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This is a "Wild Mass Guess" entry, where we pull out all the sanity stops on theorizing. The regular entry on this topic is elsewhere. Please see this programme note.
Garfield
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     The Comic Strip dated October 28, 1989 

Every Garfield strip since Oct 28, 1989 has been the hallucination of a lonely cat starving to death in an empty house.
These are the last Garfield strips that happened. See them in color at the bottom of this page, or in the official website's archive.
  • Jossed by Word Of God, as seen here.
    • He laughs it off, but he doesn't actually offer a better explanation. Of course it's a scary story fitting for Halloween, but why would that make it invalid? I posit that not only every comic since, but also every comic before the 23rd are part of the delusion. And Davis doesn't know.

Jim Davis wanted to end the strip on Oct 28, 1989, but was forced to continue due to Executive Meddling.
For a while, he tried to make the best of it, but he eventually started to just phone it in. He's been writing for an independent comic company under an assumed name for years now.

Garfield didn't die in the Oct 28, 1989 strip; he everted
Garfield has the same everting powers as Zee Tee but is so lazy that he didn't even know he had them. One day, he took a nap in an eversion point and accidentally everted while he was asleep. After he woke up, he found his house in its everted state, freaked out, and then accidentally reverted the house back to normal.
  • Maybe it's a good thing he didn't try to get out of the ruined house. Who knows what he would've found wandering around out there...

The Garfield comic strip takes place in the town of Silent Hill.
That is, following the theory that there are three "levels" of existence to Silent Hill: a normal, functioning abode that used to be a mining town, the foggy "otherworld", and the dessicated dark world.

The town has been re-populated, but coal fires continue to burn underground. Jon's supposed Flanderization as the strip progresses is a result of the subtle smoke from the underground slowly damaging his mind, which would also explain Irma's "slow in the head" demeanor. (It's possible that Liz's sharpness results from her living and working on the edge of town, away from the most concentrated coal fires underground) The town, for the most part, lived in peace, unaware of the unspeakable things lurking within the lower two "planes" of its existence.

But in one week in 1989, something happened: the town called for Garfield the cat, and like James before him, poor Garfield had no choice but to answer.

In the infamous Halloween week series of strips, Garfield awoke within the second "plane" of Silent Hill: the seemingly-abandoned, broken-down town.

Silent Hill, mind, does not tend to pull in its chew toys without a good reason: one of the key reasons a protagonist will find themselves drawn to Silent Hill is a sort of guilt within them, an internal conflict as brutal as the creatures they encounter within the town. With that in mind, let's look at Garfield.

He's a lazy Jerkass who takes Kick the Dog to a literal extent, who spends his time deriding and lashing out against Jon, the only person in the world who even gives him the time of day. These attitudes have been pushing him away from everyone else in his life, creating an unparalleled sense of isolation; the Town finally makes him confront this fact with a terrifyingly real depiction of where this road will take him. Garfield is forced to come to grips with the simple fact, which he states in anguish: "I don't want to be alone!"

And suddenly, everything is back to normal; Jon and Odie are there, and the dessicated landscape is replaced by normality. He had learned what the Town tried to teach him, rather quickly; thus, he was allowed to return from it. It's quite a good thing he did not leave the house, as well; Silent Hill aficionados know well that an empty room is far, far preferrable to the things lurking elsewhere.

But it didn't take him long to resume his Jerkass ways. Thus, the Town may soon call on him once more, to teach a more permanent lesson...
  • For clarity, this would mean it was the movie version of Silent Hill, as in the games the "normal" version is an ordinary resort town, with no coal fires to speak of.

The October 23, 1989-October 28, 1989 strips were a nightmare Garfield had after watching Allegro Non Troppo
Allegro Non Troppo contains a sequence about a cat remembering happy times in an abandoned house. Garfield watched that film shortly before going to bed and had a nightmare. The end of the last strip shows him waking up.
  • Real Life injection: The October 28, '89 strips started to gain wide Internet attention around the same time period parodies like Garfield Minus Garfield started to become big. Shortly after that, so did Allegro Non Troppo when people started accusing Jim Davis of having ripped it off for these strips. If you're willing to believe Davis, the "rip-off" theory itself is Jossed.

