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Comic Strip

  • WHY CAN JON SEE WHAT GARFIELD THINKS?!
    • He usually only gets the gist from Garfield's gestures.
      • Sometimes he doesn't even gesture, though. He's just lying, standing, or sitting there.
    • Perhaps Davis occasionally writes strips without realizing that they only make sense if Garfield was actually speaking his thoughts. Any time he counters with a strip specifically stating that Garfield doesn't talk, he's reminding himself more than us.
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    • In this strip Garfield thinks something, and in the same panel Jon shouts from outside the frame "I heard that!" While that is by far one of the best examples of their communication, that's not the only time Jon's said things that would have only made sense if he could see what Garfield was thinking - during the whole of the 1980s and the early 1990s especially, he and Garfield would have loads of interactions that implied that Jon can hear Garfield.
    • Perhaps the most explicit example of this happening is this strip.
      Old Lady: Okay, you have me. Do with me what you will.
      Garfield: Let's kill her.
      Jon: Shut up, Garfield.
    • See also this, this, this, this and this, where Jon hears Garfield's thoughts.
    • The implication is just that Jon knows his cat well enough to know exactly what he's thinking. An early strip had Jon respond to Garfield's thought-bubble quip with "I get the distinct feeling I've just been zinged", and it's just grown from there, to the point that Jon seems like he can "hear" Garfield's thoughts when he's really just making very good guesses. Sort of like a real-time version of The Tape Knew You Would Say That.
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    • The cats being able to see each other's thought bubbles makes sense since real cats can communicate with each other. But it doesn't make any sense for Jon to be able to see Garfield's thought bubbles.
    • It was stated in this strip that Jon can't hear Garfield, yet strips like this clearly show Jon hearing Garfield. Therefore, the rule seems to be that Jon can only hear Garfield when it's funny for Jon to hear Garfield.
    • What if Jon can actually see Garfield's thought bubbles? Considering how self aware they are (or used to be), it's not unlikely that in the world of newspaper comics, people can see thought bubbles. Except sometimes Jon gets lazy and can't be bothered to read it, which is why he can't always hear Garfield.
    • There are even cases where Jon prompts Garfield for his thoughts, which only makes sense if Jon knows what he's thinking.
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  • How did this strip even get past the censors?
  • What's been up with Garfield and Arlene lately? They seemed to be something of Belligerent Sexual Tension when Arlene was a regular, but after this strip, she didn't appear for nine years, and when she finally returned, Garfield actually seems to deny that she's his girlfriend! The sad thing is, before she was (inadvertently?) written out, they actually seemed like an Official Couple! What the heck, Jim Davis? Garfield and Arlene should be the Official Couple, not Jon and Liz!
    • He found Penelope? Less likely to sass him and more likely to give him a large Italian dinner? The choice is obvious.
    • She still shows up in some of the newer animated specials as his love interest. Doesn't explain her absence in the strip, though...
    • Great examples of Arlene and Garfield as a couple are seen in Garfield Gets Real, Garfield's Funfest, and Garfield's Pet Force. Jim Davis is finally admitting that they work together as a couple, with their scenes together being the highlight of these movies for shippers. The first one especially centered around how much Arlene cares for Garfield, and that and the latter two show how much Garfield is willing to actually sacrifice for Arlene. Garfield's Judgement Day, where Garfield heroically faces down a tornado for Arlene's sake, is another classic.
  • What happened to Lyman?! The only hint from Davis is "Don't look in Jon's basement". Great, even the author suspects foul play...
    • According to the game on the Garfield Website called "Scary Scavenger Hunt", he's in chains in the basement of a haunted house.
    • Lyman's role in the strip was to be someone Jon could talk to and express other ideas, but that role was increasingly taken over by Garfield.
    • Except Jon can't talk to Garfield. John knows Garfield's personality enough to get the gist of what Garfield is thinking, but he still can't talk with him, for conversation is a two-way street that they don't have.
    • Odie's biography on the official Garfield website states that Lyman left without taking Odie although there's no explanation for why Lyman left.
