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     Why Didn't They Just Knock? 
  • When Calvin flies on a "magic carpet" to go see his dad at work, he and Hobbes yell and wave when they see him in his office, and then complain that he doesn't notice them. Why didn't they just fly up to the window and knock on it? I understand that the story could never work without Dad not noticing him, since the world in which Calvin can fly on the hallway carpet is different from the real one. Still bugs me a little.
    • It's quite possible they simply didn't think of it. Calvin isn't exactly the best in the world at thinking things through — especially when a subject bores or frustrates him. So when waving and hollering doesn't work he's so annoyed that he gives up and flies home instead of trying other ways of getting Dad to notice him.
    • Probably because in the back of his mind, he knows he's just playing make believe and so he can't truly interact with him.
      • This is incorrect, because we see Hobbes as a humanoid. If you look, there are no "imagination" scenes containing Hobbes. The one that did sort of, had a picture of stuffed tiger in a newspaper. So, as Hobbes is clearly depicted as bipedal for the strip, it occurs in REALITY.
      • Except that's not how Hobbes or reality works in Calvin and Hobbes and Bill Watterson has been VERY clear on that. Knocking on the window would once and for all confirm whether or not Calvin's adventures are real or imagined.
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     Getting Yourself Tied in Knots 
  • Just about everything in the strip can argue for Hobbes being real or not, both hypotheses work. Except for the time Hobbes tied Calvin to a chair with the knots behind him. How could this kid tie himself to a chair with the knots behind him? Funny bit, but for me it was the final straw. If Calvin is indeed tied to a chair with the knots behind him, there was somebody with opposable thumbs helping him. It obviously wasn't his parents and as far as we know Susie Derkins is his only "friend." By process of elimination we are forced to conclude that Hobbes is real.
    • Not to mention the instances in which Hobbes leaves behind cat tracks in the snow/dirt. Imaginations don't leave footprints. Or the time he was locked out of his own house.
    • You have not seen the type of trouble people just learning to tie knots can get themselves into. This troper has witnessed much worse catastrophes in attempts to teach new Boy Scouts how to knot things. The fact that Calvin managed to do this while seated is more difficult, but Calvin has always been one to take a small problem and make it a major disaster.
      • ^This. At the risk of turning this discussion in a somewhat "family unfriendly" direction, there is a subculture of BDSM known as "self-bondage" which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Some self-bondage techniques allow you to securely tie yourself up and then escape later, but there's always a danger of getting "stuck" and being unable to untie yourself. If Hobbes is imaginary then this is explains what happened to Calvin.
      • Calvin isn't masochistic like his dad is. It's clearly shown that he thinks his dad is barking mad.
    • Those knots looked awfully well done and without extra loops or slack to allow for self-binding. I stand by my original conclusion.
    • There's also a comic strip in which Hobbes and Calvin are on the run from a swarm of oncoming hornets. Upon discovering that they were only riled up because Calvin was throwing rocks at their nest, Hobbes strips off Calvin's clothes and leaves him hanging by his underpants on a tree branch far above his head. While it is technically possible for Calvin to have taken off his clothes and climbed the tree itself, this Troper finds it very hard to believe that he could have hung himself in such a fashion just for fun, especially if there really was a swarm of hornets after him.
      • To be fair, unless there is a third party witness the hanging from a tree might only be happening in Calvin's imagination.
      • As well as the hornets.
    • Don't forget all the times that Hobbes has tackled Calvin, either when he's coming in the front door or simply at random. Calvin's Mom constantly notices her son's scratches and bruises, and often wonders how Calvin could get so dirty at school, whether he stepped on a land mine, or whatever else. You'd think not even Calvin would be crazy enough to constantly maim himself if Hobbes was fake.
    • There was a strip where Calvin took a photograph as Hobbes tackled him through the door. The picture showed "stuffed" Hobbes in the air, and Calvin's dad concluded that Calvin simply tossed him in the air.
      • That's how Calvin's dad saw the picture. Calvin sees the picture the same way he sees the real Hobbes, as shown in another strip.
    • Cuts and scrapes like those can be produced simply by jumping into a gravel pit. There are methods other than "ambushed by tiger" to obtain injuries like that.
      • Too true. But again, that means that Calvin is deliberately jumping into gravel pits on purpose to injure himself while pretending that his tiger is real. Yeah, this troper prefers the Hobbes-is-real argument.
      • I've known sevral imaginative small children that would do things like roll down a graveled slope pretending to fight some imaginary enemies. My little brother for one used to end up scratched, bruised, and with torn clothes, when playing by himself in the back yard. (Despite doing things like trying to sled down a flight of steps in a drawer from his dresser, he is now a healthy and productive adult member of society. With a wife, and a young son that clearly takes after him)
      • He is a six year old boy. The idea that he would regularly climb or jump into places where he could get dirty and scraped up while pretend-fighting with his stuffed animal isn't that unreasonable.
    • There was also the series of strips where Calvin brought a snow goon to life, and it tried to attack him. He goes running into the house, and his mother immediately looks out the very door that Calvin came running in through, only to find a snow goon on the doorstep. She immediately assumed Calvin built it, overlooking the fact that there was no room for Calvin to have done so. It was literally taking up the entire door step, with no way for Calvin to have gotten around it to get inside. Spooky. See it here.
      • And later in that storyline, the snow goons start building hundreds of snow goons themselves. There is seriously no way one kid could build them all.
    • The answer is simple. Calvin is schizophrenic.
      • You mean he has Dissociative Identity Disorder. That's not what "schizophrenic" means.
      • That's my it-just-bugs-me: psychoanalyzing and diagnosing Calvin. Enough already. Calvin is just a wildly imaginative child. He does not have schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, DDNOS, BPD, ADHD, PDQ, COD, UPS or MSNBC.
      • Sad as it is for a six year old boy, my belief was that the story of Hobbes jumping on him every day was what he told his mom, and that the bruises where actually from Moe beating him up every day.
      • That had never occurred to me. I'm sad now.
      • Since Calvin is able to see, hear, and interact with Hobbes, then he would have Schizophrenia as well as Dissociative Identity Disorder, assuming that there is something wrong with him psychologically, which I don't like to think there is. On the bruises being his way of hiding his being bullied by Moe, it may be that I just plain don't want to believe it, but I don't think it's sound. Calvin's scenes in school never depict him with bruises, and he seems to be submissive to Moe, going at great lengths to avoid being hit. He also seems to be rather open with his mom regarding his problems with Moe, since when Moe is extorting Calvin for money, his mother knows. There's also the strips where he hides behind the door, tries to get Susie to act as bait, and even goes so far as to CUT UP HIS FATHER'S BROOM in order to make a decoy. To go to such great lengths just to preserve a flimsy lie doesn't seem realistic, even for a boy as imaginative as Calvin. Besides, I never thought his encounters with Hobbes left him terribly beat up at all; it always seemed to me he was just dirty ("stepped on a land mine" could be interpreted as being incredibly dirty) from rolling in the mud, with a few scratches, scrapes, or bruises from twigs or rocks he may have bumped into, all this occurring before his mother noticed he was home. I don't find it hard to believe that Calvin's first action upon coming home would be to grab Hobbes and then go play.
    • To me the answer is that if Hobbes is not real then the strip is unreliable, especially when it focuses on just Hobbes and Calvin. Calvin being tied to the chair was all in his imagination.
      • Given the many depictions of Calvin as a spaceman, detective, vengeful God, etc, I think the strip was very clear that it was unreliable at times.
      • But when we saw Calvin drawn as, say, Spaceman Spiff, it was clear to the viewing audience that we were seeing inside his imagination. His mother never saw him as a tiger after he transmogrified himself. But she did see him with his hands tied behind his back.
