U.S. Acres was a short-lived comic strip created by Jim Davis, far better known for his role as the creator of Garfield, and assisted by Brett Koth. The strip focused on a cast of talking animals who lived together on an unnamed farm:
- Orson, a pig with an overactive imagination and fondness for books
- Roy, a prankster rooster
- Booker, a yellow chick
- Sheldon, a partially-hatched chick
- Wade, a paranoid duck who is afraid of everything
- Lanolin, a really mean sheep
- Bo, her really kind (but not too smart) brother
- Cody and Blue, a puppy and kitten, respectively
The strip, begun in March 1986, was not a success (especially compared to Garfield), and it came to an end just three years and one month later in April 1989. As a result, U.S. Acres and its cast are much better-known in animated form, due to appearing in Garfield and Friends. There, it existed for seven years as the "B" in that series's A-B-A format – that's right, the animated version lasted more than twice as long as the strip did!
They also have their own Facebook page, though it's been abandoned since 2017 and links to the now defunct Gocomics archive.
The characters also appeared in the Android and iOS Garfield's Defense' games to help said title character against food aliens and zombies. Predictably they have also made the occasional cameo in Garfield's own comic strip.
Known as Orson's Farm outside the US and on the Garfield and Friends DVD set, since the versions used are international instead of domestic. The strip is also referenced as such on the "Professor Garfield" children's educational website.
The Viacom acquisition in August 2019 led to the rights to U.S. Acres transferring to them along with Garfield. While a new Garfield show was announced almost immediately, there is currently no indication of any new developments on U.S. Acres aside from the regular acknowledgement of it as Paws, Inc's only other IP. While Paws, Inc. hosted a complete archive of the strip on the official Garfield website for years, in June 2020 the entire Garfield website was shut down and took the entire comic archive with it. With the books long out of print and selling for hundreds of dollars, the comic is almost completely out of reach of casual readers now. It's unknown if Viacom intends to find a new host for the archive or reprint the strips in some form.
Tropes present in the strip:
- 555: The February 8, 1989 strip has Wade find a phone number in the newspaper he can call to cure his claustrophobia. The number is 555-4296.
- Accordion Man: The November 2, 1987 strip has Booker play a worm like an accordion after the worm is flattened into the shape of one from ramming into a tree.
- ACME Products: The worm family owns products by ACME.
- Adults Are Useless: ...and so are all other humans. The only humans who appear in the strip are a farmer and his daughter, who picks up a young Orson. They are only seen from the waist down, and never appear again afterward.
- All Part of the Show: In the September 11, 1988 strip, a worm named Marty invited friends named Waler and Orville to watch a shadow puppet show. When Booker started stomping on Marty, his guests thought it was part of the show.
- ...And 99¢: In the December 11, 1988 strip, Roy tricked some of his friends into falling into a waller. When the mud dried rendering them immobile, he tried to sell them as "lawn ornaments" and charged $4.99 for each.
- Androcles' Lion: Parodied. In the February 15, 1989 strip◊, a tree lets Sheldon have its apples]] because he "once pulled a thorn from its trunk".
- Animated Adaptation: As stated in the above description, the comic strip was adapted into a segment of Garfield and Friends, an animated series based on Jim Davis' more well-known comic strip Garfield. The animated version notably outlasted the original comic strip by about three years.
- Anti-Sneeze Finger: In the September 5, 1988 strip, Roy tries to use his finger on Orson's nose to prevent him from sneezing, resulting in himself finishing the sneeze Orson started.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In "Hog Noon" from the cartoon series, Deputy Wade mentions that Hammerhead Hog is wanted for robbery, rustling, and using the accounts and descriptions of a game without the express written consent of Major League Baseball.
- Art Evolution: The art goes from round and cutesy to very loose and frenetic, a radical departure from Garfield either way.
- The U.S. Acres cast remain in their 87-88 designs throughout Garfield and Friends, which is expectedly the era the strip was most uniform with Garfield's artsyle.
- Ascended Extra: Jim Davis's assistant Brett Koth gained a co-writer's credit in the strip's last couple years, even though he did no more work on the strip than he had as assistant on Garfield at that point.
- Asian Speekee Engrish: In the September 6, 1988 strip◊, Orson sneezes and later receives a phone call from China. The caller says "Bress you".
- Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption:Roy: Boy, there's nothing better than a good cup of... HOT chocolate.Orson: (reading from a book) And the big, ugly monster crept up on its unsuspecting prey and said...Roy: Hi thereOrson: Arrrgh!
- Bait-and-Switch Comment:
Orson: Ha! Ha! Booker, you are so naive. See? It says "No deposit, no refund".Booker: Oh, yes...
- During his first day at the barn in the April 5, 1986 strip, Orson comments that, "if this place had a few curtains and a fresh coat of paint... it would still be a dump".
- Orson's reaction when Booker suggests they could take their corncobs to the store and get a refund in the June 5, 1986 strip.
- Be Careful What You Wish For:
Bo: Bye, Roy!
