in another early strip, he put Garfield on a diet where he was only allowed one drumstick per day. Garfield was somehow able to find a butcher that sold pterodactyl drumsticks.
- Losing Your Head: A headless swamp monster doesn't scare Garfield more than his dish bowl being empty.
- Lost in Character: Parodied.
General on TV: Holy bovines, Corporal! There's a giant monster invading the city!
Soldier on TV: That's not a monster, sir.
General: What are you talking about? Call out the artillery!
Soldier: It's just a bad actor in a rubber suit.
General: Oh, it is not! It's a monster!
Soldier: Come on... I can see the zipper.
General: Egad! A zipper monster! That's the worst kind!
Soldier: And that's not a real city.
General: Insolence! I'll have you court-martialed!!
Soldier: These are just tiny little model buildings.
Garfield: General Cordwood seems to have buried himself in the part.
General: PUT MY HOUSE DOWN!!
- Lying Finger Cross: Garfield crossed his toes while making a promise.
- Magic Mirror: This strip:
Garfield: Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the...
Mirror: Wait... before you even get started... you're fat.
Garfield: Where's my brick?
- Mailman Vs. Cat: Played with, it's Garfield who harasses the mailman. He even lampshades the trope in an early strip asking "Why should dogs have all the fun?" Sometimes he just pulls harmless pranks while other times he sadistically attacks him or catches him in an elaborate booby trap. However, the mailman will occasionally get his revenge on Garfield.
- There's a paperboy who is rarely seen who attacks Garfield by just throwing his papers right at him and smacking him in the face. It's taken Up to Eleven when it's the Sunday paper.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: Garfield hired a dog to get rid of Nermal and use the trope. However, the dog found Nermal too cute to be harmed.
- The Man in the Mirror Talks Back: Used in this strip. Garfield walks in front of a mirror when his reflection says "Stop right there!" with a demanding tone and then compliments: "You are lookin' great today!" The original Garfield says "Back atcha!".
- Masochist's Meal: Occurs in a strip where Jon and Liz are at a restaurant:
Jon: Is your chili spicy?
Waiter: Not really.
Guest: (offscreen) GAAAHH! MY THROAT! MILK! ICE WATER! ALOE VERA!!!
Waiter: Unless you're a weenie...
Jon: Bring it on!
Jon: What's the special today?
Jon: Gimme the special!
Garfield: There's a gambler in the house!
- Meaningful Name: In a very early strip, Odie had an "accident" inside the house and is punished by Lyman. Garfield snarks that they should have called him "Spot" instead. (That was going to be the name of Odie, but it was changed due to there being a dog called that in the comic strip Boner's Ark.)
- Meat-O-Vision: Frequently during Garfield's diets.
- Medium Awareness: All the time.
- Meet Your Early Installment Weirdness: The page image comes from a 2003 arc in which (then-current) Garfield meets up with his 1978 self. Much lampshading ensued. The arc ends with Jon and Odie having similar experiences.
- Megaton Punch: Garfield has done this to Odie and Nermal, socking - or, more often, kicking both (figuratively) to the moon.
- Merchandise-Driven: The strip itself is designed solely to make money. And boy has it
- "Boy, am I bored. I'm so bored I have nothing better to do than lie here flat as a pancake. A big fluffy pancake dripping with butter and maple syrup... Boy, am I hungry."
- "Life is like a birdbath. It's made of concrete, filled with water, and uh... birds like to splash in it. Boy, that was dumb. Life isn't anything like a birdbath. Life... is like a sock monkey..."
- Midnight Snack: Often.
Garfield: I wonder if it's time for my midnight snack? (looks at clock) Hmmm... Eight P.M. Close enough.
- Mind Screw:
- The aforementioned Halloween 1989 arc, of course.
- The October 26, 1981 strip had nothing but Garfield sleeping for all three panels, no doubt leaving many readers outright baffled when it first appeared in papers. It makes much more sense when read in the books, where the next day's strip completes the gag.
- Misfortune Cookie: Referenced in the April 10, 2002 strip◊.
Jon: Still eating, Garfield? Soon your stomach will grow large and you will explode.
Garfield: He's like an evil fortune cookie.
- Moment Killer: Ever since Jon and Liz got together, Garfield and Odie would stop at nothing to do this.
- Motionless Makeover: In the February 27, 1996 strip, Jon's back gives out and Garfield puts a cloth and potted plant on Jon.
- Mouse Hole: Mice in this comic have these.