The Halloween 1989 strips were an elaborate practical joke by Jon
Jon decorated the house to look as if it had been abandoned, then took Odie and left for the week. The purpose of this prank was to teach Garfield not to take life for granted. It didn't work.

The Halloween 1989 strips were nothing out of the ordinary
They were just a disturbing look into what Garfield thinks when Jon leaves. Jon only went to the store and was only gone for a few minutes. Sure, early on he loved it when Jon left, but after so many years of doing the same things, you get tired of the house...

Garfield was briefly shunted into an alternate universe during the Halloween 1989 strips
Garfield was not imagining anything, nor is he simultaneously hallucinating and starving to death. He just happened to fall asleep at a point in space and time which was connected to a universe where his home truly was abandoned. Not long after, though, he was sent back to his home reality when the powers that be realized that he was in the wrong universe.

     Character theories 

Realfield is Weegee.
Or, at least, the comics incarnation of him.

Jon actually draws the strip, and "Jim Davis" is just a pseudonym; or "Jon Arbuckle" really is Jim Davis.
  • Think about it. We all know from day one that Jon is a cartoonist, but we never see what strip he draws, so who's to say it's not Garfield itself? Plus, they were both born July 28, and "Jon" and "Jim" booth start with "J" and go Consonant-Vowel-Consonant.
    • The last strip will have Jon and Garfield going on their usual antics, but in the last panel, it zooms out to Jim Davis working on the computer on the comic (since the strip is computer-generated now) with a realistic Garfield next to him and realistic versions of all the human characters (even Lyman) watching him.

Jon Arbuckle is a psychopath
  • He killed his best friend Lyman because he wanted his dog.

Garfield is an ordinary cat with an ordinary cat's mind, and Jon is a clinically depressed and possibly suicidal man who talks to his pets.
Any clever quips in the little thought bubbles emanating from Garfield's head are hallucinated by his owner, Jon, along with the bubbles themselves. For more information about this hypothesis, look here.
  • What's so unusual or strange about talking to a cat?
  • Jon's not suicidal. Low self-esteem, sometimes; but he's energetic and enthusiastic too often to be depressed, much less suicidal. On the other hand, some kind of mild psychosis...
    • Reality is unrealistic. Many a suicidal person can appear normal enough in public — even moreso for depression, especially if meds are a factor. We do frequently see Jon being enthusiastic and upbeat in private, though. Perhaps bipolar disorder? He does seem to have manic episodes, come to think of it... Or else he includes Garfield (whom he thinks is sapient and cartoon) among the "people" he needs to maintain his act for.
      • The manic states lend credence to the bipolar theory, but don't necessarily joss the depression. Reality Is Unrealistic indeed, as depressed people can still have upbeat times even in private, and in some cases these aren't infrequent.
  • A couple websites have tried imagining what the comic would actually look like if we saw this from an objective view. Realfield presents edited comic strips that have replaced the wise-cracking, bipedal cartoon cat with a much more realistic one that reacts just like a real cat (that is to say, hardly at all) while leaving Jon's behavior untouched. Meanwhile, Garfield Minus Garfield takes it a step further by removing the cat altogether, which leaves us with Jon literally talking to himself "as he fights a losing battle against loneliness in a quiet American suburb."
  • This also explains why his dates tend to run away from him in terror.
  • Also of note is Arbuckle, a project started by Tailsteak, but thrown to the viewing public. (Who haven't been doing much lately...)
  • Are Liz and the Mailman hallucinating, too? Maybe they're both in Jon's head, too... but that still wouldn't account for the stuff that happens when Jon isn't around to hallucinate it. Maybe it's all Jon's dream - or all someone's dream.

Garfield is the story of Jon slowly descending into madness, while his housecat watches
At the beginning of the series, Jon was a relatively normal fellow with a fondness for football, a roommate, and normal-if-unlucky skills at romance. Over the years, he's slowly transformed into a man-child who talks to himself frequently, finds excitement in mundane activities, and frightens any woman he talks to so much that many have restraining orders against him and run in terror.