- In the June 1, 1988 strip, Roy wanted his eyes to be bigger. Too bad for him it was Lanolin who granted that wish by squeezing his neck until his eyes bulge.
- Roy encounters Bo while carrying a heavy sack in the August 16, 1988 strip. He then tells Bo to step aside so he can get past. Bo obliges... except Bo happens to be standing in front of a cliff, and the strip ends with Roy about to walk right off it.
Orson: That's not what I had in mind.
- The March 15, 1987 strip has Booker and Sheldon ask Orson to read them a story, with Booker asking Orson to "make it scary". The problem is that Orson is Mr. Imagination, causing the scary scenes to come to life, prompting Booker (alongside Bo and Wade, who join in for the storytelling session) to shout for Orson to get them out of the scary story. Luckily for them, Orson manages to fulfill their request with "and they all lived happily ever after".
- Booker encourages Wade to jump into a pool in the August 30, 1987 strip, claiming Wade will stay afloat via his inner tube. Wade does so... and promptly slips out of his inner tube and sinks. Luckily, Wade manages to save himself by drinking the pool water.
- In the September 18, 1986 strip, Orson asks Roy to teach Sheldon how to fly. He turns around Just in Time to stop Roy from launching Sheldon in a slingshot.
- Roy decides to play a prank on Wade in the January 15, 1989 strip by dangling a fake spider in front of a napping Wade before waking him up. Wade, scared by the spider, proceeds to scream... only for the scream to travel across the Earth before striking Roy from behind.
- In the April 23, 1989 strip◊, Roy uses a vending machine to get corn, but the yielded return is less than he desired. He then inserts over a dozen more coins into the machine — this time, the sheer amount of corn floods and buries Roy all the way to the mouth.
- Bee Afraid: Wade and Roy run away in fear from a Big Stinger Bee in the August 8, 1987 strip.◊
- Bland-Name Product: Orson is driven off in a "Furd" truck.
- Box-and-Stick Trap: One arc in July 1987 includes Booker's several attempts to catch worms with that kind of trap. One of the strips features a worm using Booker's trap as a bait to capture Booker and Sheldon with a bigger version of the trap.
- Brainy Pig: Orson is portrayed as a smart pig who loves to read. He is also very helpful to his friends and often gives advice to them.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Done in a quickie from the animated series where Orson tries to explain what a quickie is; Booker comes in and thinks that it's about being short, with Roy and Bo joking about doing long or short jokes, with time running out before Orson can finish his explanation:Orson: A quickie is a joke that's only 45 seconds—
Sheldon: Time's up!
[The camera fades out]
Wade: Shucks, I never found out what a quickie was.
- Butt-Monkey: Everyone gets their fair share of being this, but it's Wade and Roy who have it worst and most frequently. You're supposed to feel sorry for Wade getting tortured while you're supposed to laugh at the expense of Roy.
- Camera Obscurer: Wade forgot the lens cover on when he tried to take a picture of the Through Ness Monster in the March 16, 1989 strip◊.
- Cape Snag: Power Pig's cape is stuck at the phone booth's door in the February 6, 1989 strip.Power Pig: This looks like a job for... (phone booth falls on him) the paramedics.
- Catch-22 Dilemma: The February 8, 1989 strip◊ shows Wade finding a phone number he can call to cure his claustrophobia, but unfortunately finds himself still in a pickle because he has to call the number in a rather confining phone booth.
- Catching Some Z's: Yes, they look like they do in Garfield, and yes, they also play with them sometimes, like when Orson uses the speech balloon tail from his Z like a light switch in the October 30, 1987 strip◊.
- Character Check: Though a few characters went through Adaptational Personality Change in the cartoons, the "Quickies" usually adapted gags from the comics loyally, meaning the cast would regularly behave exactly as they did there. This is particularly obvious with Bo and Lanolin in some Quickies.
- Comically Missing the Point:
- In the March 31, 1987 strip◊, Orson told Booker and Sheldon the story of the boy who cried wolf and Booker learned the boy... needed a big club to hit the wolf with. Orson isn't too pleased about Booker not realizing that the real moral of there being consequences to constantly lying about emergencies.
- In the November 3, 1988 strip◊, a worm tries to sell gloves to another worm. When his potential customer got inside home without even speaking to him, he thought she went inside to pick up her handbag rather than the obvious reason a worm wouldn't be interested in buying gloves.
- In the August 26, 1987 strip◊, Orson believes goalies must be ready to spring at any moment to avoid being hit with the ball. It takes a special kind of stupidity to not see that the point of the goalie is to have someone prevent the ball from entering the net.
- The June 8, 1986 strip◊ has Orson offered a bucket by Booker when he's having trouble getting water from a pump. Instead of drinking the water after collecting it in the bucket, Orson just stands on the bucket while working the pump and continuing to waste water.
- Continuity Snarl: In some strips, Booker is known to enjoy ice cream and chocolate chip cookies but when Sheldon suggested leaving out milk and cookies for Santa, Booker was disgusted.
- Debut Queue: The entire cast was introduced one at a time, starting with Orson, followed by Roy, then Booker and Sheldon, then Wade, then Bo and Lanolin, and finally Cody and Blue.
