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YMMV / Bloom County

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  • Anvilicious:
    • Whenever Breathed wrote a comic about the newspaper comics industry, you could feel him grab your collar and yell at you.
    • His agnosticism comes through a great deal. Some strips about Oliver coming to scientific blocks (with the Big Bang, the existence of God, etc.) feel very antagonistic to science.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Berke stopped using Cutter John as a regular character due to trouble fitting his wheelchair in frame. Come Bloom County 2015, he fixes this by having John get a newer model wheel chair that fits better and use leg braces when that wouldn't fit, bumping him back up to regular.
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  • Award Snub: A big aversion. Breathed became the second syndicated comic strip creator (after Garry Trudeau) to win the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning in 1987.note 
  • Awesome Music: "I'm a Boinger".
    Does Barbra wish she was goy?
    Is George really a boy?
    Is Filthy ever Divine? - It's all subjective.
  • Comedy Ghetto: A print media example when the strip won the Pulitzer. Many editorial cartoonists were up in arms over it and voiced their criticism loudly. Pat Oliphant dismissed the strip as "shrill potty jokes and grade school sight gags" and Paul Conrad said "I don't think strip cartoons generally belong in the same category as editorial cartoons: They're entertainment, and that's about it. They aren't journalism." The fact that two other previous Pulitzer winners, Mike Peters and Jeff MacNelly, had already branched out into daily comic strips showed that this attitude was far from universal for political cartoonists, though.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Opus, who was created for a week or two of strips but, by the time of "Pear Pimples For Hairy Fishnuts," was the star.
    • Bill the Cat, who was also intended as a deliberate subversion of Merchandise-Driven characters, but proved very popular because of his ugliness.
    "Remember, kids, that's B-I-L-L, not G-A-R-F-I-E-L-D."
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • After Oliver's father reassures Tom Binkley that disliking Jesse Jackson doesn't necessarily mean he's a racist, Tom asks if he's allowed to hate Bill Cosby. 2014 saw sexual assault allegations against Cosby become widely publicized, and what was once an amusing punchline suddenly took on a more disturbing tone.
    • One early story arc had Prince Charles and Princess Diana visit the strip's setting for their honeymoon. In one strip, Charles tells Di he wants a harem. Funny then, but in light of later revelations about Charles' infidelity, it comes off as rather darkly prophetic in retrospect.
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  • Growing the Beard: Berke himself, in the 1980-1982 collection, expresses disgust with some of his early strips because the lettering was sloppy, the characters and setting were unfocused (which would explain the massive Chuck Cunningham Syndrome in the second year) and the gags derivative of Doonesbury. He went on to say that the strip became much better around January 1982, once he found a personality for Opus and shifted the strip's focus to Opus, Milo and Binkley.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • One strip sets up the punchline by saying that the local newspaper reported on a "heterosexual AIDS epidemic" that turned out to be a false alarm. ...Yeah.
    • The storyline where Steve sues Santa for a little girl because her (equally young) brother got a ton of guns and Rambo paraphernalia on Christmas, in the light of recent stories of not only small children accidentally shooting people, but guns like "My First Rifle" being specifically marketed at them. Especially the panel where the boy is holding a new puppy at gunpoint.
    • When Binkley's childhood is being "cancelled" by a network executive, he asks if Gary Coleman gets subjected to the same treatment, with the executive bemoaning that "that little midget has an 80-year-contract. I get sick to my stomach just thinking about it." Coleman would tragically pass away at a little more than half that age.
    • Donald Trump in Bill the Cat's body is this, as Trump is no longer funny to a lot of people.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Some prominent examples:
    • The very first strip, in which someone tries to order a Whopper from Burger King with no bun, is much funnier to read after the rise of carbohydrate-free diets, particularly if you've ever been to a place that does serve hamburgers without buns.
    • The Return of the Jedi storyline ends with George Lucas telling Binkley that they should get to all the films by 1998; Binkley responds by decapitating him with his lightsaber and remarking "Jedi don't wait 15 years for sequels". He's right — they wait 16 years for prequels. In the collected edition, Breathed points this out by saying "I was off by one year. The funny thing is, George really did seem to lose his head."
      • It must be noted that Lucas did state at the time that a sequel would be coming in 15 years, and this was Breathed's reaction to that statement. So, it's not quite a "Hilarious In Hindsight", more of a Take That!.
    • The storyline involving televangelists casting out perpetrators of the blasphemous "penguin lust" actually makes even more sense years later when two male penguins became famous across the world for choosing each other as mates.
    • During the "Steve forms a heavy metal band" story arc, Steve tells Rosebud that "Sounds of Silence" isn't quite metal material. Guess which song heavy-metal band Disturbed did a cover of in 2015?
    • Oliver's father predicts that the first black president will be a conservative. Well, not exactly...
  • Iconic Character, Forgotten Title: Since Opus was more well-known than the names Bloom County or Outland, Berke's fourth strip was titled Opus.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Steve Dallas, back when he debuted in Breathed's college newspaper strip The Academia Waltz, ended up being idolized by the obnoxious fratboys he was meant to make fun of. When Steve Dallas got transplanted to Bloom County and became a lawyer, this happened again, with legal professionals generally being entertained by the depiction.
  • Moment of Awesome: you decide. The strip dedicated to the Challenger STS-51 mission is one of the most moving tributes, and the most memorable of any of the strips.
  • Nausea Fuel:
    • Milquetoast lists his favorite foods as pickled eels, last's weeks veal, and banana peels, well congealed.
    • Opus receives a loaded handgun as a gift from the NRA and accidentally fires it several times. The last panel of the comic strip shows Bill the Cat staring at a giant hole in his midsection, with "cat innards" splattered on the wall behind him.
    • In an early Outland comic strip, Ronald-Ann sees a TV ad for Fashion Frank's Fur Emporium, which turns the hides of hairy men into coats.
    Opus: I made an elegant New York cabbie pullover!
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: The Mary Kay animal testing arc is often credited with bringing about the cessation of Mary Kay's unnecessary animal testing practices and in a larger sense sparking the 90s animal rights movements - because everything depicted in the arc was 100% true and done to animals at the time of publication.
  • Tear Jerker: Has its own page.
  • "Weird Al" Effect: Otherwise largely forgotten Reagan administration figures like Jeane Kirkpatrick (who had a wild tryst with Bill The Cat) and Caspar Weinberger (given a Shout-Out by Opus in a poem) have gained immortality because of the strip.


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