- Mundane Utility: "The computer is a wonderful thing. For instance, if I turn it off I can see an excellent reflection of myself."◊
- Mushroom Samba: One censored comic which only appears as a rough sketch in the 25th anniversary book, features a half asleep Garfield as he watches a periscope emerge from his water dish, followed by a tentacle. Garfield then smiles and says, "Man, that was some gooooooood catnip!"
- Mustache Vandalism: Garfield does this to a picture of Jon◊, and when Jon demands for Garfield to fix it, Garfield draws a mustache on Jon's face as well.
Garfield: "I just drew a mustache on every picture of Jon in the house!"
Jon (shows up): "I just drew a mustache on my face!"
- Must Have Caffeine: Garfield sure◊ likes◊ coffee◊. (and he likes it strong)
- My Friends... and Zoidberg:
Jon: Santa will be here soon with presents for everyone who's been good.
Garfield: And me!
Jon: And you.
- My Grandma Can Do Better Than You: A Show Within a Show featured a character mocking a monster's slowness by claiming "My Grandmother could outrun that mon-" "EEEK!" "Um... check that".
- Negative Continuity: To some extent.
- Never My Fault: Garfield's typical form of "self-chastisement". Quite amusing some of the time.
- New Year's Resolution: Garfield decided not to sleep more than eight hours a day. Upon calculation, he told Jon to wake him up on May, 3rd.
- No Fourth Wall: The fourth wall came crashing down on the first day and never went back up:
Jon: Our only thought is to entertain you.
Garfield: Feed me.
- Noir Episode: Babes and Bullets, one of the segments in Garfield: His 9 Lives. Wasn't included in the animated version but was adapted into a stand-alone TV special the following year.
- Parodied in a Sunday Strip — the atmosphere is quickly ruined when Odie appears in a clown suit, and Garfield says "I was this close to making my big dramatic debut."
- No More for Me: In this strip, Garfield pours his coffee right back into the pot upon witnessing a spider he just stomped being taken away by an ambulance.
- No Mouth: Garfield's teddy bear Pooky had one, but as per Art Evolution he lost it (10-6-1981◊ and 2-7-1982◊ being the last strips to depict him with a mouth). Since then, at least two◊ strips◊ relied on the fact that Pooky had no mouth.
- Noodle Implements: For some reason, Jon was running inside the house without his pants telling Garfield he needed a belt, a fishbowl and a fire extinguisher.
- Noodle Incident: Anything that Garfield himself does to Mrs. Feeny.
- Nonsense Classification: Garfield states the four basic food groups are meat, vegetable, dairy and catsup.
- Nose Nuggets: Garfield spends the first panel picking his nose◊. After a Beat Panel, he looks out to the viewer and says, "I'm on, aren't I?"
- Jon's been caught with his finger up his nose twice: The first time, he was assembling a model airplane and got glue on his hands ("I have to go to the hospital now"), while the second saw Garfield, acting as a director, telling Jon to play the part of "a pitiful goofball" — right on cue, Jon's fingers got stuck up his nose.
- No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: In-universe, Odie loves any kind of attention as long as it's attention◊.
- Not Allowed to Grow Up: Nermal has been around since the strip's second year, but is still referred to as the "World's Cutest Kitten." Garfield sometimes inquires how he stays the same, and at various points we've learned that he's a midget who's had anti-aging therapy and had extensive plastic surgeries◊. The coffee and cigarettes help too.
- "Not Wearing Pants" Dream: 1991-12-01, during which Jon announces at the United Nations that he can't get a date to save his life.
- Nothing Is the Same Anymore: In July 2006, after 27 years of constant failures, Jon finally managed to get together with Liz and they've been in a relationship ever since.
- Not Me This Time: Somebody threw away all of Jon's shirts except one that reads "I (heart sign) cats". Believing Garfield to be responsible, Jon threw him outside, where Odie, wearing a shirt, has a malicious smile.
- Not-So-Imaginary Friend: Clive◊. This is also an example of a Brick Joke, as it came seven years after the week-long arc that introduced Clive.
- Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep: One strip◊ shows Jon starting the prayer, but he stops because he hears Garfield open the refrigerator door.
- Nutritional Nightmare: This◊ strip had Garfield eat a slice of toast with a whole stick of butter on it, much to Jon's disgust.
- Obvious Object Could Be Anything: In a 1995 strip, Odie is shown shaking a wrapped bone, then wondering what it could be.
- Oddball in the Series: In general, the daily strips were carefully designed to have at least 3 panels, occasionally more (i.e. the later strips of the Halloween 1989 arc). The three exceptions are an original strip at the end of Garfield at Large, an original strip at the beginning of Garfield Gains Weight, and the 2014-12-23 strip.