      • That was his father, actually. And he could not understand, how Calvin could do that to himself. Watterson noted that this is indeed an important moment: he said: "the question remains, really, how did he get that way? His dad assumes that Calvin tied himself up somehow, so well that he couldn't get out. Calvin explains that Hobbes did this to him and he tries to place the blame on Hobbes entirely, and it's never resolved in the strip. Again I don't think that's just a cheap way out of the story. I like the tension that that creates, where you've got two versions of reality that do not mix. Something odd has happened and neither makes complete sense, so you're left to make out of it what you want."
      • And frankly, that kind of thing happens to parents all the time. Kids do some mind-bogglingly weird stuff—not simply stupid or ridiculous, but stuff that, on the surface of it, does not even seem physically possible. Sometimes you never find out what really happened. At those moments, "the tiger did it" makes just as much sense as anything else.
      • I've actually done that tied up in a chair thing to myself before. You just tie the knots and then sit down.
    • My explanation is that it's a work of postmodern art, meaning that nothing is concretely "true" or "real."
      • Someone on the WMG page suggested that Hobbes is a Pooka, like Harvey. That... just makes so much sense!
      • And your explanation probably is more in line with Watterson's own intentions, as he's said before that the point of Hobbes and how other people see him isn't whether or not he's real, but that everybody has different perceptions of reality. In short, it's all subjective. So this troper thinks that the people obsessively trying to deduce whether Hobbes is real or a simple figment of Calvin's imagination are missing the point.
    • My point of view is that Calvin tied up himself, if you look at the strip the rope looks a bit of a mess, to me it is perfectly reasonable that a 6-year old could tie up himself like that just by going around himself, when you've got a long, long rope it basically ties up by itself, he just made a big mess and it was enough to tie him up well.
    • The ropes were covering Calvin's arms. No, really, take a look at the first strip in the series. How exactly could Calvin have tied himself up if the ropes were covering his arms?
     How Did We Lose the Episode? 
  • Just coming from the Lost Episode page, and... What's the deal with the original strip?
    • Elaborate.
      • I think the first troper is wondering why Bill Watterson didn't like it and didn't allow it to be reprinted. This troper would also like to know why.
      • 'Xactly. Most of the examples of Lost Episodes are stuff that had to be taken away due to crossing the line. This alternate strip is just... Unfunny, at most?
      • Two strips published on the same day, the republished one hit more newspapers.
    • The original strip was not reprinted because people were afraid it would encourage kids to climb into washing machines (since Calvin expresses a desire to bath in one like Hobbes did.)
      • And yet they run a strip where Calvin takes a bath in the toilet. Go figure.
      • Arguably, it's less dangerous for a kid to try to flush himself down a toilet than for a kid to climb into a running washing machine.
      • But yet there's another strip of Hobbes in the washer with Calvin looking on and grumbling "I wish my bathtub had an agitator." It's essentially the same joke. If the reason the first was pulled was to prevent kids from climbing in the washer, why not the second?
    • Another theory I found elsewhere online is that Hobbes being in a washing machine spinning in soapy water would be proof that he's imaginary. There's no way a living creature could survive the drowning or vertigo of that situation. Watterson wanted to maintain a delicate balance for the "real or not" question, and this strip upset said balance too much. Hobbes being in a washing machine means he's just a stuffed tiger whose a figment of Calvin's imagination.
      • Watterson himself describes Hobbes' periodic washes as "one of the stranger blurrings of what Hobbes is."
      • Except there are other strips in which he bathes in the washing machine.
     Calvin's Parents' Names 
  • Did anyone else ever try to make up or imagine names for Calvin's parents? I like to imagine them as being named Bill and Melissa, for obvious reasons. And yes, I know that Word of God says that they only matter as Calvin's Mom and Calvin's Dad, but let's not forget that Watterson broke his own rule by developing them both considerably as the series went on.
    • Yes! I had always thought of them as looking extremely like a Jonathan and Jane. I also had a last name in mind for the family, but I can never remember for the life of me what it was.
    • Brad and Janet.
    • Tom and Melanie.
      • As a child, I always imagined Calvin's Dad's name to be Tom, because I had an uncle Tom who looked just like him.
    • Helen and James.
    • They're both named "Dear."
    • Well, if you go with the (at the time of this writing) last entry on the WMG page, his dad's name is Joe. As for his mom, I have no idea.
    • I always saw Calvin's dad as a "Dan" for some reason, and Calvin's mom as "Lucy." Why? Calvin makes a joke about how he'll name an Australopithecus woman after Mom someday. And for some reason, I always attach the last name "Brooks" to Calvin's family. Calvin Brooks. I dunno.
    • Alice and Bob. Sorry, I couldn't resist the joke.
    • Clark and Lois.
    • Wait, Bill and Melissa?
    • I'm personally fond of Linus and Sally, myself.
    • How about Hoban and Zoe? ...No, probably not.
      • Wash is dead, remember? Unless there was some [1] that brought him back post-Serenity, NO.
     Imaginary Enemies 
  • This troper, while enjoying Calvin & Hobbes immensely, has always been bugged by one detail: While normal kids have imaginary friends, Hobbes almost qualify as an imaginary enemy. I mean, half the times, he just bugs Calvin, bullies him, makes fun of him, etc. What's the point of having an imaginary friend if you imagine him to treat you barely better than everybody else does?
    • Armchair (okay, swivel chair) psychology time: I don't think Hobbes is an imaginary friend in the strictest sense. My read is that he's supposed to be the ego/superego to Calvin's id, except that rather than exercise any real restraint on Calvin's destructive (and self-destructive) impulses, he merely comments passively on them. Of course that does nothing to explain why Hobbes is constantly beating the holy bejeezus out of Calvin by pouncing on him...
    • From Calvin's perspective Hobbes isn't an Imaginary Friend, he's a real person with his own unique personality. From that perspective it's completely logical that Hobbes would be at odds with Calvin's views and behavior, and since Hobbes is manifested as a tiger it is also logical that he display these disagreements in a violent/aggressive fashion since Hobbes constantly displays legitimate tiger instincts (as opposed to his made-up ones, such as good math skills that is to say.)
    • In addition to the above tropers' points of view, you have to admit it's funny when Calvin chases Hobbes.
    Calvin: I am a man of few words.
    Hobbes: Maybe if you read more, you'd have a larger vocabulary.
    (Calvin, of course, thinks it's a Stealth Insult and chases Hobbes)
     Snowman Slander? 
  • Does anyone think that Calvin's parents' criticism of his snowman-building is a bit too critical? If I was Calvin's father, and I saw my son making the enormous snow-monster devouring snowmen (you know the one,) I certainly wouldn't think to myself, "The schools don't assign enough homework." I'd be thinking about the possible moneymaking opportunities involved with having a natural-born snow sculptor for a son. Yes, I know things like that were more or less Watterson's way of criticizing social prejudices of art forms (or something like that,) but this sort of thing needs to be brought up.
    • My younger brother and sister spent most of one winter making odd and rather monstrous snow creatures every time it snowed. (ages six and eight) Our grandmas reaction to finding, in her front yard, a tableau of snowmen fleeing in terror from a snowblower, was to say we all clearly needed more chores after school. The neighbors didn't appreciate it much either.
    • Why?
    • The real interesting thing is, no one else in the neighborhood sees anything in Calvin's snow art either. Maybe the city is a crossroads for the creatively sterile, and Calvin (and Susie, somewhat) are literally the only people with imagination around.
      • Which would explain why all the kids that aren't Calvin or Susie seem so mean-spirited and the adults don't dismiss Calvin as an over-imaginative kid: None of them have much imagination. The reason Susie is the closest thing to Calvin's friend is because she's the only other person who can imagine things anywhere near like he does. Also, she was worried for her educational future during the strips where she and Calvin got sent to the Principal because her parents have such high expectations of her because they see nothing important about her imaginative games.
    • Calvin lives in Ohio. There's your explanation.
    • To be fair, Calvin's snow art tends to be rather... Disturbing. Calvin's parents would probably think better of his art if so much of it didn't involve dismembering.
      • Indeed, since one strip reveals that the neighbors have supplemented their fences with large trees just so they don't have to look at Calvin's Little Shops of Horrors.