- Delayed Reaction:
- Sheldon asked for a lick of Booker's ice cream in the July 22, 1988 strip◊. It took a few seconds for Booker to realize Sheldon couldn't lick through his shell.
- When a worm impersonated a chopstick to trick Booker in the July 12, 1988 strip◊, the worm talked to Booker, who called him "Mr. Chopstick" and only later realized how odd it was for a chopstick to talk.
- Denied Food as Punishment: In the June 23, 1988 strip◊, a worm boy named Willy is denied dessert for refusing to eat his dinner. He doesn't consider it too much of a punishment because his parents were having dirt for dinner and a mud pie for dessert.
- Didn't Think This Through: In the May 23, 1987 strip◊, Sheldon suggests to Booker on a hot day that he should make sure his plant has plenty of water to drink. Too bad Booker's solution involves giving his plant a glass of water with a straw, neglecting the fact that plants can't drink through the straw.Booker's Plant: What is this, some kind of sick joke?
- The Door Slams You: Wade gets hit by Orson opening the door in the February 27, 1988 strip◊.
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Lanolin Sheep almost always responds to Roy's pranks with extreme violence.
- Downer Ending: In the final weekday strip◊ (originally published April 15, 1989), Orson looks at the newspaper only to realize their strip wasn't there and he disappears. The Sunday strip offered a more heartwarming farewell in the May 7, 1989 strip◊ by having Orson, Booker and Sheldon watching themselves on TV and Orson aping Porky Pig's "That's all, folks" .
- Down on the Farm: Played straight. Jim Davis is from just outside of Muncie, Indiana.
- Duck!: Occurs in the July 20, 1987 strip◊ when Roy hollers "DUCK" after hitting a baseball with his bat. Everyone else ducks, but Wade just turns his head, apparently thinking Roy was calling for his attention.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Bo and Lanolin appear in the July 20, 1986 strip◊ to offer a one-liner long before their "official" introduction (Lanolin debuting officially in the January 15, 1987 strip◊, her brother Bo showing up in the January 19, 1987 strip◊ and both properly introducing themselves to Orson in the January 21, 1987 strip◊.note
- Early-Installment Weirdness: In addition to a cuter and rounder art style, the early strips feature a couple of human characters (a farmer and his daughter), who are only seen from the waist down. Humans do not appear for the rest of the strip.
- Eek, a Mouse!!: A worm had this reaction after entering a mouse hole to hide from Booker in the July 16, 1988 strip.◊
- Exact Words:
Flower: *thinking* Thank you.
- Booker dared a worm to show his face in the March 4, 1989 strip.◊ The worm then showed a portrait.
- During the ugly face contest arc, Roy told Lanolin she couldn't "make a reeeally ugly face".◊ He forgot to specify whose face was supposed to be made ugly, as she ends up twisting Roy's face into a grotesque visage.
- Orson was trying to take Bo's photograph in the July 21, 1987 strip and asked him to show his teeth.◊ Bo removed them from his mouth.
- In the August 2, 1986 strip◊, Roy declares that "Water that touches pig lips will never touch" his. Aside from the fact that he doesn't have any lips, he drinks Orson's water through a straw so any lips he could have wouldn't be touched.
- Orson, upon finding Booker and Sheldon watching TV inside the barn, suggests for them to "go outside and do something" in the August 18, 1987 strip.◊ Too bad Orson forgets to specify what the "something" he recommends them to do is, as the two chicks just continue watching TV outside the barn.
- When Booker and a worm he catches are hanging from a cliff while Booker is holding him in the April 27, 1988 strip, Booker tells the worm to "do something".◊ The worm promptly shakes his lower body repeatedly, with Booker banging on the rocky cliff, in the attempt to shake Booker off.
- In the October 3, 1987 strip◊, a flower is worried when Orson shows up, fearful that Orson might pick it off the ground, and its thought is thinking "please don't pick me" repeatedly. The strip ends with Orson sitting on it.
Booker's Plant: What is this, some kind of sick joke?
- When Bo sneezes in the August 30, 1988 strip, Lanolin pulls out a handkerchief and tells Bo to "blow".◊ She intends for Bo to blow his nose with it, but Bo blows the handkerchief instead.
- In the May 23, 1987 strip◊, Sheldon suggests to Booker on a hot day that he should make sure his plant has plenty of water to drink. Too bad Booker's solution involves giving his plant a glass of water with a straw, neglecting the fact that plants can't drink through the straw.
- Expressive Accessory: The duck head on Wade's inner-tube, which looks exactly like his actual face and often mirrors the expression on his actual face.
- False Reassurance:
- The worm dressed as a chicken to trick Booker and Sheldon in the November 26, 1987 strip◊ told them he knew what he was doing in response to Booker warning him that the worms will hear him. The end panel shows a bunch of worms waiting for their chance to harm Booker and Sheldon.
