He can't. What are you talking about? He usually only gets the gist from Garfield's gestures.
I've figured for some time that Davis occasionally writes strips without realizing that they only make sense if Garfield was actually speaking his thoughts. Any time he counters with a strip specifically stating that Garfield doesn't talk, he's reminding himself more than us.
There was at least one strip (can't find it right now) where Garfield thought something, and in the same panel Jon shouted from outside the frame "I heard that!" Quite spooky. While that is by far one of the best examples of their communication, that's not the only time Jon's said things that would have only made sense if he could see what Garfield was thinking - during the whole of the 1980s and the early 1990s especially, he and Garfield would have loads of interactions that implied that Jon can hear Garfield.
Perhaps the most explicit example of this happening is this strip.◊
Old Lady: Okay, you have me. Do with me what you will.
Garfield: Let's kill her.
Jon: Shut up, Garfield.
I think the implication is just that Jon knows his cat well enough to know exactly what he's thinking. An early strip had Jon respond to Garfield's thought-bubble quip with "I get the distinct feeling I've just been zinged", and it's just grown from there, to the point that Jon seems like he can "hear" Garfield's thoughts when he's really just making very good guesses. Sort of like a real-time version of The Tape Knew You Would Say That.
Because the strip has No Fourth Wall? Come on. The fourth wall was gone on the first day.
It was stated in this strip◊ that Jon can't hear Garfield, yet strips like◊ these clearly show Jon hearing Garfield. Therefore, the rule seems to be that Jon can only hear Garfield when it's funny for Jon to hear Garfield.
What happened to the funny Garfield of my childhood? This isn't the "Nostalgia Filter" talking here (I hate that term anyway), Garfield, the character and the strip itself, were really different before and during my childhood. I cringe whenever I see Jon described as a Cloudcuckoolander because when I was growing up, Garfield was the Cloudcuckoolander, Jon was the Straight Man. At first Garfield was just doing those crazy things cats do, but later on he got more of an imagination. He would take on alter egos such as The Caped Avenger, Banana Man, Amoeba Man, etc. He would dress up in fruit or pretend to be a sumo wrestler. And there were so many more sight gags back then than there are now. Sometime after the animated version ended, it started becoming what it is today: a bland comic about a cat insulting his pathetic owner (Garfield has always insulted Jon, but like I said, there used to be more to the strip than that). The reason Garfield Minus Garfield and other variations on the theme work is because Jon became the entertaining one. My question is: Why and how did this happen? Did Jim Davis think that after Garfield and Friends ended that kids wouldn't be interested in the title character anymore, so he stopped making him interesting? Or did he just run out of ideas? I know I'm asking a lot about a strip that was just made to make money... but it was much, much more clever once.
I agree, and here's my theory on the subject: It's because Jim Davis can get away with it. At first, he had to really work to make money off Garfield, meaning he actually had to put great jokes in. After Garfield and Friends was made, he realised that he had a Cash Cow Franchise that won't die, so he can chuck in whatever crap he likes. Jim Davis was in it for the money, and he got it.
To be fair, Jon shows occasional bouts of competency nowadays, and Garfield still has a foiled plan now and then (though much more rarely than in the past).
This Troper's theory is that there Davis began to run out of ideas after awhile and fell into a rut. But she agrees, the earlier comics were much funnier and the newer ones almost seem downright cruel at times.
Seconded. When I archive binged Garfield in 8th grade, things got worse around the turn of the century, and I always put it to this.
For the past ten years I have thought Garfield had started to suck when Jim Davis died and somebody else took over writing it! I only just found our right now when I looked up Jim Davis on Wikipedia to check the dates that it's not true!
Here's an overly-detailed theory: Garfield's current age is more than twice the normal lifespan of his species. As such, he has aged to the point that he can no longer physically partake in - or even complete the mental processes required to dream up - the wacky escapades he used to put on. In his impaired physical and mental state, he is no longer capable of doing very much beyond eating, sleeping, and degrading others. Jon, on the other hand, has spent so many years in isolation and endured so much mental anguish from repeated failures to engage in social affairs with members of the opposite sex that his sanity has gradually slipped away, taking with it his basic knowledge and perception of the world around him (hence his incompetence at daily tasks and utter lack of good judgment). This could be why Garfield has become the Straight Man and Jon is now the Cloud Cuckoolander. If you want to think about it on a deep level, that is...
I tip my hat to you, sir or madam. Genius.
Well, Jim Davis got much much older. He was 33 when he began the strip but now is 65.