      • Calvin may be at that stage where he does macabre art. There are children around Calvin's age who have done some odd/disturbing things when it comes to art, though it tends to vary individually.
      • Yes, but most children don't create intricately detailed macabre snowscapes like Calvin does.
    • Your child begins expressing creativity in macabre, disturbing ways, and your first thought is how you're going to monetize him? Parent of the fucking year.
      • It's a normal phase some kids go through, and no need for the attitude.
    • Putting that much effort into his snow-creations is arguably part of the reason why Calvin's parents get critical about it. Yes, most kids go through through a macabre phase, but they don't all create panoramic vistas of multiple snowmen being realistically mangled, devoured and eviscerated in all kinds of gruesome ways. I doubt they'd be so scathing about his obvious talent if he put that talent to less grindhouse-inspired ends.
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     Scrabbled Arithmetic 
  • I know it's a small point, but one strip that has always bugged me is the one where Calvin and Hobbes are playing Scrabble, where the conversation goes:
    Calvin: Ha! I've got a great word and it's on a "Double word score" box!
    Hobbes: "ZQFMGB" isn't a word! It doesn't even have a vowel!
    Calvin: It is so a word! It's a worm found in New Guinea! Everyone knows that!
    Hobbes: I'm looking it up.
    Calvin: You do, and I'll look up that 12-letter word you played with all the Xs and Js!
    Hobbes: What's your score for ZQFMGB?
    Calvin: 957.
    • He got an odd number of points for playing a word on a "Double Word Score" box. That doesn't make sense.
    • Calvin is bad at math.
    • That or Fridge Brilliance — he cheats by playing an illegal word, and cheats again by telling Hobbes the wrong score.
      • Since that's quite blatantly the joke of the strip, you should be calling out Hobbes for not catching it. Calling Calvin out for 957 being an odd number on a double word score box sounds like something akin to I Take Offense to That Last One!.
    • Or, if we focus solely on the odd/even thing and not the actual score of the "word," he could have made a parallel play (i.e. B over AT for another 5 points), as opposed to solely playing through another tile.
      • This is the same boy who made Calvinball, can't expect him to follow the rules.
    • It's not the only Rule of Funny invoked in this strip. Calvin complains about Hobbes making a word with all the Xs and Js. In a typical Scrabble board, there's only one X and J. That, and I'm pretty sure you can never reach a score as high as 957 unless you used 80% of the pieces all at once.
      • Per Google the highest theoretically possible Scrabble word score is 1778, but the highest-scoring word ever played in a sanctioned tournament is only 365, and the highest game score is only 830.
     Mixed-Up Memories 
  • During the arc where Calvin tried to use time travel to get out of writing a story, did the 7:30 and 8:30 Calvins (and the 8:30 Hobbes) already remember the whole thing from 6:30? 8:30 Calvin claimed to remember "what [he] said two hours ago," but he still seemed surprised at later points. ("Yeah! This is HIS fault!" "HEY!" "Oops." "YOU DID??") Did Calvin have to fake his way through the meetings at 7:30 and 8:30 from memory after returning to 6:30? Did he stay awake for hours wondering why he couldn't have just explained things to his 6:30 self at 8:30? (And if 8:30 Hobbes was the writer, working from his memories of two hours before — can't tell which is which from the relevant strip — does that mean the mission to exploit a Stable Time Loop was a partial success?)
    • Keep in mind this is all one big Imagine Spot. What's really happening is that there's one Calvin playing around with his toy tiger in a cardboard box, stopping briefly to write a story about himself, pretending Hobbes did it. He only goes through the supposed time loop once and most importantly, he's not trying to make it all make sense, he's just creating a story in his head. And like any six year old thinking up a story, it's going to be riddled with plot holes.
      • Or if you accept the Hobbes-is-real version of things, Calvin is smart enough to know that if he does something different at 8:30 than what he remembered himself doing when he came from 6:30, it will produce a time paradox and Bad Things will happen.
      • Again, Hobbes is displayed bipedal, so it happened. Calvin knows that doing something different will change the past, so For Want of a Nail the future will suck.
    • Messing around with the timeline, especially in a time period as short as two hours, messes with your memories a bit, too.
    • Here's how the time loop ultimately plays out.
      • 6:30 Calvin and 6:30 Hobbes travel to 8:30 to pick up the completed story from Calvin's Future Self.
      • 8:30 Calvin doesn't have the story, because two hours ago, he went to the future to get it.
      • After arguing for a while, both Calvin's realize that the reason the 8:30 Calvin doesn't have the story if because somewhere between 6:30 and 8:30, the 7:30 Calvin should have written the story, but didn't. (Most likely because, one hour ago, he went to the future to get it.)
      • 6:30 and 8:30 Calvin travel back to 7:30 to make that Calvin do the homework, while 6:30 and 8:30 Hobbes remain at 8:30.
      • At 7:30, the 6:30 and 8:30 Calvins try to force the 7:30 Calvin to do the homework, but the 7:30 Calvin points out that anything they do to him, they'll end up suffering themselves.
      • Meanwhile, at 8:30, the 6:30 and 8:30 Hobbeses write a story for Calvin, therefore changing history. When the 6:30 and 8:30 Calvins return, the 6:30 Calvin and Hobbes return to 6:30 with the written story.
     The Mating Habits of an Endangered Species 
  • How does Hobbes's status as an endangered species prevent him from meeting babes? I heard that the ladies dig you when you're the last of something.
    • I think what Hobbes meant was that there wouldn't be many babes left for him to meet because most of them had been poached.
    • Plus if he went to a captive breeding center to pick up chicks, he'd have all these doctors and caretakers watching him. That's not cool, man.
     A World Without Humour? 
  • In all the years of reading Calvin and Hobbes, I never got over the fact that it seems not a single person in the world ever reacts to Calvin's antics with anything other than annoyance/anger. It's not just Calvin's parents or teacher, who would feel worn down over time — not even his classmates, neighbours, or random strangers ever laugh once at what he does, even the funny harmless things. I even remember one strip where Calvin's mom remarks how they get less traffic on their street thanks to Calvin's snowmen. Now imagine that there was a kid who actually made snowmen like that. Do you really think that everyone would avoid that house or would they constantly drive past to take photos? It's just an extreme Values Dissonance that while we find Calvin hysterical, everyone in his world in a humorless jackass.
    • I consider that 1-half-the punchline, 1-half-how Watterson views the world.
    • To his classmates at least, Calvin is an antisocial loner who lives entirely in a fantasy world and is prone to random outbursts that come this close to physical violence. To some extent, they might even be afraid of him.
      • In one strip where he pretended to be an alien during Show and Tell by drooling and growling, one random kid asked Miss Wormwood if Calvin shouldn't be in a "special school." It wouldn't be surprising if they saw him as having some sort of mental condition.
    • When people in-universe find a character hilarious or quirky, it's like a comedian laughing at his own jokes. There's also the risk of making Calvin look like a Jerkass Sue. At least by calling him out all the time, it keeps Calvin's character grounded.
    • I can recall exactly once that someone reacts without anger. When Calvin the pterodactyl is soaring over the waves and is interrupted (angrily, for the moment) by Miss Wormwood the plesiosaur, she tells him that they are studying geography and asks him what state he lives in. His response? "Denial." She mutters "I don't suppose I can argue with that..." and Calvin the pterodactyl resumes his soaring. She's not laughing at his joke (Was he even trying to make a joke?) she's not amazed at his self-awareness, but she concedes the point to him without rancor.
      • It also seems that Miss Wormwood can sympathize with Calvin in some ways. When he had a conniption due to being in school on a beautiful day with only one life, she simply told him, "Next time, try a drink of water and a few deep breaths." Not So Different indeed.