- Off Model: From about September 2000◊ to January 2001◊, the art was a little more jagged and pointy (look at Garfield's ears and mouth in particular).
- Also, between March 2005◊ and January 2006◊, Garfield's ears were shrunken drastically.
- A particularly jarring example of off-model Garfield in that timespan here◊.
- And in this April 2006 strip, Jon's entire face was rather off model.
- In this October 2010 strip, Garfield and Jon look very off-model.
- The August 12, 1989 strip looks unusually off-model for the period. No other strips of the time had Garfield and/or Odie drawn in such a way.
- Offstage Villainy: Garfield's constant harassment of his neighbors.
- Oh, Crap: Garfield gives this facial expression a lot. See the "zippers" strip above as an example.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Garfield likes to stomp spiders and hates when Jon beats him to it. However, when Liz did it, he told Jon to marry her.
- Or Was It a Dream?: In this strip, Garfield has a dream in which he's about to kick Odie off the table, only for Odie to snap at him "Don't even think about it!". Then Garfield wakes up, sees Odie and goes to kick him for real...only for Odie to turn around and glare at him.
- Overly Long Gag: Many Sunday strips are padded out to the maximum seven panels, when they could just as easily work in three.
- Overly-Long Scream: Jon does one in a 1992 strip that takes up the top of every single panel. In the last panel, we see it's because he had enough Christmas lights to decorate the entire outside and inside of the house, but ran out of cord inches before he could plug it in.
- Overly-Nervous Flop Sweat: Happens to Jon in one strip after Liz tells him whatever he decides to get her will be just perfect.
- Painting the Medium: Bugs "speak" in smaller letters, except in Sunday strips.
- Pants-Free: Jon.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: In the educational webtoons, Garfield's Professor G disguise just consists of him putting on glasses.
- After getting caught trying to eat a pizza, Garfield disguised himself as the pizza. Jon didn't fall for it.
- Paranoia Gambit: "Just playing with your paranoia."◊
- Paying Their Dues: Garfield says this is what his fence act is.
- Picky Eater:
- Garfield does NOT like raisins.
- Squeak, once seeing a mousetrap, tells Garfield, "A nice Camembert or a creamy Brie would be well worth going in after...but that Processed American Cheese is an insult to my palate!"
- The Picture Came With The Frame: "Only Jon would carry around the picture of the girl that came with the wallet."◊
- Pie in the Face: The "Splut!" pies, which make that noise when they hit Garfield.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Those who have been around long enough will know that Jon is supposedly a cartoonist. It was mentioned in the first strip, and his drawing board was seen in some early strips. The only times it's been mentioned after that is the storyline in 1984, where Jon goes to a cartoonists' convention and Liz describing Jon to her parents in the May 2, 2010 strip. That's right; his job went unmentioned in the strip for twenty-six years.
- In the TV series his job is a focus of several episodes. And one of the comic book stories involve him trying to come up with a new comic book idea.
- Place Worse Than Death: Garfield has often tried to get rid of Nermal by mailing him to Abu Dhabi.
- Pluto Is Expendable: "The planetarium called... Your stomach is replacing Pluto as the ninth planet!"◊
- Political Correctness Gone Mad: A 2010 strip both parodied and ridiculed this trend, with a TV show featuring cowboys solving their disagreements by playing tag.
- Pop the Tires: Garfield, in one strip, slashed the tires on a donut truck in order to eat its contents.
- Posthumous Collaboration: The calendar and merchandise line Garfield Visits Rockwell, which adds Garfield to some of Norman Rockwell's Saturday Evening Post covers.
- Potty Emergency: "He'll find out how bored I am if I don't get to a litter box soon."◊
- Pounds Are Animal Prisons: A 1981 story arc had Garfield being sent to the city pound, which was portrayed this way. (He escapes when Fluffy, another cat there, smashes him through the wall) It was even parodied in one of the strips:
(the gate slams)
Garfield: How did I get into this fix? One minute I'm free as a bird, then I'm in the city pound. Where did I go wrong? I'm just a number here, I've almost forgotten what it's like on the outside. It's not right to cage a wild animal! These four walls are closing in on me! I can't take it anymore!
Cat: You've only been here two minutes.
Garfield: I know, but this is my first shot at a prison scene.
- Precision F-Strike: Davis got a lot of letters for having Garfield say "sucked" in a 1990 strip; this was the only time that word ever appeared in it.
- Precious Puppy: Odie. In Kaboom Garfield #14, Odie was even called adorable twice.
- Produce Pelting: Happens frequently to Garfield when he's singing on the fence. He once had a watermelon thrown at him.