- When Lanolin knitted Orson a scarf in the March 27, 1987 strip◊, Bo was worried Lanolin was pulling a trick on him (Orson). She said she wasn't and then it's revealed the scarf was made of Bo's wool, as Orson walking away with the scarf causes Bo's wool to unravel and leave him naked.
- Flirtatious Smack on the Ass: The November 9, 1988 strip◊ has Roy incur Lanolin's wrath by slapping her rear end.
- Football Hooligans: Some strips had Association Football as a theme. In the August 25, 1987 strip◊, Lanolin showed the area where the parking lot would be. She explained that's where that'd hold "the fight after the game". Her face held an expression she was looking forward that moment.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: In the 1987 Christmas strip,◊ Bo gives one of his trademark circulation-cutting hugs to the entire main cast at once while shouting "Merry Christmas". Orson directs him toward "them out there", and in the final panel, Bo is charging through the fourth wall to give the reader a circulation-cutting hug.
- Frivolous Lawsuit: When Orson read the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears in in the May 11, 1988 strip◊ and asked if any of the listeners knew what she did after trying the too hot and the too cold bowls of porridge, Lanolin suggested she sued the bears.
- Fur Is Clothing:
- Parodied in the April 10, 1988 strip◊, where Roy and Lanolin roll up the feathers/wool around their arms as if they were sleeves, then yelp in pain at the realization that they do not have sleeves and just painfully yanked their feathers/wool out.
- Played straight in the May 1, 1988 strip, which has Lanolin remove her wool so she can cool off in a pond on a hot day. Roy attempts stealing it, before she grabs him and drags him into the water. Next panel, Lanolin is wearing Roy's feathers, and he's chasing after her to get them back while wearing her wool.
- Gone Horribly Right: In the October 19, 1986 strip◊, Orson uses hypnotism on Wade in order to make him not fear anything. It works, and Wade goes from being a Lovable Coward to shortly being a fearless and reckless Jerkass who fears absolutely nothing.
- Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen: Occurs in the May 1, 1988 strip, which has Lanolin remove her wool to cool off in a pond on a hot day, only for Roy to steal her wool. Lanolin retaliates by taking Roy's feathers.
- Grand Finale: Two, actually - one for the dailies and one for the Sundays (there were still four more Sunday strips to go when the last daily strip was published). In the daily finale (published April 15, 1989), Orson looks in the funny pages, sees that U.S. Acres isn't in it, and disappears. In the Sunday finale (published May 7, 1989), Orson, Booker, and Sheldon watch their own cartoon show.
- Gratuitous German: Booker tried to trap a worm by sitting on its hole in the April 4, 1987 strip. The worm used a spiked helmet like those from German soldiers and said "Ach du lieber! A flyink chicken!"
- Head Desk: Booker's reaction in the April 20, 1988 strip◊ when it occurs to him that he'd been tricked by a worm who invoked You Wouldn't Hit A Guy With Glasses is to repeatedly bash his head against a tree.Booker: There you have it. Chickens do have hearts....and worms don't have eyes!
- Height Angst: Booker and Sheldon both regularly wish they were taller.
- Henpecked Husband: A certain worm seems to have this problem. The strips below are just a couple of examples of his feeling dominated by his wife:
- In the April 6, 1987 strip◊, he was brave enough to fight Booker, but cowers to the point of apologizing profusely when his wife scolds him for being late for dinner.
- When a hole-to-hole salesworm shows up at a hole in the September 1, 1988 strip◊ and asks if the worm who answered was "the man of the house", he responded "I'll get her".
- Here We Go Again!: The August 10, 1988 strip starts with Booker and Sheldon arguing, with Orson trying to break up the fight by asking what they were arguing about. Booker fails to provide an answer, leading Sheldon to claim that Booker forgot. Booker denies it... and the strip ends with Booker and Sheldon arguing about THAT.◊
- Hold the Unsolicited Ingredient: In the June 4, 1987 strip◊, after Booker doesn't believe that worms eat dirt, the readers are shown a worm going to Dirt Burger and ordering "medium rare, hold the gravel".
- Hollywood Voodoo: In the June 9, 1987 strip◊, Booker comes along with a balloon which looks like Roy. When Roy wants to know what this is about, Booker claims it was a voodoo balloon. Roy isn't impressed, so Booker stabs it with a pin, result: Roy's head asplode.
- Horsing Around: In the July 27, 1986 strip◊, Orson willingly gets Booker and Sheldon to ride him, but once Roy brushes Booker and Sheldon off Orson, rides Orson, and gets too bossy with him, Orson makes a sudden brake and sends Roy flying into a puddle of mud.Roy: (in mud) What's the big idea?! Pigs love mud!Orson: But horses are afraid of mud.
- Hypno Fool: Wade gets hypnotized to calm his fears and Hilarity Ensues when the hypnotism ends up performing a total 180° on his personality.
- Hypocritical Humor: In the January 12, 1988 strip◊, Roy tells Booker that the rooster is the king of the barnyard that all other animals respect and fear — all while they're hidden in a wooden crate.Booker: Is that why we're hiding from Lanolin?Roy: I don't know what you're talking about.