    • There's a theory that Lyman moved away and couldn't take Odie with him, so Odie stayed with Jon. As for the meta reason, having Lyman around as a roommate meant that most of Jon's interactions would've been with him, and Garfield's role as the title character would've been overshadowed. Though in the They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot department, a storyline where the focus is on Jon and Lyman's lives as post-college roommates in The '80s, and Garfield's just a secondary character could make a great Penny Arcade-style webcomic.
    • There is a budget computer game on Garfield's website called "Scary Scavenger Hunt II: Donuts of Doom" where Lyman's head could be found in a fridge in Jon's basement.
    • When Lyman was in the strip, some people interpreted Jon and Lyman as a gay couple.
      • OMG LYMAN DIED OF TEH AIDS!!!!11oneone
      • Shouldn't Jon die too, then? One can only hope...
      • Maybe Lyman and Jon simply broke up, and Lyman stood in the doorway, a dejected broken man, and growled to Jon "Keep the dog, slut." and stormed out of that home for the last time.
      • Not surprising; people will interpret anyone as being gay.
    • Check out the storyline in Mayberry Melonpool for a bizarre kind of mass guess, wherein Lyman was cast as Calvin's Uncle Max, then booted into discontinuity along with Opus the Penguin, Calvin, Melonpool himself, and the kid from the Far Side.
    • This is based off of a Cracked article, but apparently the last strip Lyman appeared in, he was being drafted by the army. It was kind of implicit he died at the war. At least for the author of the article.
      • A few problems with that theory: (1) If there had been a strip like that, then people wouldn't have wondered what happened to Lyman all these years. In fact, Lyman's last regular appearance didn't indicate that he was leaving or going anywhere else. (2) There hasn't been a military draft in the U.S. since before the strip started. (3) The Cracked article said that Jim Davis said (not in the strip) that Lyman joined the Peace Corps, not the army, but even that isn't canon.
    • It turns out, Lyman was originally Garfield's translator. Lyman left when Jon could understand Garfield.
    • If The Garfield Show is canon, Lyman gave Odie to Jon and left to become a photographer, and he's been in Australia ever since then.
  • Why does Garfield hate Mondays? Garfield doesn't work. He doesn't have a nine-to-five job. To him, a parasite unto society, it should merely be another day.
  • Where do the stripes on Garfield's legs go when he stands up?
  • Why doesn't he walk on all four anymore? He is a cat.
    • He really should only walk on two legs when it's absolutely necessary especially as jokes can work whether he's on four legs or two legs. His bipedal behavior can be justified when he's fantasizing, though it's less and less common to see the Caped Avenger. Hopefully we get to see a quadrupedal Garfield in the comics soon!
    • Charles Schulz actually showed Jim Davis how to get more expression out of Garfield by making him walk on two legs. I don't think you can blame the creator of Snoopy for anything, really.
    • Garfield on two legs has been going on so long, it's stopped being bothersome for many fans. The more recent instance of Odie! on two legs is disturbing, largely because he still has a quadrupedal body shape.
    • Garfield actually wants to walk on hind legs. That way he can reach tables, kick-drop Odie and tap-dance. Jon on very few occasions does discourage Garfield from walking on hind legs because it's not very cat-like. What was Garfield's reaction? He ignored that and just walked away from Jon.
    • Garfield has long become less of a cat and acted more like a human as the comics progressed. He drinks coffee, eats human foods like lasagna, burgers, pizza and ice cream and even takes tennis lessons.
  • How has Jon not gotten rid of Garfield yet? He's a Jerkass to him and Odie, steals Jon's meals, eats Jon's goldfish and birds, publicly humiliates Jon numerous times, and yet Jon thinks of him as his 'pal'. If Jon gave Garfield away, his life would be so much better!
    • Because Jon's screwy in the brain. Read this strip.
    • There have been numerous strips that indicate Garfield is the true master and disciplinarian of the house rather than Jon. In the May 8th, 1986 strip, Garfield handed him a legal document that states he is the owner of the house. Jon tried to challenge it as forgery, and Garfield enthusiastically accepted this preparing to take it to court. In conclusion, Garfield is the legal owner of their property, Jon's only allowed to live in Garfield's house by feeding him. Garfield has every legal right to kick Jon out of the house, NOT the other way around.
    • He expects Garfield to exterminate the mice who are running around in the house.