What we've been taking as normal flanderization has been deliberate. Jon is suffering from schizophrenia, and the series is showing the account via an unreliable cat narrator. We don't see him working because he's on disability, or his parents have been funneling him money to support him. His assorted freakouts and "comedic" moments are how Garfield sees him react to his delusions and hallucinations.

Right now in the series, he seems to be having a moment of normalcy, perhaps because he's gone on medication and Garfield hasn't noticed. He seems to have gotten his life together slightly; he's begun dressing normally again (this most recent weekend had Jon wearing a somewhat ratty brown suit, purple shirt and matching checkered tie — it may sound a little unusual, but it's more basic and less eye-burning than his former standard outfit, a yellow plaid jacket, neon green tie, and massive daisy in lapel) and dating Liz.

However, this could just be a Hope Spot. Jon's schizophrenia may yet lead to him having a massive freakout that scares even Liz away.
  • Of course Jon's insanity may be a result of Garfield's deliberate attempts to drive Jon insane Gone Horribly Right.

Garfield is telepathic.
Garfield is unable to vocalise any of his snarkiness, yet Jon frequently reacts as though he can, in fact, hear him. Garfield also directly adresses the audience, something no other character does, or at least has done in some time.
  • This has been Jossed by Garfield's Judgement Day, where it is revealed that Garfield - and by extension, all cats - can talk, and the fact that nobody (not even Jon) could communicate with them before is a plot point.

Garfield can transmit thoughts at will
That's why Jon can sometimes understand what he's "thinking" and sometimes he can't! Of course sometimes Jon just ignores him.
  • He is too lazy to use it much.

Garfield's beard was part of a plot to build a franken-facial hair using Tycho Brahe's graverobbed moustache.
Ambrose Burnside was part of the same project. Fortunately, no suitable eyebrows were around during the decades that the project was— What? The cat? Great, this is JustBugsMe/Cats all over again!

Garfield's father is Heathcliff
  • They look similar, and Garfield's mother is named Sonja.

Garfield, because of his selfishness and the multiple acts of pettiness against Odie and Jon, was transported by the Dark Powers in the Demi-Plane of Ravenloft
Now he is the Darklord and prisoner of a tiny domain where he must be alone as a punishment for treating others the way he did.

Garfield is a shinigami
His lasagna addiction is much like that with Ryuk's apples. Jon carries the Death Note, but doesn't normally use it.
  • He once used it on Lyman.
  • Scarily enough, Garfield actually has a "Depth Note" in Garfield Gets Real (probably a 3D gag, as Gets Real was Garfield's first All-CGI Cartoon). So this is highly plausible.
  • Near gave a speech at the end of Death Note about how a normal person might have tried the Death Note once, as a gag, and then would've been horrified, guilt-stricken and locked it up as soon he realized that it actually works. Clearly Jon is that normal person. He tested it on Lyman after they had an argument over the chores, found out it's real when Lyman died, and has kept it hidden ever since (and is taking care of Odie out of guilt). Garfield's hanging around for the lasagna and because Jon hasn't relinquished the Death Note to anyone else, and Jon seems to a bit of a Cloud Cuckoolander because living with the temptation of being able to kill anyone without getting caught would take its toll on anyone (especially when you're the world's Butt Monkey).
  • This also explains why Garfield often seems to be Jon's hallucination: only the people who have touched the Death Note can see Garfield, so most of the time, Jon seems to be talking to himself. Liz, the mailman and a few other humans have, for one reason or another, ended up touching the Death Note by mistake, and Jon takes Garfield to Liz for checkups not only to hit on her, but also to keep her convinced that Garfield's an ordinary cat.

Garfield is a Bakeneko/Nekomata (or at least in the process of becoming one)
. He meets at least two of the three conditions to become one:
  • Living over ten years of age - definitely
  • Reaching one kan (3.75 kg or 8.25 lbs) in weight - also definitely
  • Growing its tail too long - could be

And he shows several abilities that Bakeneko/Nekomata are known to have:
  • Walking on its hind legs: he has done so for years now.
  • Menacing sleeping humans: Jon frequently suffers from things Garfield does to him. Several older comics focus on Garfield roughly waking Jon up.
  • Talking: in a way, because Jon does apparently understands Garfield's snarkiness according to his facial expressions.
  • Will throwing fireballs/snowballs come next?