    • And he has made people laugh sometimes. There was one strip where he steals his dad's glasses and pretends to be him (speaking to his dad as if his dad were Calvin.) While his dad doesn't find it funny, his mother is in stitches in the final panel. On another occasion, after an Imagine Spot where his personal gravity is weakened and he goes flying into the air, we see his dad wanting to hear the whole story because he finds it so interesting.
      • Hate to break it to you, but his dad was being sarcastic if I remember correctly.
      • Not exactly. He did seem to find it genuinely interesting, if only in a "Oh boy, what kind of ridiculous excuse will he come up with this time?" kind of way.
      • Personally I saw it as a genuine interest in the story even if he didn't necessarily believe it—his mother was the one who was irritated because Calvin was using it as a reason why his clothes should have velcro sewn on them.
    • "You have to admit it's slowed down the traffic on our road." It's definitely so that people can look and take pictures of the snowmen.
      • Or because people are avoiding the road so they don't have to look at Calvin's "art."
    • Also, let's be honest here. We interact with Calvin for the length of time it takes to read three to nine panels of a comic a day, which is what? Five to ten minutes? Sure, under those circumstances Calvin is endearing. In Calvin's world, his parents, teachers and classmates have to interact with him on a frequent basis, over which the personality quirks we find endearing can quickly become insufferable. As for his snowmen, he's definitely got talent, but they're also frequently grotesque, macabre, inconveniencing (at least one of them prevents his dad from being able to drive to work) and generally more of an annoyance they would be to the person seeing it in a comic strip who doesn't have to deal with it. Again, we can appreciate the talent and artistic qualities because we don't have to live with it; for Calvin's parents, it's just another headache their let's-face-it-a-bit-of-a-pain-in-the-ass kid has caused them.
    • "One man's tragedy is another man's comedy": the averse reactions of those around Calvin contribute to the joke and make it funny to the reader.
     No Appreciation for Knowledge and Imagination? 
  • Why is Calvin so readily dismissed by everybody? He's endlessly imaginative; his vocabulary could top many an adult; his knowledge of culture and politics, though often warped by his own selfishness, is outstanding for a six-year-old; shouldn't his parents and/or Miss Wormwood be alerting the media or something? Calvin may be rambunctious, but he's certainly impressive. This bothered this troper to no end while reading the strips as a kid. Susie Derkins, while an example of a more average kid, could apply as well.
    • I don't know about Calvin's parents, but Miss Wormwood probably assumes Calvin's just repeating every word that comes out of his parent's mouths.
    • It seems to be more along the lines that everyone is frustrated that while Calvin can be genuinely brilliant, he utterly refuses to apply that brilliance to anything productive, choosing to idle away in his imaginary world and fight tooth and nail to avoid doing anything that even remotely seems like work. Most of them probably realize that if Calvin actually wanted to, he could accomplish just about anything.
    • The brilliance of Calvin and Hobbes is that it's not about what it's like being a kid, it's about what it feels like to be a kid. You make great snowmen, and come up with neat stories and important observations about society, and still everyone treats you like you don't matter as much as grown-ups. If you want to get really weird with canon, maybe the entire strip is from Calvin's point of view, even the "real world" parts. Perhaps words like "transmogrifier" are just a "dynamic equivalence" translation. A Calvin in our world might call it a "change-ula box-matic," but feel like he's using a cool and impressive word.
      • I think this hits the nail on the head. The reason Calvin's imaginative creations look so impressive to us is because we're seeing them as written and illustrated by one of the world's greatest cartoonists. In the more mundane reality inhabited by Calvin's parents, they're not so awe-inspiring. There are even early strips where Calvin's attempts at creativity (sculpting a bowl, drawing a picture, etc.) produce the sort of clumsy, unremarkable results you'd expect from a six-year-old. As the strip progressed, though, it ended up spending more and more time inside Calvin's head, where Watterson's creative brilliance has full control.
    • I'm not sure where I read it, but Watterson admitted that he regretted making Calvin's vocabulary so large, he felt it made Calvin's dialogue a bit unbelievable. At the same time though, that is what's funny; this is a six year old making amazing and well spoken arguments.
    • It's a statement on the failings of the educational system. Calvin obviously has talent, but he's in a world of adults who don't have any clue how to nurture it, or even care that much. The same could be said of his parents.
    • Imagine being around someone who acts the way Calvin does, every day, ALL DAY LONG. For them, it isn't funny anymore.
    • As Watterson once put it, Calvin has never been a literal six-year-old.
    • Furthermore, I can't possibly see Calvin's parents or teacher "calling the media." None of them seem attention-hungry sorts, and the very last thing that a kid like Calvin needs is more attention and more of the sense that the world revolves around him.
      • Can concur from personal experience. I'm an Aspie (diagnosed as an adult) who started reading early and spontaneously, and my first words beyond baby babbling was a full, short sentence in Vietnamese (my native language). My parents were afraid to make a fuss out of it because they didn't want doctors to declare there was something wrong with me, and that I would be taken away from them. And that's without any of those signs that is so amusing/disturbing about Calvin.
    • Also, it's not exactly unheard of for someone to have the attitude of seeing absolutely no value in imagination in children and refusing to nurture it (personal experience, 'nuff said). That it should apply to absolutely everybody in Calvin's world is a worry, but the attitude does exist in real life.
    • It's very likely that the adults in Calvin's life are somewhat conservative (especially since the strip made its debut during the mid-80's and it takes place in the United States) and believe that he's just "going through a phase", relying on nothing more than rote but occasionally harsh punishments in a futile effort to correct him (despite him learning practically nothing every single time) rather than try to find out whatever's wrong with him and get him professional help. More to the point, they probably misconstrue his wealth of knowledge and overactive imagination as defiant to social norms somehow and expect he'll grow into a responsible (but joyless) adult much like them.
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     Who's Spiff? 
  • So, just who is Spiff? Judging from story clues, his job is to explore the universe and check out undiscovered planets. But was he hired to do it, or is he simply doing it for his own amusement? And how could he possibly eat/sleep/entertain himself in that tiny one-man spaceship?
    • From what I used to think as a kid: Spiff is a hired scout that his employers don't have to care about too much.
    • One: As such a thing is never mentioned, he probably wasn't hired, and two: Its probably something like a TARDIS.
    • The Spiff strips seem to be a combination parody of Flash Gordon and Star Trek. Make of that what you will.
    • Spiff's rocket is more of a car in space than a rocket; it's probably not meant for long journeys, only short missions that last a few hours.
      • Exactly. It doesn't even have an onboard toilet, unless Spiff's pilot seat has some rather interesting arrangements.
    • Spiff's universe is the perfect place for the MST3K Mantra. Calvin doesn't care who pays Spiff or what arrangements he has in his tiny ship, because all that stuff is boring. He's not yet old enough to find satisfaction in inventing details merely for plausibility: details only exist if they're awesome.
    • Spiff is Mal. As for the one man starship bit, TARDIS.
      • Off-screen, River beats up everyone.
     Fur Colour Changing? 
  • Why is it that when Hobbes is in plushie form, the fur around his eyes is orange, but when he's sentient, the fur around his eyes is white and makes a sort of mask shape?
    • Same reason he's twice as tall, with completely different facial features? The two forms look nothing like one another to begin with, probably to make it easier for the reader to visually distinguish them from each other.
    • A running gag in the strip is that the "real" world looks fairly cartoony but the bizarre world Calvin sees is more realistically drawn.
     Why DRESS Like a Tiger When You Can BE One? 
  • When Calvin decided that he wanted Hobbes to teach him how to be a Tiger, why didn't he just use his Transmogrifier to become a Tiger again (like when he first used it) instead of building a costume?
    • Because that would be the same story all over again. The humor from the transmogification story came from Calvin suddenly acting like a tiger and nobody else seeming to care. The humor in the dress-up story comes from Calvin failing to act like a tiger.