- A watermelon? Psh. Remember Booga-Booga's wonderful scout troop? Only bloody currency is GIANT STONE WHEELS.
- Projectile Toast: Seen quite often:
- November 19, 1982, as the result of Garfield hating the toaster.
- August 21, 1994, as the result of Jon "fixing" the toaster...
- October 28, 2003 gives us a toaster that hates Jon. And it turns out to be possessed by an evil spirit.
- Inverted on August 10, 1986, where Jon turns the toaster upside-down to prevent Garfield from stealing the toast. The toaster becomes projectile and smacks Garfield in the head.
- Prophecy Twist: This strip: Garfield read this from a fortune cookie fortune: "Today you will be whisked away to a large white building where all you have to do is lie in bed all day as lots of people pay attention to you and bring you food". As Garfield said it sounded "too good to be true", he failed to notice he was about to fall from the table.
- Protagonist Title
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: In the August 4th 2013 comic, Garfield does this to Liz for a snack...and she does it right back at him. Garfield's response? He gives HIS food to her and tells Jon "She's good."
- Raised by Wolves: In a week long Garfield storyline Jon fell in love with a woman in a rec center who had been raised by wolves, as it turns out she had only been in civilization for a week and she had tendencies like scratching her head with her foot, messily devouring her food, trying to bite off her foot when her shoe was too tight, and howling at the moon.
- Garfield once met a cat (Ed) who was raised by squirrels. Before they met, Ed didn't know the meaning of "ground". And neither his "mother" did. Ed has the habit of storing birds for winter. When the tree branch where Ed and Garfield were stiing on fell, Ed had the first chance to walk "sideways". Odie was the first dog Ed ever met and Garfield explained to him cats were supposed to fear dogs albeit Garfield doesn't remember why.
- Jon's cousin Earl after being accidentally left at a rest stop. He went missing for years and eventually sent a postcard claiming to "have acquired a taste for small game".
- Rake Take:
- A Rare Sentence: Jon and Garfield are eating salad when Jon says, "Hmmm, interesting lettuce." After a Beat Panel, Garfield says, "There's a phrase you don't hear every day."
- Relationship Upgrade: Liz has gone from occasionally and begrudgingly dating Jon to his full-fledged (and willing) girlfriend.
- Relax-o-Vision: This strip◊.
- Remember the New Guy: Jon's aunt Gussie. Also most of Garfield's family, who appeared only in one week of strips and Here Comes Garfield without ever being mentioned again (except for his mom, who showed up in one other strip).
- Repeat After Me: Garfield uses Odie as a ventriloquist's dummy to make this exchange: "Say hello to the people, dummy." "Hello to the people, dummy."
- Repeating so the Audience Can Hear: Often done with Jon's phone conversations with Ellen.
- Repetitive Audio Glitch: This◊ strip.
- Retcon: Two big ones. Odie was originally Lyman's dog, and Nermal was originally Jon's parents' kitten. Now the former is treated as if he were Jon's all along, and the latter is just a neighborhood cat who wanders in to torment Garfield.
- Retroactive Wish: Garfield was sick of his hiccups and wished they'd just disappear. After they did, Garfield claimed to be sick of Odie.
- Garfield demanded respect. When Jon showed up saying he respected garfield, Garfield smacked himself saying he could have demanded a pizza.
- Reverse Psychology: When Jon told Garfield to go away, Garfield dared Jon to make him do it. Jon then told Garfield to stay and Garfield left.
- Earlier, Jon tried to use it to keep Garfield from clawing a couch. It backfired.
Garfield: Reverse reverse psychology.
- Riddle for the Ages: When Jon got stuck on a wall and asked for Garfield's help, he told Garfield not to ask how it happened.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Nermal
- Ridiculously Loud Commercial: This strip, which includes a Snuggie reference.
- Road Trip Episode: Garfield and Jon (and sometimes Odie) often embark on Type 1s and 2s.
- Rodents of Unusual Size: Garfield has, more than once, faced a mouse bigger than he was.
- Rouge Angles of Satin: Every now and then.
- Rubber Man: "I forgot how far cats can stretch."◊
- Rule of Three: After finding the Italian restaurant where he was born: "It's all gone! Where's the pasta? The people? The pasta? The excitement? The pasta?"
- Also: "Decorations, presents, caroling, presents, mistletoe and presents. Six things I love about Christmas."
- Running Gag: Kicking Odie, Mondays, spiders, Spluts. Although the Spluts haven't appeared since the mid-1990s. Later years have 'beware of dog' signs.
- Sadist Show: Almost all of the humor in the strip comes from inflicted pain on the characters (usually Jon):
Garfield: Life is funny.