Garfield has left the empty house, moved to Japan, had his mind transferred to a cat robot, and changed his name to Doraemon.

The current Garfield, Odie, Arlene and such in the comic are Generation Xerox.
Cats and dogs don't normally live as long as Garfield and his crew have. Ignoring the rule of Comic-Book Time for the sake of this theory, at some point, the original cast passed on. Jon, whose sanity is often questionable already, didn't take this well. However, Garfield had gotten together with Arlene at some point (and Odie with some random poodle or other Temporary Love Interest), with the usual results. Jon adopted one of the kittens that looked the most like his father, named him Garfield, and did the same for Odie. He continues to celebrate the wrong birthday and age as part of his ongoing denial over losing the originals.

This is also why the strip stopped following the Arlene/Garfield romance, and why Arlene dropped out of the strip for so long. These aren't the original Garfield and Arlene; in fact, this Arlene could actually be this Garfield's younger sister.

Garfield's trimmer looks over the years are a result of a cartoonish trick
He hasn't actually lost any weight, he simply shifted it all to his feet. LOOK AT THEM. They're HUGE nowadays.

Garfield's hatred of Mondays stems from lasagna withdrawal.
In one episode of Garfield and Friends, Garfield finds a wishing well and wishes Monday out of existence. It's a standard Be Careful What You Wish For plot, but contains a particularly odd reveal. Jon no longer cooks lasagna for Garfield, because Monday night was lasagna night. This doesn't make a lot of sense, considering how much Garfield hates the day and loves the food, unless you think about it the right way. On Monday morning, Garfield has gone seven mornings without lasagna, and this problem won't be rectified until the end of the day. Cue grumpiness and impatience.

"Doc Boy" is the formal name of Jon's brother.
Mentioned by Jon's mother when the three were looking at a photo album.

When he goes on a diet, Garfield is put on drugs by Jon.
This may explain why everything appears screwed-up in some of the diet-themed comics.

Part of Binky the Clown's contract is that he must be off his meds during sweeps week

Binky is Pennywise.
  • This explains his odd behaviors and creepiness, not to mention the evil grin he had at the beginning of the Garfield Halloween Special.

Nermal was given to Jon recently.
Why else does his recent vists seem to imply that he's part of the household?

Mai Tai isn't the cat that Garfield befriended in Garfield in Paradise.
Have you noticed the glee of the fat cat and the lady right next to her when the chief called for Owooda and Mai Tai than their collective shock when Owooda walked in with the pink cat who looks like Arlene? That's because the fat cat was infact Mai Tai(the pink cat never stated that she was infact Mai Tai and never was addressed as Mai Tai by Owooda either) and that the fat lady was her kittysitter assigned to her(the fat lady is clearly not Owooda judging from the words of the chief so this is the only logical possibility). The cat who looks like Arlene? That's Arlene following Garfield to Paradise Island(which part of the plane she was on is unknown) and judging from Mai Tai and her Kittysitter's reaction to her appearance hitch-hiked on the car Jon rented all the way to the village and snuck out while Jon and Garfield were listening to the chief's tale about "The Cruiser" and ended up being found by Owooda who adopted her(until she snuck away to follow Garfield back to the US leaving Owooda with the much fatter Mai Tai).
  • She never shows her teeth even once which indicates that she doesn't want Garfield to suspect her true identity(which explains why she dosen't correct Garfield when he addresses her as Mai Tai) and start matching wits with her nor to start insulting the gap between her teeth.

     What happened to Lyman? 

Lyman is Luigi
Think about it. They look pretty similar. Lyman has Mario's mustache. And Lyman was last seen in a regular Garfield strip in 1983, the same year that Luigi debuts in Mario Bros.. Coincidence?
  • Plus they're both young, under-appreciated, and have names that begin with the letter 'L'.

Lyman was gay. For Jon. But they weren't a couple.
Jon was just a straight, extremely unlucky man, and Lyman eventually moved out , leaving Odie as a sort of Audience Surrogate for himself, since while he couldn't stand to be near but not with Jon, Odie could.

Lyman killed himself.
See above for one possibility, but the possible causes are many and varied.