- I Can See My House from Here:
- Wade remarks "Hey, I can see the barn from up here" in the January 8, 1989 strip◊ when he's standing on the edge of Orson's trough.
- The August 8, 1987 strip◊ has Booker say "I can see our house from up here" while he and Sheldon are atop a small hill.
- Idea Bulb:
- Orson has a lightbulb appear over his head when he decides to turn his lemonade stand into a shade stand in the June 2, 1986 strip◊.
- The May 7, 1988 strip◊ has Orson have a lightbulb appear over his head when he gets the idea to cool off by saying "Hi" to Bo and using Bo's rapidly waving arm as a fan.
- I Know You Know I Know: From the March 2, 1987 strip:Wade: Who's in there?
Max: You don't know me.
Wade: Are you sure I don't know you?
Max: I don't know.
Wade: You don't know what?
Max: I don't know that you don't know that you know me.
Wade: But how do I know that?!?
- Imagine Spot: Two concerning Sheldon's future. When Sheldon remarks that he wonders what he'll look like when he's grown up in the March 11, 1988 strip◊, Booker imagines a tiny egg shell with enormous chicken feet sticking out. In the March 26, 1988 strip◊, Booker hears Sheldon remark that he hopes he never gets fat and proceeds to imagine Sheldon walking around with a portly belly that somehow hasn't burst through the egg shell .
- Impossible Hourglass Figure: Parodied in the July 13, 1987 strip◊ when a female worm who only has eyelashes eats a peanut and gains the appearance of having broad shoulders and hips.
- I Meant to Do That:
Sheldon: What's Orson doing?Booker: I'd say he's trying to pole vault over the fence but his pole is too flimsy and it will probably break (snap!) and he will crash into the fence (crash!) then he will try to play it down.Orson: I meant to do that!
- Roy hits Sheldon with a snowball in the December 28, 1986 strip and celebrates by banging on the wall, making the roof's snow fall on him.◊ He claims he "meant to do that".
- Orson's attempt to pole vault over a fence in the June 18, 1986 strip.◊
- Insistent Terminology:
- In the June 29, 1988 strip◊, Booker was afraid he and a worm would fall off a cliff. From that height, the worm believed "plummet" would be more like it".
- Whenever Lanolin points out that it is raining in the November 21, 1987 strip, Bo says it's "partly dry"◊.
- Instant Cosplay Surprise: Done on Roy in the July 20, 1986 strip◊ when Orson, Booker and Sheldon force him to dress as Bo Peep.
- Insult Backfire:
Roy: Okay, Booker. It's time you started rooster training.
- Roy Rooster decided it was time for Booker to start rooster training in the January 11, 1988 strip◊.
Roy: Because you need to practice if you want to be like me.
Booker: I'd rather drink pond scum!
Roy: Good! You've got the Obnoxious part down!
Lanolin: You are an obnoxious, egocentric, coldhearted, loudmouthed bully.
- In the June 11, 1988 strip, Roy asks Lanolin to be honest and tell him what she thinks of him.
Roy: You don't have to sugar-coat it. List some of my faults, too.
- Interspecies Adoption: Booker and Sheldon are chicks in addition to being Orson the pig's adopted sons.
- I Will Show You X!: The July 12, 1987 strip◊ has Orson thwart Roy's attempt to awaken him with bugle playing by putting bubble gum in Roy's bugle, which results in Roy getting stuck to the wall behind him with pink wads. Orson smugly greets Roy upon waking up with "Good morning, Roy", to which Roy replies by attempting to charge towards Orson while yelling "I'll good morning you!!"
- Jerkass: Roy and Lanolin are the meanest of the cast, both of whom often tried to one-up the other. They fall a bit closer into Jerk with a Heart of Gold territory in the animated adaptation.
- Karma Houdini: The June 7, 1987 strip◊ has Roy get Wade in trouble with Lanolin by framing him for hitting Lanolin in the head with a corn cob, resulting in Wade getting undeservedly roughed up by Lanolin and Lanolin never finding out it was actually Roy who threw the corn cob.
- Karmic Butt-Monkey: Roy frequently suffers Amusing Injuries, or a brutal beating from Lanolin, but he usually deserves it for being a unpleasant jerk to the animals of the farm.
- "Kick Me" Prank:
- Orson wants Roy to stop his practical jokes in the November 17, 1986 strip◊. Roy gives Orson a tap on the back while promising he'll stop. It's then revealed to the readers that Orson is now wearing a "Kick Me" sign.
- The November 14, 1987 strip◊ has a flower using a "pick me" version of the prank.
- Last Request: ''Booker asks if a worm has "any last requests" in the November 10, 1988 strip◊ and the worm suggests "Melancholy Baby".
- Let's See YOU Do Better!:
- In the January 22, 1988 strip◊, Booker showed Sheldon a hand trick and Sheldon said it's an old one. Booker then dared Sheldon to do it and somehow, Booker did see Sheldon doing it despite Sheldon living inside a shell.