     To Like Or Not to Like Jelly (If You're Calvin)—That is the Question 
  • This complaint might pale in comparison to the "big questions" raised above, but for the past few days I've been on an Archive Binge and I noticed something strange. In one strip, Calvin's mom buys some jelly donuts and Calvin goes into graphic detail about how he doesn't like them because it's like eating a bug and having the guts squirt out. Whenever he eats a packed lunch though, it's always a jelly sandwich (sometimes with peanut butter, sometimes without). It's small, I know, but this sort of random discontinuity just sort of irked me out.
    • Also see the strip in which Calvin's "great idea in motion" involves drinking half of his milk, then cramming his sandwich and fruit in, and shaking the whole thing up to make a smoothie and choking it down. Calvin doesn't usually have a problem with gross things.
    • Calvin just doesn't like jelly donuts. But, since he's Calvin, he's not just going to say "I don't like jelly donuts," he's going to invent a creative reason why. Also, little incongruities like that are the sign of a 3-dimensional character. Real people aren't perfectly non-contradictory.
      • That, and jelly spread upon a slice of bread is less likely to squirt out like bug guts than jelly used to fill a doughnut.
      • Can be that Calvin went on in a disgusting way to get his mom from eating the jelly donut, so he could have it himself. This troper frequently grossed out his mom as a kid when she brought home something he wanted to eat.
      • She did offer him some.
    • Expanding on the 2nd response above: Calvin never said he doesn't like jelly, just jelly donuts specifically. To me the bigger contradiction is that he expresses that dislike by describing jelly donuts as something gross (bug guts), but his parents often use this exact tactic to trick him into eating something he doesn't want to eat. (This isn't the only time this contradiction has come up; another strip has Calvin freak out over seeing a nature show wherein the mama bird regurgitates food for her babies... cut to Calvin giving Mom a hairy eyeball at the dinner table.)
     Evil Bike? 
  • What exactly was supposed to be the deal with Calvin's bike? Several strips indicate that the bike has a mind of its own and it's trying to kill Calvin. One memorable strip even had the bike chase Calvin through the house until he was on the roof, causing his parents to Freak Out! when they saw the mess the bike made, with the implication being that if Calvin's bike doesn't kill him, his parents will. Does anyone have any idea what Watterson was trying to go for here?
    • Probably nothing. It's just funny, like the monsters under Calvin's bed.
    • Wheeled vehicles are terrifying and have a mind of their own. As someone learning to drive a car, I can relate. And it's something that Calvin finds terrifying that no one else understands at all — unlike the fear of being pounced by Hobbes, Calvin doesn't shrug it off, and his parents aren't deliberately using his fear like when they hire Rosalyn.
    • It's also an exaggeration of learning how to drive a bike, which for a kid is scary and often painful. That fear then gets reflected by the bike being directly out to get him.
    • Maybe he's just imagining that it's chasing him, and he ended up on the roof and with a mess because he got caught up pretending to run away.
     Humongously Hard Homework 
  • This probably falls under Rule of Funny, but what's with Calvin's class' homework and test assignments? When I was six I couldn't even spell Byzantine Empire much less write an essay on it. No wonder he had trouble in school.
    • Sometimes the tests are as easy as addition, other times he's being asked to describe complex history about the discovery of the Americas, the former capital of Poland, and Newtonian physics. It all varies depending on the strip, and I assume it's just on which suits the story. If Calvin's being depicted as lazy, then the problem is usually pathetically easy. If he's being depicted as confused and overwhelmed, then the problem is often something even those who passed college may have trouble remembering.
    • Its doubtful the questions are actually above grade school level, they're just exaggerated for comic effect to a level of difficulty Calvin imagines due to his perennial unpreparedness and panic-induced idiocy.
     Did It Really Happen? 
  • Did the meetings with Galaxoid and Nebular actually happen or not?
    • Yes, if Hobbes is real and Calvin really grew to the size of the galaxy and has gone back in time and cloned himself through a cardboard box.
    • At the bare minimum, Calvin brings their leaf samples to school after being shown not doing a lick of work to get any by himself. Who says aliens have to be hyperintelligent, nigh-invincible beings?
    • This is actually part of a broader - and important - question: if Hobbes is real on some level (as ambiguously suggested by Word of God and debated above) and not merely an imaginary friend, then is the same level of reality to be ascribed to the other zany adventures that no one besides Calvin and Hobbes experiences as real? It's difficult to see the "Spaceman Spiff", "Stupendous Man" and "Tracer Bullet" stories or Calvin daydreaming about being a dinosaur as anything other than figments of his imagination, but what about the times they transmogrified each other or travelled through time? Are these events part of the same reality that Hobbes is, or did Calvin (and Hobbes?) just imagine them?
      • I think it's fair to say that there are three levels of reality in the comic:
      • 1: The normal, everyday reality that most people inhabit, where Calvin is just a weird kid and Hobbes a stuffed animal. This is the reality we see when people other than Calvin and Hobbes are present.
      • 2: Calvin and Hobbes' shared reality. In this reality, Calvin's a genius inventor and Hobbes a real, live tiger, and the world is magical and full of possibilities. This is the reality we see when Calvin and Hobbes are alone together — or, very occasionally, joined by additional Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane characters such as Calvin's clones, the murderous bicycle, the monsters under the bed, or Galaxoid and Nebular. This reality occasionally blends in with the first one, like when things Hobbes or the clones do affect the "real" world.
      • 3: Calvin's solo fantasies. This reality level very obviously consists of daydreams and make-believe; nothing that happens in it has any equivalent in the "real" world — even Calvin usually realizes that it's just a game or a way to cope with his dreary life, except when he gets carried away and starts treating it as reality. This is where you find most of Calvin's alter-egos such as Spaceman Spiff or Stupendous Man, and it's usually characterized by Calvin playing Lemony Narrator and speaking entirely in third person.
     Brain-Bogglingly Bashed-Up Binoculars 
  • The Binocular Arc: Calvin accidentally breaks his dad's binoculars by "dropping them" (by tossing them to himself while running). Yet when he shows Hobbes the damage, they're in a powdered state in a box! What did he do to those binoculars?
    • Maybe he was on a hill, and after he dropped them they continued to bounce down and keep breaking.
    • Rule of Funny.
    • I figured he buried it with dirt, so he was dumping it out and warning Hobbes to not sneeze, as it was going to fall out on the dirt pile.
    • It's an exaggeration, this is what CALVIN thinks the damage looks like, most likely he broke the lenses and cracked the casing.
     Hair 
  • Why is Calvin blond when both of his parents are dark haired?
    • Recessive genes from both of them. Or it's proof for their suspicion that Calvin is accidentally not their child...
    • A lot of young children actually have blonde hair when they're born, regardless of what their parents hair color is, it just darkens when they get older.
     Babysitterphobia 
  • Why is Calvin so scared of his babysitter, Rosalyn? He acts like she's a Babysitter from Hell, but as clearly seen in nearly every occasion, it's Calvin who antagonizes her, and the worst she can do is yell at him and send him to bed, and then tell his parents what he did that night. Yet every time, Calvin acts like a monster is coming over. Sure, the first comic had her threatening Calvin (As the quote on Babysitter from Hell shows) but every other occasion the worst she does is send Calvin to bed early. At least until Calvin decides to 'fight back.'
    • She grabbed him by the collar and threatened to beat him up the moment he said exactly what a six-year old would upon first meeting a non-teacher, non-parent authority figure. Sure, he was planning on antagonizing her in worse ways, but compared to what he does day-to-day with his parents, she did that with no provocation. That immediately showed him that she wouldn't even start to mess around like his parents or Ms. Wormwood might, and presumably colored all his future expiriences with her as violent struggles. I can also testify that, as a kid, tutoring once a week or swim lessons, while no worse than certain classes or PE, were rarer, and thus I had more time to dread them.
    • Being selfish and short-sighted is a key part of Calvin's character. As far as he's concerned, whenever he loses a conflict, he's a helpless victim and the winner is a cruel aggressor, whether he was the one to start it or not. And while his fear of Rosalyn is hardly rational when you look at what she actually does, that's the whole point; Calvin lacks the perspective to realize that the authority figures in his life aren't actively malevolent or conspiring to make him miserable. Heck, in some strips he seems to think that his own parents are trying to kill him.