Jim retired from drawing the strip around the 90's and handed it over to assistants at PAWS inc. About then was when the strip stopped being funny.
What's been up with Garfield and Arlene lately? They seemed to be something of Belligerent Sexual Tension when Arlene was a regular, but after this strip, she didn't appear for nine years, and now that she finally returned, Garfield actually seems to be denying she's his girlfriend! The sad thing is, before she was (inadvertently?) written out, they actuallyseemedlike an Official Couple! Again, I must ask: What the heck, Jim Davis? Garfield and Arlene should be the Official Couple, not Jon and Liz!
He found Penelope? Less likely to sass him and more likely to give him a large Italian dinner? The choice is obvious.
She still shows up in some of the newer animated specials as his love interest. Doesn't explain her absence in the strip, though...
If ever you cared about Arlene and Garfield as a couple then I suggest you get Garfield Gets Real, Garfield's Funfest, and Garfield's Pet Force. Jim Davis is finally admitting that they work together as a couple, with their scenes together being the highlight of these new movies for me. The first one especially centered around how much Arlene cares for Garfield, and that and the latter two show how much Garfield is willing to actually sacrifice for Arlene. Only Garfield's Judgement Day, where Garfield heroically faces down a tornado for Arlene's sake, did more for this troper than these movies are doing now. I can only hope the trend continues.
I can't believe I'm the first person to mention this but What happened to Lyman?! The only hint we've gotten from Davis is "Don't look in Jon's basement". Great, even the author suspects foul play...
According to a game on the Garfield Website, he's in chains in the dungeon of some castle.
Lyman's role in the strip was to be someone Jon could talk to and express other ideas, but that role was increasingly taken over by Garfield.
Except Jon can't talk to Garfield. John knows Garfield's personality enough to get the gist of what Garfield is thinking, but he still can't talk with him, for conversation is a two-way street that they don't have.
So perhaps Lyman got written off simply because Davis ran out of ideas involving him... I'm just guessing.
I always told myself that Lyman moved away, couldn't take Odie with him, and so Odie stayed with Jon. As for the meta reason, having Lyman around as a roommate meant that most of Jon's interactions would've been with him, and Garfield's role as the title character would've been overshadowed. Though in the They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot department, I could see a storyline where the focus is on Jon and Lyman's lives as post-college roommates in The Eighties, and Garfield's just a secondary character, making a great Penny Arcade-style webcomic.
There was a budget computer game where Lyman's head could be found in a fridge in Jon's basement.
I had heard that, when Lyman was in the strip, some people interpreted Jon and Lyman as a gay couple.
I always assumed that Lyman and Jon simply broke up, and Lyman stood in the doorway, a dejected broken man, and growled to Jon "Keep the dog, slut." and stormed out of that home for the last time.
Check out the storyline in Mayberry Melonpool for a bizarre kind of mass guess, wherein Lyman was cast as Calvin's Uncle Max, then booted into discontinuity along with Opus the Penguin, Calvin, Melonpool himself, and the kid from the Far Side.
I'm basing myself on a Cracked article I read, but apparently the last strip Lyman appeared in, he was being drafted by the army. It was kind of implicit he died at the war. At least for the author of the article.
A few problems with that theory: (1) If there had been a strip like that, then people wouldn't have wondered what happened to Lyman all these years. In fact, Lyman's last regular appearance didn't indicate that he was leaving or going anywhere else. (2) There hasn't been a military draft in the U.S. since before the strip started. (3) The Cracked article said that Jim Davis said (not in the strip) that Lyman joined the Peace Corps, not the army, but even that isn't canon.
Why does Garfield hate Mondays? Garfield doesn't work. He doesn't have a nine-to-five job. To him, a parasite unto society, it should merely be another day.
Yes, there was one episode of Garfield and Friends that actually showed Monday coming alive and attacking him or something.
Another strange thing: you can see here that Garfield was firmly anti-Monday before suddenly doing a 180 and liking Mondays one week, and then finally doing another 180 and hating them for the rest of his life.
Probably so that the Spanish dub would match up. My beef with this is that the international version doesn't include the third theme song. Don't get me wrong; I don't like it, but I'm one of those collector types and wish it had been on there for completion's sake. At least they kept Garfield's quotations intact.
How has Jon not gotten rid of Garfield yet? He's a Jerk Ass to him and Odie, steals Jon's meals, eats Jon's goldfish and birds, publicly humiliates Jon numerous times, and yet Jon thinks of him as his 'pal'. If Jon gave Garfield away, his life would be so much better!