    • Jon mentioned in his childhood that he was bullied and harassed by other neighborhood boys all the time, so what Garfield does to him might not be as bad compared to what they did.
    • There was a strip when Garfield and Odie both ran away from home in the 80s for about a month, and Jon got depressed because of how lonely he got before he went to work vigorously searching for them, meaning he treats them like his own children.
    • Probably because Jon still loves him despite it, as shown that whenever they're separated, Jon ends up missing Garfield. Also, even with Liz as his girlfriend now, he's pretty lonely in general (Liz doesn't live with him quite yet) and Jon often commiserates with Garfield or does things with him that he probably wouldn't be able to do when he's with Odie. Not to mention, realistically, if a surly, elderly tomcat like Garfield was sent to a shelter, he would have an extremely little chance of being adopted, and Jon may be aware of that and doesn't want to leave Garfield to that kind of fate, since he has shown that he loves Garfield and would probably feel very guilty if he did something like that.
      • Because Liz would dump his ass in a heartbeat.
      • Liz is a veterinarian. Before Jon and Liz started going steady (as opposed to the occasional disastrous dates he would have with any woman), Garfield was his ticket to seeing her on a regular basis and his opportunity to hit on her as well as ask her out. Get rid of Garfield before then, and he gets rid of his ticket. Why he keeps Garfield now, though...
      • It's kind of unethical to get rid of your pet just because it misbehaves, but in any case they have a love/hate relationship and Garfield is also good to him or saves his neck once in a while.
      • Jon does state that if Garfield didn't do those things, he wouldn't be a cat.
  • On a related note, why are Garfield and Jon still living in that house? Every time they pull the 'Garfield's a lousy mouser' gag, the house is littered with these huge rats that get into every nook and cranny of the house. Same with the spiders. Move somewhere where there isn't so much vermin running around, Jon!
    • Rule of Funny: Jon's an ignoramus. He doesn't realize there are other houses out there, all he ever thinks about is making Garfield get rid of them.
    • And Jon might not want to move somewhere- that gets him further away from the vet clinic Liz works at!
    • First, Jon may have to put his house on the market to afford another house since being a cartoonist he doesn't make much money. Who would want to buy a house on the market that has mice vermin swarming in it?
    • In this strip, Garfield won a new house via telephone, but when he was asked to give his name and address, he couldn't because he couldn't speak, and he ended up not getting a new house. Shit.
    • A few strips had Garfield regulating what the mice do, like when one put in a bay window, or when they ran down John's car battery. Garfield probably keeps the mice out of sight enough that he gets away with it. The spiders probably hide enough that Jon doesn't notice.
    • Jon just thinks it's easier to make Garfield, who is his pet cat, get rid of the mice as cats are supposed to do than it is to find another house. I also like to think that even if Jon DID get another house, all of the mice would follow him there and continue to drive him crazy. After all, it's not the house that the mice want, what the mice really want is the food that Jon provides (especially if it's cheese).
  • Why does everyone hate on the "We're bachelors, baby" strips so much? It's a.) not the first time he's done variations on the same gag in one week, and b.) only been used 8 times overall.
    • No offense to the writers, but that joke was lazy. Jon just says something off-putting then claims he can deal with it, and then Garfield just responds this line.
  • Garfield is shown killing spiders because they annoy him, or simply for fun. The spiders are portrayed just as intelligent and human-like as him. This basically makes him a sadistic mass murderer. Now dark humour is nothing new, however the comic also portrays Garfield as an essentially nice person, a Jerk with a Heart of Gold if you will. How are these two aspects reconcilable?
    • Remember the nature of your average housecat. Domesticated cats are among the only animals that kill simply because they get bored. Housecats kill for fun, ask any cat owner. The 'Killer Rabbit' page even confirms this. Garfield's actions in this regard are a touch of realism.
    • He's not killing the spiders. He's just squishing them. There have been a lot of strips showing the squished spiders still conscious. Hell, one showed the spiders have hospitals!
    • True, spiders often survive being squished, but sometimes they unquestionably die. Like in the above strip or the long dead spiders mentioned in this one.
    • Probably the same reason that you would swat a fly, mosquito, or hell, a spider if you saw one whether it was bugging you or not; while you (hopefully) wouldn't kill most animals or human beings even if they were annoying the hell out of you. It's socially acceptable to kill pests.
