A one-panel, gag-a-day Newspaper Comic created in 1968 by Bill Hoest, continued since his death in 1988 by Bunny Hoest and John Reiner.
The comic's protagonists are Leroy and Loretta Lockhorn, a married couple who hate each other.
That's pretty much all there is to it. The strips usually feature Leroy and Loretta making passive-aggressive, sarcastic one-liners at each other, whether to the other's face or to some third party, though light satire of everyday life also abounds.
This comic features tropes such as:
- All Men Are Perverts: Leroy often dances and/or looks at the resident busty woman who happens to be in the room/at the beach/wherever. When Loretta is five feet away from him. Usually, she just snarks about it.
- Alliterative Name: Leroy and Loretta Lockhorn. Not to mention the strip's original title, The Lockhorns of Levittown.
- Awful Wedded Life: The source of all humour in the strip. It's a miracle they never thought of divorcing.
- Dinner and a Show: Leroy and Loretta have a surprisingly busy social calendar, and frequently have dinner parties or visitors. They do not suspend hostilities on these occasions.
- Informed Attribute: Hoest always claimed that the appeal of the strip is that, for all their bickering, it's clear that Leroy and Loretta really do love each other. No strip in the last half-century so much as hints at this.
- Just Eat Gilligan: After a while, one can't help but wonder why they don't just go ahead and get a divorce.
- Kavorka Man: Leroy at times, believe it or not. It's not uncommon for him to be portrayed as actively charming the girls he's attracted to, even putting his arms around them, as opposed to just lusting after them from a distance.
- Lazy Husband: Leroy typically avoids doing chores or fixing things around the house, whether through laziness, incompetence or a belief that Loretta should 'earn' the money she (over)shops with.
- Lethal Chef: Loretta's awful cooking is a staple running gag that she's not unwilling to acknowledge.
- The Masochism Tango: The only explanation for the endurance of their marriage is that they enjoy making each other miserable.
- Men Are Uncultured: Leroy often sleeps through or complains about things Loretta drags him to, some of which are ballets, operas, etc.
- No Accounting for Taste: Why are these two together again? Neither one is particularly attractive; neither has any appreciable domestic skills; and both are generally unpleasant. See The Masochism Tango.
- Obnoxious In-Laws: Loretta's mother is a frequent target of Leroy's snark.
- Perpetual Frowner: Everyone's range of expressions consists of "depressed and bored" and "infuriated", with only the occasional "grimly satisfied" or "inebriated".
- Punny Name: The Lockhorns are always "locking horns" with each other.
- Women Drivers: Loretta's frequent fender-benders are a major contributor to the dated feel of the whole strip.