- Roy says he can swim better than Orson can in the June 16, 1987 strip.◊ When asked to show it, he says he doesn't want to get his feathers wet so Lanolin takes them away so he can swim without getting them wet.
- Low Clearance: Played for Laughs in the August 21, 1988 strip◊, where Bo hits his head on a tree limb. Lanolin asks him how many times Bo has hit his head on that tree limb, and Bo goes to his room to count the tally marks on the wall, which add up to 132 in total. He goes back to Lanolin to report the statistics... where the tally goes up by one at that moment.
- Macguffin: The top secret, highly experimental, thermonuclear, exploding Grelbin device which Roy (as Pinfeather in another of Orson's Walter Mitty-esque daydreams) stole in "Double-Oh Orson" from the animated version, where Orson imagines himself as a secret agent like James Bond.
- Market-Based Title: The strip was known as Orson's Farm in most countries outside the U.S. and Orson's Place in Canada.
- Meaningful Name:
- The name "Orson" sounds like the word "porcine", meaning "pig-like", befitting a pig.
- Orson gave Booker that name because he (Orson) likes to read, making Booker glad Orson didn't like kumquats.
- Lanolin is named for a type of wax secreted by sheep.
- Sheldon is called Sheldon because he's just an egg shell with legs.
- Medium Awareness: In the April 14, 1989 strip◊, Orson told Sheldon their days were "not only numbered, but signed and dated" and he lived each moment as if it was his last panel.
- Morton's Fork: In the October 15, 1988 strip◊, Orson asked Booker and Sheldon if they wanted him to read a book or if they wanted to watch TV. They both eagerly replied "Television!" so Orson then got inside a television set and started reading a book inside it.
- Never Say "Die": The February 13, 1988 strip◊ had two worms use "go" in reference to passing away.Worm 1: You know, when my time comes, I wanna go in style! Like my Uncle Ed!
Worm 2: How did he go?
Worm 1: He went fishing.
- No Fourth Wall:
- After passing a sign reading "The end is near" in the July 29, 1988◊,Orson smacks into the end of the (truncated) last panel.
- The whole last week and final Sunday comic were about the strip ending in one way or another. The last of the daily strips addresses the strip's end quite literally by having Orson disappear after finding that the strip is no longer in the paper.
- Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!: In the October 29, 1988 strip◊, a worm dared Booker (a literal chicken, mind you) to cross a line and vanished inside his hole before Booker responded. After Booker crossed the line, the same worm (or another one) showed up from another hole and acted like Booker had yet to decide if he'd accept the challenge or not. Booker was confused.
- Not Hyperbole:
- Because of his allergy to flowers, Roy doesn't like it when Booker brings any to the chicken coop. In the July 17, 1988 strip◊, he said "Don't bring those flowers in here! You want me to sneeze my feathers off?!" Enraged, Booker picks a giant flower and brings it to Roy in retaliation. The sneeze was so strong that both Roy and Booker lost their feathers.
- In the June 14, 1988 strip, Lanolin threatens to slap Roy's beak to the moon. She literally does that later.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In the final week of the daily strips, Wade finally conquers his fear of everything, which causes Orson, Roy, and Booker to run off screaming. See it in the April 12, 1989 strip◊.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: An arc that began in November 23, 1987◊ had a worm disguise himself as a chicken just by putting on a fake beak and comb.
- Parental Abandonment: While Booker and Sheldon were still unhatched eggs, their mother, having decided she was tired of sitting on eggs, literally just got up and walked away. The eggs remained unguarded in their nest until Orson found them the following week.
- Portable Hole: In the October 15, 1987 strip◊, Booker ripped a hole from the ground so the worm he was chasing would be stuck underground.
- Power-Up Food: Parodied by Orson as Power Pig. In the April 20, 1986 strip◊, he claims to eat "power corn for energy".
- Puff of Logic: In the final daily strip from 15 April 1989, Orson is reading the newspaper and discovers that U.S. Acres is no longer on the comics page. He has just enough time to shout "HEY! WHERE'S-" before he vanishes in a puff of logic.
- Pun-Based Title: U.S. Acres was supposed to be a pun on "U.S.A."
- Pushover Parents: In the March 29, 1986 strip◊, a kid offers to take Orson in and tells him not to worry about the kid's Dad because he's a pushover.Orson: Thank you, pushover fathers everywhere.
Orson: The hours I spent as a homeless waif taught me to live by my wits.
- When it's finally time to convince the girl's father to let Orson live with them in the March 31, 1986 strip◊, Orson does the trick by crying.
- Rake Take: In the March 2, 1988 strip◊, Wade believed that, if he were fast enough, he could race right by danger before it could do anything to him. A rake in his way proved him wrong.
- Running Gag: The series pretty much runs on recurring jokes. Sign gags, face gags, scaring Wade, slop jokes, and imagination jokes make the bulk of them.
- Sarcasm Mode: The Echo Canyon in the December 9, 1988 strip◊.Orson: Yodel-lay-hee-hooo.Echo Canyon: Oh, reeeal original, pig.
- The Scream: The January 15, 1989 strip◊ has Wade sees a fake spider and screams so loud, it circles the world.