(Garfield laughs at Jon, who has fallen down the stairs and is lying in a heap.)
Garfield: For some of us.
- Santa Claus: He occasionally◊ appears◊ during◊ Christmas◊. He can be bribed.
- Say My Name: Used often with Garfield.
- Scared of What's Behind You: One Sunday strip featured Garfield going to a zoo, getting into a lion cage, and roleplaying his fantasy of what it would be like if he were a wild animal. At one point he takes a swipe at some patrons, and congratulates himself when they're scared. He does this not noticing the gigantic lion now sitting behind him... currently supplies the page image.
- Self-Deprecation: In-Universe in this strip: A TV show's host loves hosting it because it means not having to watch it. Garfield wished to be the host.
- After laying dominant for twenty-four years, Jon's cartoonist job was used to deliver one, with a strip where both of Liz's parents hyperventilate in a paper bag after Liz tells them about it.
- Serious Business: Triple-Coupon Day.
- Sewer Gator: Parodied in a strip, where Garfield falls into a sewer and meets up with a giant alligator that was in the sewer, along with a canary and a goldfish that have also become giant after ending up in the sewer.
- Shameful Shrinking: Happens to Jon in this◊ strip.
- Shame If Something Happened: Garfield uses this as extortion to get Jon's steak.
- Shaped Like Itself: "The more you learn… the more you, um… learn."
- Shout-Out: The logo boxes in Sunday strips featured many, including ones to Star Trek, The Honeymooners, The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, The Three Musketeers, The Flintstones, The Phantom of the Opera, Laurel and Hardy, Fantastic Four, Wheel of Fortune, and The Andy Griffith Show. More recent ones depicted him as Harry Potter', Sponge Bob Square Pants and the Nyan Cat
- The logo box to this strip◊ depicts the American Express "do you know me?" ad in which Jim Davis appeared.
- How many comic book kids can you recognize in the title box of the October 30, 2005 strip?
- There's◊ quite◊ a◊ few◊ to◊ Peanuts.
- There is a Krazy Kat background image on the wall in this strip◊.
- In the April 25, 1983◊ strip, Garfield says Old Yeller is his all-time favorite movie, because "I love movies with happy endings."
- In February 2, 2011, Garfield said Odie needed to look more menancing. Odie then put on a hockey mask.
- In May 13, 2012's logo box, Garfield was chasing one of the Angry Birds.
- In September 12, 1981, Jon woke up to Garfield wearing his(Jon's) reading glasses. Garfield explained it was "all the better to scare you with, my dear".
- Jon said "last night's date was like a fairy tale". She ran away from the restaurant at midnight and left a steel-toed work boot. Garfield suggested going to the foundry to find who it fitted.
- Jon was in an "artistic mood" and wanted to start painting. When he asked where to start, Garfield suggested him to "cut off an ear".
- The same event was refernced in a another strip, where Jon reads about it and wonders what he an cut of. Garfield suggests "that last shred of dignity".
- The ghost of hamburgers past showed up to show Garfield the error of his ways. Garfield ate it and said it "needed more of the ghost of ketchup past".
- Odie's inner tube looks like Wade's without the duck face.
- Several to Mickey Mouse, enough for a compilation.
- Show, Don't Tell: Averted pretty hard. Davis has a tendency to set up elaborate gags which are only expressed verbally.
- Show Within a Show: Garfield's fence act.
- Side Effects Include...: Parodied in this◊ strip.
- Sir Verb-A-Lot: Jon and Garfield play a medieval themed vídeo game where Jon likes to play as a character named "Sir Whines-a-Lot". Needless to say, he starts whining when he doesn't get to be him.
- Skewed Priorities: Jon was buying a cake when three midgets wearing gorilla costumes burned the place and ran off with the cash register. The detail Garfield wanted to know about: the flavor of the frosting.
- Sore Loser: Jon reading this letter from his brother: "Maddie Ferguson's pie took first place at the fair so Mom burned her barn down".
- Sound Defect: Every so often. For example, in one strip, the doorbell only goes "ding-". The person at the door? A man from Ed's Dong Repair.
- The Speechless: Odie, most of the time. Once, he said "I'm hungry" through Thought Bubble Speech like Garfield, and in Garfield and Friends, he sometimes "barked" short words.
- Sphere Eyes: Suprisingly, they were gained through Art Evolution.
- Spiders Are Scary: One running gag involves Garfield swatting spiders.
- Squirrels in My Pants: In this strip◊, Jon gets a gopher in his pants. Again.
- Start My Own: A cat hair left Garfield to start his own cat. Upon getting caught by Jon's vacuum cleaner, he said they didn't tell about that in business school.