Probably because Jon still loves him despite it, as shown that whenever they're separated, Jon ends up missing Garfield. Also, even with Liz as his girlfriend now, he's pretty lonely in general (Liz doesn't live with him quite yet) and Jon often commiserates with Garfield or does things with him that he probably wouldn't do with Odie. Not to mention, realistically, if a surly, elderly cat like Garfield was sent to a shelter, he would have an extremely little chance of being adopted, and Jon may be aware of that and doesn't want to leave Garfield to that kind of fate, since he has shown that he loves Garfield and would probably feel very guilty if he did something like that.
Because Liz would dump his ass in a heartbeat.
On a related note, why are they still living in that house? Every time they pull the 'Garfield's a lousy mouser' gag, the house is littered with these huge rats that get into every nook and cranny of the house. Same with the spiders. Move somewhere where there isn't so much vermin running around, Jon!
Why does everyone hate on the "We're bachelors, baby" strips so much? It's a.) not the first time he's done variations on the same gag in one week, and b.) only been used 8 times overall.
Garfield is shown killing spiders because they annoy him, or simply for fun. The spiders are portrayed just as intelligent and human-like as him. This basically makes him a sadistic mass murderer. Now, I don't have a problem with dark humor; for example, I find this◊ strip funny. However, the comic also portrays Garfield as an essentially nice person, a Jerk with a Heart of Gold if you will. I find these two aspects irreconcilable, so spider-killing jokes annoy me.
You seem to be unaware of the nature of your average housecat. Domesticated cats are among the only animals that kill simply because they get BORED. Housecats kill for fun. I can say this because I OWN a cat. Every other cat owner I know agrees. The 'Killer Rabbit' page even confirms this (last I checked...). To me, Garfield's actions in this regard are a touch of realism.
He's not killing the spiders. He's just squishing them. There have been a lot of strips showing the squished spiders still conscious. Hell, one showed the spiders have hospitals.
True, spiders often survive being squished, but sometimes they unquestionably die. Like in the strip I cited originally, or this one (not the spider who appears in the strip of course, but his ancestors).
Probably the same reason that you would swat a fly or mosquito, or hell, a spider if you saw one whether it was bugging you or not while you (hopefully) wouldn't kill most animals or human beings even if they were annoying the hell out of you, because they are pests and it's socially acceptable to do it.
Most people don't have conversations with mosquitoes before killing them, though. Important difference.
The strip on July 25, 2011 is exactly same the November 9, 2009 one. Not similar, but exactly the same, word-to-word. Making a joke that he already made once years ago when he's out of ideas, I can uderstand. But giving us the exact same strip... what does this guy take us for, idiots?
I had to look this up for myself and wow, just wow. For better or worse, though, Jim Davis hasn't drawn the finished strips himself for a long time. He writes and sketches them, but then they're sent to other artists for the inking, lettering and coloring. In this case, since literally the only thing that's different is the coloring, I'd guess that an old strip got sent out for color processing by mistake. Still not much better, but it reveals more about the strip's own creative process than what he thinks about the readers.
The really bizarre thing is that they aren't identical. The dialogue is the same but look at certain details, like in the 2011 strip, Irma is holding a coffee pot, but not in the 2009 strip. In the 2009 strip Garfield is sitting next to Jon and Jon is looking at Irma, but in the 2011 strip he is out of frame and Jon is looking towards where he would be. 2011: Irma adjusts her glasses while looking at Garfield; 2009: she doesn't. In fact, everything about Irma is drawn differently. Davis clearly redrew the strip, so what doesn't make sense is why the dialogue is exactly the same.
There's a difference between the same joke being used in different strips and the same strip being published twice.
This one's about the website: why did they change the format for accessing comic strips. "The Vault" was very reliable, and the picture made it look fun to go to. The "Comic Archive" they have now looks boring, and to change the date to something completely different takes a LOT of clicking on the arrows. Why didn't they just keep the old format?
Why is Garfield listed as a Karma Houdini? While he frequently does awful things without direct consequences, the suffering that follows him (especially on Mondays, or when he does a dumb thing, but on many other occasions as well), plus the fact that he does not always win, even when dealing with Jon, should imply that Karma hunts him; he is just quicker about doing the bad deeds than Karma is about paying him back.
Because of the assumption that protagonists who do bad things must be Karma Houdinis unless they're explicitly pointed out as not being so.