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The comic strip

  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: A lot of the quotes attributed to him were either only said in merchandising and book covers, or said once in the strip and forgotten. "I'm not overweight, I'm undertall" was only ever said as such in the first compilation book, Garfield at Large (he later said it to the reader as part of one of his semi-annual National Fat Week strips).
  • Defictionalization
    • Being a teddy bear, Pooky gets this occasionally.
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    • The website www.coffeequick.com was briefly up just to see how many readers would look it up in the strip where Garfield visits a site by that name (the domain has since been bought by a coffee maker company). Back then, the site would take you to a Garfield official game called Bean Me! that involves you giving Garfield a variety of coffees to help wake him up. Another strip had a website www.dingleball.com that when accessed loaded a Flash game featuring Odie.
  • Development Gag: The August 15, 1978 strip had Garfield remarking that Odie should have been named Spot. Odie's original name was Spot, and Jim Davis changed it when he found out that name was taken already.
  • Edited for Syndication: The October 20, 2002 strip originally quoted Robert Frost's "Nothing Gold Can Stay", but replaced it with original dialogue for the book and online reprints due to the poem still being under copyright at the time (the copyright has since lapsed in the United States and in countries where copyright expires 50 years after the author's death).
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  • Executive Meddling: Davis was forced to change Odie's ears from black to brown by the publisher because they apparently made him look too much like Snoopy somehow.
  • Fan Nickname: Dark Deity Garfield, Deep God Garfield Garf-Sothoth, Gorefield, Garfthulhu, Calamity Garfield, etc. for the Eldritch Abomination version of Garfield that tends to appear online.
  • Follow the Leader: Jim Davis developed a book format for the first Garfield compilation, which featured very wide pages to accommodate the three-panel strip horizontally as it appeared in the paper, as opposed to being vertically stacked like most comic strip trade books of the day. This wide-page format came to be known as the "Garfield format". Many other comic strips soon followed suit with their own books, including The Far Side and FoxTrot. Ironically, since 2001, Garfield itself no longer uses the Garfield format for its compilations, and the earlier "Garfield format" compilations have been republished in a more standard style.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Two Garfield books: Babes and Bullets and Garfield: His 9 Lives are out of print, and neither are listed on the Garfield Website's store. Interestingly, the animated specials based on both books are listed on the Garfield Website store.
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    • A 1986 compilation of original gags, The Unabridged Uncensored Unbelieveable Garfield, is also out of print.
  • Milestone Celebration: Every June 19 (the date the strip debuted) celebrates Garfield's 'birthday'. It's the only comic to celebrate its anniversary every year.
    • June 19, 1988 is Garfield's 10th birthday. Jon and Garfield proceed to look through a photo album and see images of the last ten years. Jim Davis even makes a cameo.
    Jon: You've really changed in ten years, Garfield.
    Garfield: Feed me.
    • 2003 marks Garfield's 25th birthday. In a series of strips leading up to his 25th birthday Garfield meets himself from 1978.
    • 2018 is Garfield's 40th Birthday. Nothing special about the birthday itself, but a special anniversary book called "Age Happens: Garfield Hits The Big 4-0" was released. The book contains a collection of every birthday comic strip to be released and features fan art from both fans and comic artists alike, along with an intro by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
  • Missing Episode:
    • Most online archives inexplicably omit the first and fifth panels from the February 22, 1981 strip, as pointed out by Square Root of Minus Garfield.
    • For some reason, May 2-5, 1990 never made it into Garfield Takes Up Space, and the next book (Garfield Says a Mouthful) starts with the May 6. This is true of the "Fat Cat 3-Pack" reprints of those books, but they finally return in the colorized "square" reprint of Takes Up Space (they're also available on garfield.com).
    • Jim Davis did two comic strips before Garfield: Gnorm Gnat and Jon, an early prototype that would evolve into Garfield. Many of these strips though have not been seen outside their original publication in the Pendleton Times of Pendleton, Indiana, the only newspaper to print them both.
  • Money, Dear Boy: Jim Davis made no secret of the fact that he created the strip to make money. He chose a cat as the subject because he felt it was a widely relatable topic. These days, he works more with the Garfield merchandise while only writing and thumb nailing the comics.
  • Mythology Gag: When asked about the fate of Jon's friend Lyman after he'd been phased out, Jim Davis half-jokingly replied "Don't look in Jon's basement." In the online game "Garfield's Spooky Scavenger Hunt," Lyman is chained up in the basement of the haunted house.
  • Padding: There are quite a number of Sunday comics with a gag that could easily be done in the usual 3 panels, but are stretched out over 6 - 7 panels with unnecessary scenes. Take this one for example.
  • Pop Culture Urban Legends: Garfield is really Dead All Along. This legend stems from Epileptic Trees caused by 1989 strips where Garfield has dream where he's in an abandoned house.
  • Quote Source:
  • Reality Subtext: "When I go on a diet, Garfield goes on one too."
  • Recycled Script: A lot. See the subpage.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers: There was a short run of Believe it, or don't gags... until PAWS Inc. got a cease-and-desist letter from the Robert Ripley estate.
  • What Could Have Been: Odie was originally going to be called Spot.
    • This is somewhat alluded to in a strip where Garfield ripped off Odie's spot and put it on his belly. When Jon attempts to scold him and Odie chases him for his spot back, Garfield states, "Call me Spot!"
    • Jim Davis did an early version of Garfield called Jon from 1976 to 1978, named after main character Jon Arbuckle; in this work, Garfield was more of a secondary character, and Odie was indeed called "Spot". More information about it exists on the Lost Media Wiki.
  • The Wiki Rule: The Garfield Wiki.
  • Word of God: When a particularly dark fan theory about the infamous 1989 Halloween strips — which posited that Garfield was still in a Bad Future where he was left by himself in a completely abandoned neighborhood, and that his vision of him reuniting with Jon and Odie at the end was his Dying Dream as he slowly starves to death — Jim Davis laughed the theory off and explained that Garfield's nightmarish vision was indeed All Just a Dream.
  • Write What You Know: In the early days of the strip, Jim Davis would fall asleep at his desk at random intervals while writing. He turned this into Garfield's "nap attacks."
  • Write Who You Know:
    • Garfield is based on, and named for, Jim's grandfather.
    • Like Jim, Jon grew up on a farm and later moved to the city. Davis has also said that he's based some of Jon's dating disasters on some of his own dating experiences.