- The October 28, 1987 strip◊ has Orson as Power Pig declaring that he is "Fast as a speeding bullet! Strong as a locomotive!"
- Once he realizes his imagination took him to pre-history in the April 3, 1989 strip◊, Orson says "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore".
- In retaliation for Roy intruding on Orson's "swimming pool" in the May 11, 1986 strip,◊ Orson dives on Roy, prompting the intruder to say "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!"
- The April 10, 1986 strip has Orson looking for a book to help himself relax. He remarks that one of the books is too small, and another one is too big, and the third one is just right.
- The unused horse character Jodie has a similar coloration to Applejack.
- Shown Their Work: Orson is abandoned at the beginning of the strip's life because he's the runt, just like pigs do in real life.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Though Roy tends to take turns annoying everyone, he and Lanolin are very frequently at each other's throats. This is shown much more vigorously in the comics, though is definitely still there with their animated versions.
- Sleeps with Both Eyes Open: Booker and Sheldon watch in astonishment as Wade sleeps with his eyes open. Booker asks how he's able to do it, and Sheldon explains that it's easy for Wade because he's afraid of the dark.
- Sneeze of Doom: Occurs in the September 4, 1988 strip, where Orson's sneeze manages to force Roy into the ground.
- Sphere Eyes: Much like in Garfield, character's eyes are depicted as white spheres that are close together.
- Spit Take:
- The March 22, 1989 strip has Orson spit after seeing that Roy was soaking his feet in his trough.
- Orson is seen spitting in disgust again in the April 2, 1989 strip after seeing that Roy had been bathing in the trough and hearing the rooster remark that he hasn't bathed in months.
- Spy Speak: Bo takes it literally in the September 19, 1987 strip.Bo: Hi, Orson!
Orson: Tell Central, the fox is on the wing in Sector Y.
Bo: (to Lanolin) The fox is on the wing in Sector Y.
Lanolin: Congratulations, Bo. You just graduated from half-goose to full-goose bozo!
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: After three weeks of living with his mom and brothers, Orson was sent away and abandoned due to being a runt. It's accurate because often in pig litters, the runt pig doesn't get fed because it can't fight the other pigs for a suckling spot on his mom. And If a farmer doesn't want to raise it, they'll try to give it away. And if another farmer doesn't want to raise it, it'll either starve to death or be put out of its misery by rifle.
- Stock "Yuck!": In the June 5, 1987 strip, a worm tries to eat spinach but doesn't like the flavor. The remaining spinach moans over the fact "Nobody likes spinach".
- Stop Drowning and Stand Up: Wade in the May 8, 1988 strip complains that he's drowning, but stops the melodramatics when Orson advises him to stand up.
- Talking Animal: Unlike in Garfield, the cast of U.S. Acres are clearly shown to be speaking instead of just thinking. (This might also be the reason for why Cody and Blue weren't in the cartoon.)
- Tempting Fate:
Orson: I know it's popcorn.Roy: Why didn't you warn me?!
- In the November 3, 1987 strip, Orson said even Lanolin couldn't ruin that day. She shouted "I just washed my car!" and it rained.
- In the March 24, 1989 strip, Booker blows on a dandelion seed head, causing the seeds to disperse and fly away. The flower next to it laughs at the seed head, only to be plucked by Orson immediately afterwards.
- Booker asks Orson to make a story scary in the March 15, 1987 strip. Orson being Mr. Imagination, it doesn't take long for Booker to change his mind.
- Booker encourages Wade to jump into a pool in the August 30, 1987 strip, telling Wade that his inner tube will keep him afloat. Once Wade jumps in, he slips right out of his inner tube and sinks, though he manages to save himself before drowning by drinking the pool water.
- In the April 9, 1986 strip, Orson finds a book of jokes and claims that he's in the mood for a good laugh. Upon opening the book, he finds himself the target of a joke.
- In the November 13, 1986 strip, Orson warns Roy not to eat corn so close to the stove, but Roy dismisses him. It turns out to be popcorn, which promptly pops inside Roy's body, much to his discomfort.
Sheldon: Whoops, backfired.
- In the June 24, 1987 strip, Booker decides to do a cannon ball dive with a jump onto the springboard. It bounces him off in the direction from whence he came.
Bo: *yawns* Coming to bed, Lanolin?Lanolin: Not tonight, Bo. This should be one interesting sunrise.
- Orson, after donning his "Power Pig" costume, declares himself leaping over barns in the August 22, 1987 strip. He ends up slamming into a wall of a barn.
- In the October 17, 1988 strip, Booker succeeds on getting onto a hammock. He claims "Victory!", only for the hammock to flip him off it.
- In the November 15, 1988 strip, Bo is excited to see the sunset, but Lanolin is not enthused, claiming sunrise and sunset always happen the same way. Cue the ensuing sunset taking place in a very unconventional way (i.e. turning out to be a flat disk and falling over after hitting the ground), which piques Lanolin's interest.