- Stealth Pun: This strip's splash panel has Garfield sleeping on a music staff. In a measure that has a rest in it.
- Stock Shout-Out: Super Pooky.
- Stock Yuck:
- Stout Strength: Subverted by Garfield. In one strip, while Jon is flexing in front of the mirror and complementing himself on his muscles, Garfield immediately flexes what looks like his own immensely powerful muscles. Jon stares at him in shock as Garfield walks away, explaining that he simply "flexed his fat".
- Garfield did it again in another strip when he ran into Arlene. She continued to stand and watch in amusement, as Garfield struggled to keep up his flexing:
Garfield: Uh...don't you have somewhere you gotta be?
Arlene: And miss seeing how long you can hold that pose?
- Played straight in another strip where Jon and Garfield begin poking each other with sticks and ordering each other to do things. The sticks keep getting bigger until Garfield finally uproots an entire tree and brings it into the kitchen to try and poke Jon with, until he finally tires out and the tree squishes him.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: When Jon told Ellen his life was meaningless without her, Garfield said it's meaningless anyway. Then we learned Ellen thought the same. Garfield said "Great minds think alike".
- Strip Archive: Every single strip ever is available to read for free on their website. Also, a website allows you to search every single strip (the interface is in Estonian, but the search and transcripts are English.)
- Strong Ants: Garfield was about to take a nap when some ants appeared and he feared they'd carry him away. One of the ants said they'd need heavy machinery.
- Stuffed into a Trashcan: Nermal, at least once.
- Stuffed into a Locker: Wally Sneedhocker used to stuff Jon in the school locker. He became an undertaker.
- Suddenly Shouting: In an early strip:
Jon: Be careful there, Garfield. Hanging on the drapes can be very painful. 'CAUSE I'M GONNA BREAK YOUR LEGS IF YOU DON'T GET OFF THEM THIS INSTANT!
- He also does it again in this one:
Jon: Some dirty, rotten, low-down, slimy, filthy, disgusting, gluttonous, hog STOLE MY SUPPER!
- Supreme Chef: Jon's mother, especially when it comes to baking pies and preparing potatoes. She once prepared a meal with eight kinds of potatoes (her personal best). In fact, eating is one of the two things Garfield actually likes to do at the farm. (The other is leaving.)
- Sure, Let's Go with That: A woman at a park called Jon "Disgusting". Jon and Garfield each claimed she was talking about the other. When Jon suggested she was talking about herself, Garfield said "Let's go with that".
- Surprise Jump: This happens to Jon several times, usually when Garfield scares him.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: "Fib alert! You can't believe Odie! No matter what he says, I did not paint him green! And it wasn't with a two inch horsehair brush!"
- In this one, Garfield didn't eat "one of those birds that looks kind of like a sparrow, but isn't". He forgot what they're called.
- Symbol Swearing: One strip had Garfield watching an Uncle Roy episode where he goes to a factory. When Uncle Roy gets too close to a machine, he says "Turn this #%^$ thing off!".
- This is what happens when Garfield's lips get stuck to popsicle.
- This occured two other times: This comic◊ where Garfield angrily cusses after a leg cramp forces him to get out of bed, and this one◊ where a woman on a knitting TV show cusses after dropping a stitch. Garfield lampshades it in the latter instance by commenting "Grandma's a colorful old gal".
- Take Our Word for It: Garfield's and Jon's reactions upon seeing the picture of Doc's girlfriend.
- Talking Animal: Although the animals only think. Well, there is and early strip where it seemed Garfield was talking but it was Lyman pulling a prank on Jon.
- The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Liz left Jon a message at his cell phone confirming their date and asking him to leave the accordion at home. In fact, he was with the accordion while listening to the message.
- Tastes Like Diabetes: Parodied in one strip where a scene of Pooky next to a flower quickly evolves into a mass of cute animals.
Woah, that's even too much for me...
- Temporal Paradox: To celebrate the strip's 25th anniversary, they ran an arc where 1978!Garfield meets 2003!Garfield. 1978!Jon and 1978!Odie also show up alongside their 2003 counterparts at the end.
- Tempting Fate: At the beach, Jon tried to get the attention of a girl by screaming "Shark!". He was trampled by everyone who ran away out of fear, was slapped by the girl and, when he said things couldn't get worse, a shark appeared.
- That Cloud Looks Like:
Garfield: Which one?
- Garfield once found one that resembled Odie: the same ears, the same stupid expression. When it started to rain, he commented that it also had "the same slobber."
- There's No "B" in Movie: Most films that Garfield watches.