The film version

  • California Doubling: In the second film, the city of York in northern England stands in for London. Noticeable in that the "London" seen in the film is a very hilly place, whereas the real London is almost entirely flat.
  • Old Shame:
    • Bill Murray, playing himself, in Zombieland says he regrets being in the first movie. He even admitted on Reddit that he only signed onto the film because he thought one of the writers, Joel Cohen, was another director with a very similar name.
    • Breckin Meyer's Twitter bio: Um...sorry about that whole Garfield thing. He's also repeatedly taken shots at himself for it on Robot Chicken.
    • For that matter, Paws Inc. doesn’t mention the film much either. The only extensive mention of it was in a book, “Lights, Camera, Hairballs: Garfield at the Movies” which was mainly made as promotion for the sequel. Besides that, they’ve ignored the movies in the years since. What complicates things more is that now Paws Inc. is owned by Viacom, the movie is now in the hands of a different studio entirely, which is now under ownership of Disney.
  • Preview Piggybacking: Arguably, the only reason anyone saw the first movie when it aired on The Hub was to see the Equestria Girls commercial that premiered on it (the song, the film wasn't out until two years later). This got lampshaded in a comic that showed a screenshot from the movie, Pinkie Pie's family looking at it in disbelief, a screenshot from the commercial, and the family with happy expressions.
  • What Could Have Been:

Animated versions:

  • The Other Darrin:
    • Sandy Kenyon voiced Jon Arbuckle in Here Comes Garfield, but all other traditionally animated Garfield specials, including Garfield and Friends, used Thom Huge as Jon's voice actor. Then Breckin Meyer played him in the live-action movies Garfield and Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties. After that, Garfield Gets Real, Garfield's Fun Fest, Garfield's Pet Force and The Garfield Show utilized Wally Wingert's voice for Jon.
    • Strangely, Huge (rhymes with "loogie") has literally no other credits. According to Mark Evanier, Thom Huge was one of Jim Davis' associates at Paws, Inc.
    • After the death of Lorenzo Music, Garfield has been voiced by several other voice actors, most notably Bill Murray in The Movie. Frank Welker is his most recent replacement. Music himself was an Other Darrin, having replaced Scott Beach from the Fantastic Funnies animations.
    • Zig-zagged a bit in the Latin American Spanish dubs: Garfield has being voiced by Chilean voice actor Sandro Larenas in most of the animated adaptations, even the ones not dubbed in Chile, like The Garfield Show. The only exceptions were the live-action movies, when he is voiced by Mexican movie actor Adrian Uribe, Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue, when he is voiced by the Mexican-American Roberto Colucci in Los Angeles, Garfield Gets Real when he is voiced by Bernardo Rodríguez in Mexico and both Gerardo Reyero (Mexico) and Marcelo Armand (Argentina) in Garfield's Pet Force (The movie was dubbed twice in those countries), while Reyero voiced him exclusively in Garfield's Funfest.
      • In the case of Jon Arbuckle, Chilean actor (and voice actor) Adriano Castillo made the voice for Garfield Specials and the first two seasons of Garfield and Friends, being later darrin'd for several voice actors in later animations. But also Adriano darrin'd Sandro Larenas as Binky the Clown in Garfield and Friends during the season 2 until the season 7.
    • Japan got worse on this, as all the adaptations sports different voice actors. To make matters even more confusing, Garfield and Friends got two different dubs, one for Cartoon Network's Japanese feed and another for WOWOW, a cable channel. For clarify a bit:
  • The Pete Best: In the very first animation that aired on The Fantastic Funnies (1980), adapting five newspaper strips, Garfield was voiced by Scott Beach. Starting with Here Comes Garfield, Lorenzo Music was his voice actor for all the animated adaptations until his death in 2001.

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