- Lanolin tells Roy to stop smirking in the June 14, 1988 strip, or else she'd slap it to the moon. Roy, however, dismisses her. Bad move — the strip ends with Roy's mouth landing on the moon.
- Possibly played with in the April 4, 1986 strip, in which Orson wonders where his food is, but a corn on a cob is thrown and hits him on the head before he even finishes the question.
- When Booker places a gigantic megaphone at Roy in the January 1, 1989 strip and claims "Prepare to Die, rooster!", Roy dismissively mocks him with "What are you going to do, cheer me to death?". Booker promptly throws a small snowball into the megaphone... which becomes big enough to cover most of Roy's body when it gets out of said megaphone.
- When Wade hears the sound of sleigh bells in the December 19, 1988 strip, he gets inside a chimney and looks upwards for Santa Claus. The strip ends with a large bag full of toys falling on top of him.
- That's All, Folks!: The last strip has Orson imitating Porky Pig's famous catchphrase in the final panel.
- Team Rocket Wins:
Worm: I've never been so humiliated.
- Since the relation between Booker and the worms is Road Runner vs. Coyote, with Booker himself playing the role of the coyote, any occasion where he manages to catch a worm is this trope. The November 2, 1987 strip, for example, has the worm become flattened into an accordion-like shape and played like an accordion by Booker.
Lanolin: Not fair!Roy: Welcome to the 20th century, fuzz face.
- Similarly Roy was nearly always on the recieving end against Lanolin. He did get the last laugh in one Sunday strip however, when the two get into a crow/bleat match and Roy blasts her with a speaker system. Incidentally this ended up one of the first Quickies in Garfield and Friends.
- Token Evil Teammate: While the others are rather pleasant, the only ones who are probably far from nice are Roy and Lanolin. While they're aren't malicious, they are at worst plain Jerkasses.
- Too Dumb to Live:
- Bo. For example, the August 19, 1987 strip shows that he's too dumb to understand that he has to turn the TV on before he can watch it.(Bo is staring at the TV.)
Lanolin: What's on TV tonight, Bo?
Lanolin: (smacks Bo) Then turn it on, stupid.
- Wade is this as well. He falls off cliffs, when he can just fly to avoid injury. He goes ahead and just sits under a place where a boulder above him could easily fall and squish him. He even places his bed right on the cliff, where he ends up falling from, once he got out of bed.
- Bo. For example, the August 19, 1987 strip shows that he's too dumb to understand that he has to turn the TV on before he can watch it.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Booker likes to eat worms, Orson's favorite food is pig slop, Roy likes corn and the worms enjoy dirt. Though Orson and Roy have expressed they'd rather have pizza one time.
- The Unsmile:
Lanolin: How's this?Orson: Okaaaaaay...
- Taken to comedic extreme in one strip. After studying a book on smiling, Roy and Lanolin dare each other to make a broader smile. The final panel shows Orson gaping at two giant toothy mouths that stretch past the top of the strip.
- In an earlier strip, Orson tries to coax a smile out of Lanolin. She notes with a scowl that she is smiling. Orson asks for a bigger one, leading to a huge teeth bared grimace.
- Written Sound Effect: The January 15, 1989 strip shows Wade's scream of "YAAAAHHH" having the capacity to knock Roy from behind after traveling across the whole Earth.
- You and What Army?: In the October 17, 1986 strip, Orson once used hypnosis to make Wade no longer afraid of anything. The first sign it was working was when Wade responded to a command by asking "You and what army, waller breath"?
- You Wouldn't Hit A Guy With Glasses:
- A worm invoked the trope to avoid a beating from Booker in the April 20, 1988 strip. Booker was initially proud to have shown "chickens do have hearts" but later banged his head on a tree out of frustration once he remembered "worms don't have eyes".
- A worm wondered if a fish would eat a worm with glasses in the October 16, 1988 strip.
- Your Costume Needs Work: In the August 28, 1988 strip, Roy dared Orson to dress like a bear. When a real bear showed up, Roy said it was the worst bear suit he'd ever seen.
- Your Head Asplode: The June 9, 1987 strip had Roy's head blow up after Booker popped a balloon with Roy's face on it.
- Your Mom:
- The October 7, 1987 strip featured Booker plugging a hole and then yelling that the worm's mother was a garden hose. When the worm tried to return to the surface, it hit its head on the cork.
- The October 16, 1987 strip had a worm telling Booker his mother swam after garbage scows. Guess what Booker's "Mom", Orson, was ready to do at the end of the strip?
- Feeling bored in the December 11, 1987 strip, Wade told Cody his mother had fleas so Cody would chase him away.
- In the November 28, 1988 strip, Orson wondered why Roy considered himself qualified to be the judge of an "ugly face contest". When Roy said he knew ugly when he saw it, Lanolin jokingly mentioned "he should". Roy then asked "what was that about my (Roy's) mother?"
- The January 21, 1989 strip had Roy, over a frozen lake, teasing a fish by saying "Hey, fish! Your mother wears waders!" Then a strong fish breaks through the ice and drags Roy's face into water. Roy ends the strip with a broken and frozen face.