  • The strip on July 25, 2011 is exactly same the November 9, 2009 one. Not similar, but exactly the same, word-to-word. Making a joke that he already made once years ago when he's out of ideas, I can understand. But giving us the exact same strip... what does this guy take us for, idiots?
    • I had to look this up for myself and wow, just wow. For better or worse, though, Jim Davis hasn't drawn the finished strips himself for a long time. He writes and sketches them, but then they're sent to other artists for the inking, lettering and coloring. In this case, since literally the only thing that's different is the coloring, I'd guess that an old strip got sent out for color processing by mistake. Still not much better, but it reveals more about the strip's own creative process than what he thinks about the readers.
      • The really bizarre thing is that they aren't identical. The dialogue is the same but look at certain details, like in the 2011 strip, Irma is holding a coffee pot, but not in the 2009 strip. In the 2009 strip Garfield is sitting next to Jon and Jon is looking at Irma, but in the 2011 strip he is out of frame and Jon is looking towards where he would be. 2011: Irma adjusts her glasses while looking at Garfield; 2009: she doesn't. In fact, everything about Irma is drawn differently. Davis clearly redrew the strip, so what doesn't make sense is why the dialogue is exactly the same.
      • The dialogue is not exactly the same, actually. In the 2011 version, Garfield says "I wouldn't talk with legs like those". In the 2009 strip, he says "I wouldn't talk with those legs".
    • This has happened before as far back as the 80s. December 12th, 1982 and August 6th, 1984. Also, April 7th, 1982 and March 20th, 1986.
      • There's a difference between the same joke being used in different strips and the same strip being published twice.
    • This also happened in these two strips.
    • Look at the responses asked by one of the previous headscratchers. Most likely, it's just Creator's Apathy.
  • Why is Garfield listed as a Karma Houdini? While he frequently does awful things without direct consequences, the suffering that follows him (especially on Mondays, or when he does a dumb thing, but on many other occasions as well), plus the fact that he does not always win, even when dealing with Jon, should imply that Karma hunts him; he is just quicker about doing the bad deeds than Karma is about paying him back.
    • Because of the assumption that protagonists who do bad things must be Karma Houdinis unless they're explicitly pointed out as not being so.
  • What exactly is a catburger? Is it a hamburger specifically meant for cats? Or, is Platypus Comix's theory correct, meaning Jon may be fattening up Garfield all these years to make a hearty meal on the grill?
  • Is the song featured in this strip a real song, or was it just made up?
    • Probably made up. A quick lyric search doesn't find anything relevant except this comic itself. Besides, using a real song would force Davis and Co. to pay its artist for use.
  • Cat who eats anything, with few exceptions, and in exaggeratedly great quantities. Refrigerator that commonly has leftovers dating back to before the invention of the icebox, occasionally having evolved the ability to move and possibly vocalize. These occupy the same house... how?
    • Can it really be considered food at that point? As for how it got there, maybe Lyman left it behind.
  • Why do Garfield and Jon keep coming to Irma's diner to eat if she's an ignorant and occasionally rude waitress and she makes inedible food? I know Garfield probably can't choose not to come because only Jon drives.
    • Based on how genuinely enthusiastic Jon and even Garfield is sometimes coming to her diner, I assume that her food actually is good, marred sometimes by the crazy stuff we see her give them. But us readers only see the crazy parts, because them sipping regular coffee and eating real food makes for a boring strip. Either that or her place is just crazy nostalgic for them and they come back anyway.
    • Irma seems to offer generous portions of food, even putting up the He-Man Burger on her menu which is a burger that has a 5-pound ground beef patty.
    • According to Garfield in the book Garfield's Guide to Everything, he considers it all part of the "down-and-dirty charm".
  • From what I hear, Jon and Liz are a couple now. Wasn't Jon this insecure loser who talks to to his cat? Did a new writer think it was too depressing, and decided to give him a girlfriend?
    • In one strip, Liz admits she really doesn't know why she started dating Jon since July 2006.
    • Perhaps Jim Davis thought the comic strip went long enough (almost 3 decades) without any primary female characters and he decided now's a good time to add a female to the main cast? He might have wanted to keep the strip interesting which is why you see Arlene more often this decade than in the 1990s or 2000s.