- There Was a Door: Tired of the mess Garfield and Odie were making, Jon opened the door and told them to go outside. They jumped through the window. Berating his pets, Jon told them to use the door next time. Unfortunately, since it was closed then, they broke it while reentering.
- There's one strip in which Jon calls Garfield to dinner. Garfield comes bounding up to Jon from off panel. Jon says, "I appreciate your promptness, Garfield...." and finishes in the last panel, "... but next time, OPEN THE DOOR!", revealing that Garfield broke through the (closed) door. Could be justified in that Garfield is a cat and can't work a doorknob, but....
- There's also one where he comes through the pet door, but gets stuck inside because he's too fat and thus rips the normal door from its hinges anyway. Also, he repeatedly kicked Nermal out the front door without opening it first.
- And there's another wherein he smashes the front door down and says, "When I want in, I want in NOW!"
- Happens in yet another strip◊ when Jon yells "FIRE!" to test his pets' fire drill knowledge. Both run straight through the wall — or, rather, we assume they did, thanks to the hole.
- This Is My Human: Garfield refers to Jon as "his cartoonist" in the very first strip and considers himself to be superior to Jon in every way imaginable (and thus treats Jon accordingly).
- This Is no Time to Panic: This comic strip. Jon Arbuckle was desperate about his age because he found a gray hair. Garfield told him not to panic. When Jon said it was in his ear, Garfield replied "Okay, panic".
- This Just In: Garfield gives us the page quote from this parody◊.
- This Loser Is You: Jon, although this wasn't a big part of the comic until the nineties.
- Thought Bubble Speech
- Threatening Sharks: Jon, reading the warning on Garfield's new flea collar: "While this collar will repel fleas, it has been known to attract sharks."
- The Three Certainties in Life: One strip had a variant, "Death, taxes, and teddy bears. Three things you can always count on."
- They Don't Make Them Like They Used To: In this comic strip, Garfield tried to climb a tree but it fell through. His comment: "They don't make trees like they used to."
- In this one, he broke a ming vase and said "Ming, schming. They don't make'm like they used to."
- Timmy in a Well: Repeatedly parodied.
- Tongue on the Flagpole: A variation. Odie gets his tongue stuck on a frozen fire hydrant. The strip then shows six panels' worth of outstretched Odie tongue, leading to Garfield saying, "We need a blow dryer and a really, really long extension cord."
- Jon once got his tongue stuck on the mailbox, but it wasn't seen.
- The Tonsillitis Episode: Happened to Jon in April 1988.
- Too Incompetent to Operate a Blanket: Occurs in this strip for "Honko's Chain Mail Body Sock".
- Trademark Favorite Food: Garfield eats everything except raisins and spinach, but he prefers lasagna. He's also very fond of pizza, to the point that he considers the pizza delivery boy his best friend.
- Trapped in TV Land: The Garfield and Friends episodes "The Lasagna Zone" and "T.V. of Tomorrow", the video game Garfield: Caught in the Act, and The Garfield Show episode "Virtualodeon".
- Tremor Trampoline: In a couple of strips, Garfield is able to bend the panel with his weight, and another has him bouncing on a hardwood floor. In an early one, Garfield even manages to flip Jon's chair over just by jumping!
Jon: Diet time.
- Trivially Obvious: In this strip, Jon says: "Odie, you're such a good boy! And Garfield, you're such a... such a... cat."
Garfield: A "good boy" would kill you, wouldn't it?
- Uncatty Resemblance: Jon and Garfield commented on this trope, with pets who look increasingly (and more absurdly) like their owners. This culminated with some guy who looked like a man in a bird suit and his pet canary. Another strip had Jon sitting down to eat dinner with Garfield, which they both began gobbling up in perfect sync. The strip ends with Jon realizing he has to get away from Garfield when they eat.
- Uncle Sam Wants You: A Garfield strip featured A sign with Binky saying "I want you. Join the circus" and making an Uncle Sam pose.
- Unnamed Parent: Jon's parents. Also, Garfield's mother, who appeared in a series of strips in 1984.
- Unsound Effect: For a rather unconventional example, whenever a hammer is being used, the sound effect is usually "hammer" instead of "bang." Others include "unscrew" for the top of a saltshaker being unscrewed, and "plug" for Christmas lights being plugged in.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Garfield is all over this trope.
- Vaudeville Hook: Garfield has been hooked off the fence a few times. Once, during a Christmas week, an oversized candy cane was used as one.
- Vengeful Vending Machine: The Soda Pop machine from one strip. It works fine until Garfield tries putting more coins in to get more soda cans, after which a huge can crushes him.
- Verb This!: Jon had to free-float this and forget that.