Lyman killed everyone else.
And Garfield is the ghost of an already-dead cat "living" in a long abandoned house.

Lyman got a job transfer, and the only city apartment he could afford even on his increased salary was a no-pet complex.
Because this page needs some lightening and softening.

Lyman underwent eye surgery and became the Mailman in later comics.
Same mustache? Check.
Same physical build? Check.
No appearances together? Check.

     Relations to other comics/cartoons/series 

Garfield is a Time Lord.
His TARDIS is his bed, that's why he can fit Pooky and other things in it without them showing. Garfield being a Time Lord would explain why his appearance has changed so much over the course of the comic strip, he's changed into new forms. The reason why everyone else in the series has changed so much is because Garfield has traveled into a distant past (or future) that has people similar to the other eras that Garfield has visited.

Garfield and Calvin and Hobbes take place in the same universe.
The connection is Lyman. He disappears from the strip in 1983, then a few years later reappears in Calvin & Hobbes. Lyman is Calvin's Uncle Max: his full name is Max Lyman. The evidence is that Max and Lyman look the same, and have a similar sartorial taste. The few differences between the two (such as Max's bigger nose) can be explained by different artistic impressions of the same character. Max's hairline has receded somewhat since he was living with Jon, but there are years between his disappearance from Garfield and reappearance in Calvin & Hobbes, so that certainly could've happened. Max being Lyman also explain why he's worried about Calvin's imaginary friend, and why he says that all of his friends might've been imaginary too. When he was living Jon, they were caught up in a folie deux, where they imagined their cat and dog were acting like human beings. Max realized he had to break away from this fantasy, but Jon, being the more infantile of the two, couldn't do the same. Max realized he had no choice but leave: that's why he disappeared so suddenly from Garfield and left Odie behind. His past history explains his comment about imaginary friends (he's referring to Garfield an Odie), as well as why he thinks Calvin having an imaginary friend might not be healthy for him.
  • Calvin and Hobbes actually appeared as background characters once.

Garfield, Odie and Jon are reincarnations or Alternate Universe versions of Bucky, Satchel and Rob.
Snarky cat. Stupid dog. Owner who can understand them. Am I the only one who thought of this?
  • Or perhaps Get Fuzzy is a deconstruction of Garfield, being more realistic and edgy than Garfield, and containing more three-dimensional characters.

Jon is Witted.
  • He's just not completely aware of it. He can hear most of Garfield's thoughts, and cats can use the Wit to speak with whomever of the Old Blood they choose to, and all the cats you meet in Tawny Man seem to have Garfield's attitude about humans and self-importance.

Since, according to one strip, the day Jon brought Garfield, he had to choose between him or an iguana...

Garfield is the Cat Next Door
  • That Cat and Snoopy annoy each other, and the cat likes to destroy Snoopy's Doghouse. It doesn't seem like a stretch that Garfield, who loves to cause Odie pain, wouldn't be up for destroying a doghouse. Plus, there could be another reason as to why Lucy hates dog kisses: Odie keeps kissing her

     Recurring themes 

     Miscellaneous 

The last strip of Garfield
The finale will consist of Jon letting an older Garfield live in the same Italian restaurant (where he was born in) with other stray cats, before living his final bachelor days with Dr Liz, being Happily Married. That concludes the strip.

Garfield hates raisins because he ate rabbit poop at one point.
It's made apparent in Garfield and Friends that he hates raisins. Rabbit and other rodent poop look like raisins, so that makes sense why he strays away from them.
  • Even if one thinks they look like raisins, they certainly wouldn't smell the same, especially to a cat. Unless of course Garfield has an unusually poor sense of smell, which is possible since he doesn't seem to use it much.

Jim Davis is winding up the strip.
Think on it. This used to be one of the Status Quo Is God strips, when it came to Jon's love life. Now suddenly he's dating the woman of his dreams?

The strip is ending. And it will end when Jon and Liz get engaged or married.

Note: this comic did what the author intended it to do. And it has been in print for approximately thirty years. He's not doing it for the art; this won't be a 10-Minute Retirement.
  • Considering that Jon and Liz have been a couple for over five years, Jossed.


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