    • Apparently, for Garfield's anniversary they asked fans what they wanted to see happen in the strip, and the fans requested that they give Jon a life.
  • Whenever Jon announces to Garfield that he's driving them to the farm to go see their family, why does Garfield keep refusing to go when he can get fed all he wants by Jon's mother who fixes up a lot of food?
    • Perhaps Aesop Amnesia over the lesson of "Don't judge people until you've actually met them in-person". Also it doesn't seem Garfield will be satisfied with just an ample supply of food there, he also wants TV and it turns out Jon's family has only three channels. He already gets all the food he wants at home because of how much Jon spoils him plus at least 200 channels on TV.
    • He considers the farm boring.
  • What does Jon actually sit on at the table? You never see a chair behind him, and the angle he sits at when he is eating just doesn't look natural.
    • The strip of November 10, 2020 has Jon annoyed with Garfield for "kicking [his] chair", but we still don't see an actual chair behind Jon.
    • The strip of January 3, 2015 features an upturned stool amongst the table and accessories after Garfield sneezes and sends Jon and the furniture flying.
  • Why does Jon take Garfield everywhere with him but not Odie? There have been trips and holidays where Odie isn't even mentioned.
    • If Jon tries to take a vacation or go on a date on his own, Garfield often sneaks in without Jon knowing about it. So it's not that Jon takes Garfield everywhere, it's just that he can't get Garfield to stay home.
    • Also, Garfield's a voracious Big Eater who frequently demands meals let alone in large portions. Jon needs to bring Garfield with him everywhere he goes to keep him constantly fed but Odie has only been shown gorging on food in big portions only a few times.
    • Jon probably thinks it's too much of a hassle to bring both Garfield and Odie on a trip. Garfield and Odie constantly fight with each other.

Garfield media outside the Comic Strip

  • This isn't about the strip itself, but why do the DVDs of Garfield and Friends use the international prints of the show, where U.S. Acres is known as Orson's Farm?
    • The show's creators must have assumed that homeland viewers here in the United States would understand the pun-intended title "U.S. Acres" better than international viewers. While Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom would understand what the acronym USA stands for, other countries may not.
    • Probably so that the Spanish dub would match up. My beef with this is that the international version doesn't include the third theme song. Don't get me wrong; I don't like it, but I'm one of those collector types and wish it had been on there for completion's sake. At least they kept Garfield's quotations intact.
  • Garfield Gets Real. So Garfield lives in a comic strip universe parallel to the real-world and ends up in the real-world...but the real-world looks exactly like the comic strip world (by virtue of being animated the same way) and has unbelievable, cartoony things and characters in it just like the comic strip world, so what's the point and/or difference?
    • I don't recall the "real world" of Garfield Gets Real possessing any flying superheroes, animate garbage cans, hyper-speed prop boys, sauropod buildings and a house that has eyes and can yawn.
    • When trying to get his comic strip back, Garfield auditioned by kicking Odie off the table. While in the comic strip world, Odie was fine. In the real world, Odie genuinely did get hurt and so the judges denounced that as violent. There's definitely a difference in laws of physics between the two worlds.
    • The comic strip world does seem a lot kinder to animals, given that animals in the comic strip world are treated as equals to humans and they serve as an integral component of entertainment and show business as while the real world outcasts animals which forces them to live in and eat out of dumpsters.

Movie

  • Why does Jon immediately assume that Garfield was the one who destroyed his study? Of course Garfield did it, but he did it unintentionally in a really, really accidental chain reaction when no one was around. What if maybe two robbers had robbed the house and caused all that mess?
  • How exactly did Garfield prevent Odie from entering the house again through the pet door if he used it to sneak back into the house? By the way, how was Garfield prevented from entering the house through the same door after Jon kicked him out for the mess he caused?
  • During the climax, how do Pernskitty, the animal control pound dogs and the rats appear out of nowhere to save Garfield and Odie from Happy Chapman if Garfield never told any of them that he was going to the Union Station to rescue Odie? Yes, Garfield told them that he was gonna rescue Odie, but he never specified that he was going to a train station.


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