- Visual Pun: This strip featured Frank, a friend of Jon's, meeting Garfield for the first time and rubbing him. Garfield reacted violently and stated "Some people rub me the wrong way".
- Volumetric Mouth: The side-view variant is used quite often.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Garfield's reaction to finding out that he had eaten octopus was to spit it all back out (on Jon, no less) and then remark that it wasn't half bad.
- Wanting Is Better Than Having: Garfield on the pursuit of mice: "It's not the having, it's the getting."
- Way Past the Expiration Date: In one strip, Jon claims that he looked danger right in the face and laughed. Garfield then lets the readers know that Jon drank milk that was past the expiration date.
- Went to the Great X in the Sky: A spider wants to take revenge for his grandfather whom, as he says, Garfield sent to "that big web in the sky".
- What Happened to the Mouse?: One strip has a blind date of Jon's named Gwen, who dresses as absurdly as he does on dates and finds him cute. Garfield even says "God made two of them!" Although she would have been a good recurring character, perhaps as a Distaff Counterpart of Jon, she was never mentioned again.
- What's a Henway?:
Jon: Garfield, do you know there's a mouse in the garbage?
Garfield: I think so... (singing) Oh, there's a mouse in the garbage, and I don't care...
- What's an X Like You Doing in a Y Like This?: You could say that Garfield inverted this one.
Garfield: What's a girl like you doing in a place like this?
Arlene: But this is a nice place.
Garfield: Like I said... What's a girl like YOU doing in a place like THIS?
- When I Was Your Age: When he was Jon's age, Jon's Dad was already married and had a kid. Jon's reply ("Yeh, me") prompted him to state it was a good argument but he still thought Jon should get married.
- When the Clock Strikes Twelve: In this strip, Garfield is using Jon's butter as fast as he can because it expires at midnight.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Garfield's town is never specified, except on animated special Garfield Goes Hollywood it's Muncie, Indiana (Jim Davis' residence since 1963 and Paws, Inc.'s HQ).
- William Telling: The protagonist being the glutton that he is misses intentionally so that he can eat the apple afterwards.
- Wire Dilemma: Parodied here:
Woman on TV: Bob, we've only got 3 seconds before the bomb explodes! Cut the red wire, not the green one!
Man on TV: Bernice, there's something I've always wanted to tell you…
Woman on TV: Yes?
Man on TV: I'm color-blind.
Garfield: Bye-bye, Bob and Bernice.
- Word Schmord: Labor Day, Shmabor Day◊, and Ming, Shming◊.
- World of Snark: Garfield's the most prominent snarker, but just about everyone gets plenty of turns.
- World of Pun: They are very, VERY, rare, but they◊ are◊ there◊. Davis stopped doing them because he wanted the strip to translate internationally.
- Worth It: Garfield asked an alarm-o-clock what time it was and it said it couldn't know because it wasn't wearing a watch. Garfield broke it and it said "It was worth it".
- Would Hit a Girl: Garfield once, knocked Arlene out by throwing Odie at her.
- Written Sound Effect: "SPLUT!" is the sound that a pie makes when it hits Garfield's face, although some other foods go "SPLOT!" instead. "Dingle" is also used for Odie's toy balls with bells in them. Also, "GOOSH!" is quite commonly used for wet splats.
- Wrote the Book: April 21, 1990.
TV: Viewers, are you lethargic? Then let us help you.
Garfield: No thanks. I wrote the book on lethargy.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: An alarm clock induced Garfield into dreaming he was locked inside a pasta factory. Then, as Garfield was seconds away from the greatest feast in history, the alarm clock rang.
- Yawn and Reach: Jon tries doing this with Liz at the movies, only for her to "ahem" him away. He then leans on Garfield, who also gives him an "ahem."
- You All Look Familiar: Non-video-game example; the Recurring Character Squeak looks just like any other mouse in the strip, and it's not often that he's explicitly named as such. Currently, the last strip in which he is named is on June 16, 1997◊.
- You and What Army?: In this strip, Garfield asked that question when Jon said he'd give Garfield a bath.
- You Are Fat: Most often said by the scale or Jon to Garfield.
- You Didn't See That: Used a couple times.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: This strip◊ features a pink haired girl, and this one◊ has a purple haired one.
- You Just Had to Say It: In one of the Garfield comic strip's rare strings of positive continuity, Garfield, Odie and Jon are on a camping trip which has been plagued with calamities.
Jon: This camping trip's been a total disaster. The wind blew our food everywhere, the ants ate my cherry pie...
Garfield: No, Jon! Don't say it!
Jon: What else could go wrong?