    • Calvin resents any sort of authority that keeps him from acting the way he wants to, Rosalyn is just more frightening because she is technically a stranger his parents are giving authority to for no reason, in Calvin's view. He has to obey his parents because they're his parents, he has to obey Mrs Wormwood because she's his teacher, Rosalyn is just this random person his parents are paying.
    • "The worst she can do is yell at him and send him to bed." Actually, no. There was the story where Calvin tried to exploit this by already being in bed, so instead she forced him out of bed and downstairs where he had to write a full confession in paper for his parents.
    • Calvin's parents and teachers usually react to his antics with weary indifference, or with a rote standard punishment (go to bed, write lines, etc.) if he crosses the line. Rosalyn is a lot more creative when it comes to fighting back. Put simpler — she's unpredictable and closer to his level.
    • Rosalyn also made a bad first impression on Calvin in her daily strip appearance. She came over and locked him in the garage for several hours, to the point where he hid in the car to make sure she was properly dropped off and was terrified. We don't even know why, and she proceeds to talk on the phone with her boyfriend about it about how she handled whatever situation "the little monster" instigated. When later on she tries to offer to make popcorn with him, he runs off before he can hear the offer. It's kinda on Rosalyn that she doesn't at least try to understand Calvin's perspective until she bribes him in the last arc about playing his favorite game and letting him stay up half an hour past bedtime.
    • Rosalyn also doesn't play by the same rules his parents and teachers do. There is a limit to what kind of punishments his teachers can set, and his parents love him despite their frustration with his antics, so they will be holding back a little bit. Rosalyn, however, neither has the same limits, nor has the same affection for him; he's just a snot-nosed kid she's hired to watch over for a few hours, so as long as he's in one piece by the end of it she can be a lot tougher in a way that he's less used to.
    • Two reasons:
      • 1. Calvin's tendency towards hypocrisy isn't unheard of. In the case of adults or others denying him what he feels entitled to or doing what he believes to be interfering with peace and happiness for him, he'll generally accuse them of sadistic motives whilst ignoring that he'll pull pranks on his long-suffering parents, disrupt class and throw water balloons/snowballs at Susie out of a need for amusement no matter how many times it comes back to bite him in the rear. Even then, however, some of the folks he knows (e.g. his parents, Rosalyn, Susie and even Hobbes etc.) do tend to respond quite harshly (a bit too much so in some cases) which would no doubt seem very intense from a six-year-old's perspective.
      • 2. On top of that, he's a highly-imaginative six year old who is often shown to imagine others as "enemies" for himself to battle (particularly for his Stupendous Man and Spaceman Spiff personas) rather than trying to understand their thoughts and feelings when it comes to a situation. Rosalyn is no exception and given the way she retaliates to his antics, it's only natural that he'll immediately jump the gun on guessing her intentions and assume she's a monstrous villain for him to defeat.
     Don't Say You're Home—No Problem 
  • So we all know the Running Gag: Calvin comes home from school and yells "I'm home". Hobbes hears this, and pounces on Calvin. It's pretty obvious Calvin dislikes this, and he tries to come up with all sorts of plans to stop it. The question is, why doesn't he just stop yelling "I'm home" when he comes to the door?
    • Calvin has a tendency to overthink problems and come up with complicated solutions instead of a simpler, more practical solution. It's entirely likely that in his determination to outwit Hobbes, this simply hasn't occurred to him.
    • It's possible that his mother told him to yell that whenever he comes home, so his mother knows he got home safely, and so she can clean up any mess he makes when he walks in the door.
    • He did twice. Once, he yelled before opening the door causing Hobbes to hit his head. He also snuck around through the back door to scare Hobbes.
    • Various lines throughout the series make it seem more like The Glomp than an attack, as Hobbes is just very happy to see him after he's gone at school all day.
     What's the Point? 
  • What was the overall point to Calvin and Hobbes? Something to do with childhood? Is growing up not as important? Why did Watterson end the strip so open-ended?
    • The point is whatever you want it to be. Want it to be a deep philosophical comic? Fine. Want it to be a lighthearted comic about being a kid? Cool. Want it to be a good story and nothing more? Awesome. Personally, I'm a combo of all three.
    • As far as the ending, Watterson wanted to stop drawing, but he didn't want the characters to have an ending. He lets them go.
     Why Did it Need an Edit? 
  • This strip. The dialogue was clearly edited down; "right" is slightly different, and the balloon is way too big for the text. Any possible idea as to what the original could've been that required an edit?
    • It's possible Watterson had written something and then erased it and didn't want to redraw the strip.
    • Given the subject matter of the strip, it's entirely plausible that Watterson had written something that he decided was TOO disgusting and toned it down. Maybe he got a little more specific about what "make it right" entailed and decided after the fact that it was too much.
     Hobbes and His Wandering Personality 
  • If there's one thing about the strip that kind of bothers me, it's the way Hobbes is characterized. Sometimes he'll be the voice of reason but other times he'll childishly mock Calvin, attack him or mess with him for no good reason at all. Yes, sometimes he does these things in response to something jerkish that Calvin does, but my point is that he does many of these things with little to no provocation whatsoever. For example, when a bee lands on Calvin's back, Hobbes not only refuses to help him (not wanting the bee to go after HIM) but also deliberately goes through his comic stash and starts to read aloud from them and even tricks him into thinking it's gone only for him to get stung, all of which despite Calvin having done barely anything wrong. Granted, he does insult Hobbes but only because he's understandably angry. Speaking of his comics, Calvin once complained to his mother about Hobbes ruining them and even snarling at him when told to get his own. Maybe there's some reason for it that I can't think of, but I find Hobbes' characterization is kind of inconsistent. After all, what kind of friend would flip-flop from being reasonable to childish bullying and such at the drop of a hat?
    • In fairness, Hobbes is not a human being. Ultimately, he's a big cat, and haven't you ever petted a cat only to have it abruptly turn and bite or claw at you? 'Playing' with Calvin like a cat with a mouse could simply be a way he shows affection. On another note, it is possible that the strips where the duo had a tender moment one minute and were insulting each other the next could have been written with a few hours in-between, at least, and simply reflect how the mood changed. After all, it is not uncommon for human friends to disagree with one another- sometimes in a way that can seem quite serious to an independent observer.
    • Hobbes' characterization varies according to the needs of an indivudual strip or story arc, similar to how his schoolwork can be shown as either ridiculously easy or absurdly complex depending on whether the reader is meant to think of Calvin as lazy or overwhelmed. Sometimes Hobbes and Calvin are like-minded buddies who only have minor and inconsequential disagreements, sometimes Hobbes is Calvin's only solace in an unrelentingly hostile world, sometimes Hobbes is part of the hostile world and just another bully in Calvin's life, and sometimes he's a pretty chill tiger who can nonetheless be provoked into delivering some karmic payback if Calvin's acting bratty.
      • Fair enough. I have no problem with Hobbes dishing out retribution to Calvin when the latter genuinely deserves it. Heck, I'll even accept that he just sometimes does what he does out of tiger instinct, but I think there's one incident that either one doesn't justify. When Calvin got sick in the middle of the night, shortly after his mother was done checking on him, Hobbes not only rudely demanded "Face that way!" because his friend was sick but shortly after Calvin was understandably worried about how sick he was and questioned if it would be his final night alive, Hobbes flatly says he can look forward to having the bed all to himself. You could argue that Hobbes was crabby because Calvin awoke him so late at night, but there's being cranky and then there's that, especially when all Calvin did was get sick. Sure, Calvin's not the nicest or most morally sound person, but with the occasions where Hobbes has legitimately taken pity on Calvin, this seems rather jarring. This is what I mean when I say that Hobbes' characterization is varied to the point of confusing.
    • Makes complete sense if you've ever had a sibling—younger or older. You can go from hugging and talking gently and reasonably about your feelings to pummeling each other over comic books within an hour or so.
      • True. But I think I can explain things a bit further: Hobbes knocking Calvin into next week for something bratty? I can tolerate that. Hobbes acting in a tigerlike way on impulse? Fine. Calvin and Hobbes in a childish but relatively benign disagreement? I don't mind. But there's other things about him that bother me. In the "bee-on-Calvin's-back" storyline, he was deliberately being a jerk to him without Calvin doing anything at all to warrant it (granted, Calvin does insult him, but in annoyance because Hobbes was about to spoil a comic he hadn't yet read) and without "tiger impulse". And the main reason I bring this up... is because Hobbes has been known to act as smarter and more reasonable than Calvin at times (occasional selfish hankerings for tuna notwithstanding). To name a couple examples, he admonished Calvin for insulting Susie to the point where she cried and even initially pointed out that taking her doll would be stealing, yet he has no compunctions about bullying him and even steals/defaces his (Calvin's) comic books without permission. Not to mention he professes his affections for Susie Derkins (much to Calvin's chagrin) and yet he not only agreed to be a member of G.R.O.S.S., but is also occasionally shown to be just as active in plans to torment Susie as Calvin is. And not always with aggression, as there was that one strip where he asked Calvin hypothetical questions about what he'd do if it were his last day on Earth (because Calvin was intent on splashing him with a water balloon) and says "it might not be (his) last day on Earth" (seriously, who would give an Implied Death Threat to a kid and still be considered morally sound afterward?). To me, this implies that Hobbes has a sense of morality but freely ditches it for selfish amusement, especially if he's well aware of what he's doing. Even worse, unlike Calvin, he doesn't ever get so much as a slight bit of comeuppance for it. How does this make for a likable character, let alone a valid best friend? And yet Moe is portrayed as someone not to like for harming Calvin a great deal?
     What Happened to Shady Acres? 
  • If I recall correctly, Calvin and Hobbes first came across the Odd Tree Stump in a story arc where some of the woods were bulldozed to make room for a place called "Shady Acres Condominiums". However, they pass by this stump many more times over the rest of the series. What happened to Shady Acres?
    • Considering that they're on Comic-Book Time, Shady Acres likely doesn't exist after that comic. Quite possibly the wood that was cut down that time is the same wood that recurs throughout the run of the strip.
    • It's also entirely possible that the "Shady Acres" comic took place after the "forest" strips published after it. No one said any of the comics took place in order.
     No Imagination for the Beanie? 
  • How is it that Calvin can imagine himself piloting his toy planes, but was completely unable to come up with anything to do with his motorized beanie? Even after the initial disappointment that it didn't actually fly wore off, he saw zero potential in it?
    • The entire joke of that story arc is that Calvin spent six weeks OBSESSING over one stupid toy, only to become immediately disappointed with it upon receiving it.
    • Also, the point was that Calvin anticipated the beanie with such passion that when he finally had it assembled, it didn't turn out as he expected. I can tell you from experience that this is indeed common. When I was a kid, I would want a lot of cool things (toys or video games) just because I saw a commercial that made them look super-cool or something similar, oftentimes only to end up with an inferior product that is now collecting dust on the shelves. His case isn't much different.
     The Only One With a Limited Wardrobe 
  • Why do Calvin's parents change their outfits regularly, but Calvin himself wears the same thing every single day?
    • Out of universe: Calvin is the protagonist, so it makes sense for him to be immediately recognizable—spiky blond haircut, striped red shirt, instant recognition. (More cynically, it's great for branding purposes in advertising/merchandising). In universe: maybe he's just really, really attached to that shirt. Kids can be weird that way. He does have other clothes—shown by this strip where he gets attacked by his clothes, and any time he has to pick up his room—and he's very unwillingly put on a suit and tie a few times.
      • Considering Watterson's pretty open distaste for merchandising his characters (one of the reasons he ended the comic was because he felt he couldn't hold on to the strip's artistic integrity), I doubt your cynical interpretation is correct in this case.
     Like Father and Mother, Unlike Son 
  • How is Calvin the way he is? I mean, he's so creative and curious and inventive, but his parents are sticks in the mud (with his Dad having some philosophical thoughts from time to time and his Mom being hinted to have been like Calvin when she was a child), his school doesn't seem geared towards improving creativity, and the only 'real friend' he has who has any imagination uses it to mostly pretend she's a Grown Up. You think he would act more like his Parents to some extent, but he is almost completely different from both of them personality wise. It's as if Calvin was living with a Crazy Relative from birth, but then was given back to his Birth Parents the year the comic is set.
    • Despite what Back to the Future may tell you, offspring don't tend to have the same exact personalities as their parents. Also, Calvin is heavily implied to be a Gifted child stuck in an uncaring, unengaging public school system. Maybe if he was dumber, he'd act closer to them.
    • Part of the answer might be right there in your question; his parents do (or did) have their mischievous sides. His dad's brother Uncle Max is implied to live a little fast even as an adult, and has more tolerance for Calvin's imagination than the others. For all we know, Calvin will grow up to be just as boring as them one day.
    • It's also implied on multiple occasions Calvin's Dad had a bit of a wild streak growing up (notably when Calvin gets a hold of his college yearbook). Also after one particularly nightmarish doctor's visit, Calvin's Mom says she hopes he grows up to have a kid like him someday. Calvin replies that his grandmother told him that she used to say the same thing.
    • In fairness, Calvin's a kid and his parents aren't. Calvin can be free and wild and creative because he has no responsibilities in life. Calvin's parents have responsibilities — one of which, incidentally, is making sure Calvin gets to adulthood without starving, dying from exposure or killing himself. They have to be a little bit boring.

     Scary Bath? 
  • Why is Calvin afraid of taking a bath?
    • Truth in Television: many children in real life absolutely despise the bathtub for various reasons. Calvin's fear of baths is just a representation of that real life fear.
     50% Good Report, 50% Lazy Report 
  • So in that one story arc where Susie and Calvin are assigned to do a report on Mercury (both the planet and its namesake), she's concerned that she'll fail just because he isn't doing his share of work while she herself does fine. I get that Calvin wasn't working on the assignment even when she repeatedly berated him for it and ultimately gave a fudged report to the class... but shouldn't she be aware that her half of the work will get acknowledged while his fails?
    • We don't know exactly how Ms. Wormwood planned to grade the assignment, but most school team-assignments are meant to teach cooperation, and thus each kid involved gets the same grade for the collective quality of the product. Plus, Susie is exactly the type to be furious if anything with her name tied to it isn't 100% perfect.
     A World of Wandering Morals and Characterizations 
  • Something regarding the nature of the comic strip; it seems as though some of the characters (and setting in general) are prone to contradictions in one way, shape or form. To name a few examples, Moe is acknowledged as a character you're expected to despise because he bullies Calvin yet we're still supposed to consider Hobbes a likable protagonist even after he does the same, who in turn can go from voice of reason to childish bully deliberately getting a rise out of his best friend and so much more (see the folder regarding his random personality), Susie doesn't think highly of Calvin for his attitude, misbehaviour and such but all it takes is even a failed throw of a snowball or water balloon to send her into a seething rage and clobber him to a pulp etc. As for the setting, its morality is inconsistent. Calvin, the naughty, impulsive and selfish brat we know and love, is the only character who ever seems to get his just desserts, namely when he does something wrong just before bad things happen to him. Meanwhile, Hobbes can get away with bullying his own friend without provocation even though he should comedically suffer as a consequence by the logic of how Calvin is treated. Similarly, anyone else can get away with inflicting it upon Calvin (even when he did little to nothing wrong). The question is, was there some sort of deeper meaning or complexity to it that Watterson intended for and I could never quite grasp?
    • Hobbes' behaviour is perfectly, completely, 100% consistent with an older sibling, who will hug you and comfort you and play games with you one moment and tease you mercilessly—even pummel you to bits—the next. And Susie's logic is perfectly, completely, 100% consistent with being six years old. It's worth noting, and it's been noted in the Headscratchers page above, that we find Calvin charming and funny and sympathetic, but his parents and Susie and Mrs. Wormwood, who have to deal with him every single day, are bound to feel worn down and irritable around him—and that's totally understandable. Calvin gets up to a lot of mischief, and the situations where he's being unfairly treated are pretty rare. That said, when it happens—the school baseball team, for instance—the message seems to be: sometimes you can try your hardest, and you'll still fail and people will still chew you out, and it sucks. But as long as you have friends like Hobbes, and can find joy in your own hobbies (like Calvinball), you'll be alright.
    • OK. Those seem like fine reasons, but allow to me clarify part of my question better: the fact that Hobbes never suffers for the times in which he genuinely does wrong (ethical code he freely disregards notwithstanding). It's common for characters in certain comedic settings for jerkish characters to do wrong only to have things comically blow up in their faces afterward, Tom, Ranma Saotome and (pre-movie) Squidward Tentacles being notable examples. Calvin is no exception, as mentioned, and it's fine to revel in the consequences of his actions but if the strip justifies it for that reason, then why doesn't Hobbes ever face comedic suffering from the situations where he had no valid reason to antagonize Calvin?
    • He actually does take a few knocks on occasion, Nowhere near as often as Calvin, but there have been moments where Calvin won their fights, or Hobbes suffered a few indignities or Amusing Injuries. So it's not that he never suffers, he just doesn't suffer as much.
    • I think part of the reason for why Hobbes seems to get off so much easier than Calvin (you know, apart from Hobbes being a stuffed tiger) lies in the attitudes of the two characters. Calvin creates a lot of his own misery because he's hardly ever satisfied with anything: He always wants more, and he spends a lot of time complaining that things aren't better or cooler or faster. When he suffers a hardship, he reacts with anger, frustration or occasionally depression. Hobbes, by contrast, is a genuinely content and happy person. He appreciates the small pleasures in life and makes no great demands; give him a sandwich to eat, a warm place to sleep, and a good friend to hang out with, and his life is perfect. If he suffers a hardship he takes it in stride, or he tries to turn the situation into an advantage instead.
    • Alright. Well, the question from earlier bears repeating but I'll rephrase it as thus: did Watterson intend for the characters to come off as contradictory and hypocritical yet multi-faceted and realistic compared to, say, what you find in cheap cartoons of the time? The same question applies for the overall setting and the various ethical standards on display.
     No Good Victim Goes Punished... Presumably 
  • As we know, Susie Derkins isn't above knocking the living daylights out of Calvin when slighted or at least threatening to do so. Some of these have occurred at school, even stated such as Calvin relaying to Hobbes her (unseen) anger with him over his half of the Mercury assignment. How come Susie hasn't gotten in trouble for it? Granted, Calvin is naughty and even causes trouble at school, wearing poor Ms. Wormwood thin, but I doubt a school would allow students to threaten (or presumably pummel, in the case of the assignment) others with violence, even if the one getting threatened has a reputation. In fact, as this troper learned at school, it didn't matter if you were being victimized, even right in front of the teacher, you would almost always get the short end of the stick. On top of that, plenty of North American schools have a "zero tolerance" policy. So my question remains... how does Susie get away with it at school?
    • Values Dissonance. Beverly Cleary's story Mitch and Amy featured a girl taking down a bully and no one acknowledging it; Bridge to Terabithia mentions the same thing with how Jesse can't beat up Janice Avery the school bully because he'd get expelled. The comic was also written before Columbine and zero tolerance became a thing.
     Star Student Mistaken for Misbehaving 
  • Something doesn't make sense to me about the story arc where Calvin tried to get Susie to help him half-bake the insect collection project. Miss Wormwood catches on Susie twice, mistaking her for misbehaving (trying to shush Calvin when he asks for help and writing a retaliatory note to him) and sends her to the principal's office. True, she manages to get the last laugh and Calvin pays for it, but how could Miss Wormwood make this mistake and not realize Calvin was up to no good until later on (especially since she's one of the most frequent victims of Calvin's shenanigans)? Also, since Susie is shown to do very well in class and is for the most part well-behaved (aside from dishing it back to Calvin), shouldn't Miss Wormwood know better than to falsely accuse/punish Susie without question?
    • Susie is a good student but she isn't perfect. One early arc featured Calvin busting her for passing mean notes about him, and them both being sent to the office. It's reasonable for Miss Wormwood to assume that Susie will mess up once in a while.
    • True. But Susie generally isn't disruptive in the classroom like Calvin is and, in the case of her passing notes, he only ended up getting them both sent to the principal's office because he suddenly broadcast it for all the classroom to hear. Sometimes, Calvin doesn't even have to make a gigantic ruckus in order for Miss Wormwood to catch him stepping out of line (for instance, in one strip when he pulls out a periscope from his desk to copy from Susie's paper). Susie, on the other hand, was clearly trying to shush Calvin before she got sent to the front of the desk and couldn't have been that loud, so why Miss Wormwood couldn't have assumed Calvin's antics had to do with this is anyone's guess.
     Loves Her, Loves Her Not... But Why? 
  • Hobbes is an active member of G.R.O.S.S., but he also loves Susie Derkins (who it was primarily made to antagonize in the first place). He has chided Calvin for making her cry with insults, he'll sell him down the river in favour of her (such as the water balloon fight and when she stole him as payback for taking her doll) yet Hobbes willingly joined Calvin's club even after the latter made it clear that the goal was to exclude girls, not to mention that some situations have shown him to actively participate in Calvin's attacks on Susie (such as throwing mushy apples and locking her in a closet) without question. So if Hobbes really loves Susie and will call out Calvin for any wrong he does to her, why does he also have no problem insulting/hurting her along with his friend?
    • Hobbes may on occasion act as the voice of Calvin's conscience, but he's by no means a saint himself. He'll go along with all kinds of mischief if it seems like it'll be fun — he's just better at seeing consequences or potential consequences than Calvin is. So, throwing mushy apples and snowballs, making plans and casual insults? That's just playful roughhousing, like he and Calvin do every day. Actually hurting Susie's feelings? That's taking it too far.
      • Plus, he may have an extra motive for playing "double agent" on occasion: It drives Calvin crazy. And we know how much Hobbes enjoys winding Calvin up.
      • It should be noted that, for all his rhetoric and pranks, Calvin doesn't want to really hurt Susie, either. He obviously feels bad when he upsets her enough to make her cry, and it's heavily implied, if not outright stated, that he's attracted to her and doesn't know how to show it. Hobbes' relationship with Susie isn't that much different from Calvin's own.
      • True, but keep in mind that, the few times Susie has been with Hobbes, she generally treats him with kindness or affection (as mentioned, that Calvin doesn't react well to Hobbes liking her is a running gag), meanwhile Calvin is oftentimes very bratty and instigates fights with him. Since Susie does nothing to antagonize him, you'd think he'd be less inclined to play along with Calvin.
     A Good Calvin Not Good Enough for Susie 
  • One detail about the "Good Calvin duplicate" arc kind of confuses me. Susie harshly rejects Good Calvin's attempts to be nice to him, even going so far as to threaten to clobber him after sending her a love note. Sure, knowing Calvin, Susie can be justified in distrusting him, but wouldn't she want Calvin to behave better, seeing that she has to put up with his antics on a regular basis? Especially considering the implication that the two are attracted to each other but don't know how to express it beyond light aggression. (this is, of course, assuming that Calvin actually was trying to be good)
    • As far as Susie knows, this "Good Calvin" is just another one of Calvin's antics meant to annoy and/or trick her. Therefore, she treats it as such.
    • And yet on many other occasions, she kindly invites him to play house/tea parties and such (often to his chagrin) despite getting bullied by Calvin time and time again. Also, on rare occasions where he's not actively antagonizing her or bothering her with his habits (see the baseball arc), things don't get too intense between the two.

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