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  • Acceptable Targets: Hunters are a frequent source of mockery in The Far Side, often being shown as utterly pathetic opportunists (such as one strip where a hunter is waiting outside of toilets literally labelled for deer or another where a hunter shoots an innocent bear which causes him no trouble whatsoever and then has it taxidermied into a roaring position) or getting their just desserts (such as a strip where an African big game hunter who failed to kill an elephant is threatened in his house by that same elephant or in the animated special, wherein a deer beats up a whole bar full of hunters).
  • Accidental Innuendo: "When dogs dream." Larson acknowledged that the unfortunate placement of the dog relative to the vehicle's mechanically correct underside caused many readers to assume that the dog was mating with the crankshaft case, instead of simply howling victoriously over its kill.
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    • In The Complete Far Side, Larson discusses his panic after realizing the woman he drew for the cover of In Search of the Far Side resembled a gigantic penis. His editor reacted with a simple "So?" Larson then points out how silly it was to panic in retrospect, by recounting the story on the page AFTER the cover image, asking readers if they even noticed before reading on themselves.
    • He also recounts an incident where his editor turned down a strip where a character was called a "dork," Larson having no idea until then that the word is a term for "penis."
    • Another that a dairy farmer brought to Larson's attention. One comic involved a couple cows going through a farmer's home, with one cow opening a freezer and looking in with shock. Most might assume that the cow found frozen steaks. However, a dairy farmer wrote in and asked Larson if the cow found either steaks or frozen harvested bull semen. The comic takes a whole new tone with that in mind.
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  • Crazy Awesome: A Cloud Cuckoolander is shown merrily toiling and whistling along in hell with one devil saying to another "you know, we're just not getting through to that guy."
  • Crosses the Line Twice: The comic practically lived off of this, what with the religious and political jokes.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • "Suddenly, on a national talk show in front of millions of viewers, Dick Clark ages 200 years in 30 seconds." That's pretty much what happened to Dick Clark after his stroke.
    • One cartoon has an orca and a bottlenose dolphin at a SeaWorld-esque show, with the orca telling the other dolphin "The herring's nothing... I'm going for the whole shmeer!", implying that the orca is going to eat his trainer as well as the fish he's being offered. Since the strip was published, there have been an increasing number of captive show orcas attacking and even killing their trainers due to stress, making this strip harder to read in recent times.
  • Genius Bonus: A major part of its appeal. There's a reason so many science teachers have Far Side strips hung on their classroom doors.
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    • In one comic, there are 2 scientists. 1 is explaining some complex math that shows that those many wrongs equal a right. However, if you do the math described, it equals 0. 0 wrongs make a right.
    • Anatidaephobia, the fear that a duck is watching you. Anatidae is the scientific name for the duck family, which Larson describes as "a joke a dozen ornithologists got, and everyone else just went 'what the hey?'"
    • Two shipwreck victims find an island where one happily proclaims they'll have plenty to eat as it's completely covered with oysters, the joke being that this means the island will be completely underwater at high tide.
    • One strip depicts a man sitting in his house when a mountain rings his doorbell. This is based off an idiom from Francis Bacon that goes "If the mountain won't come to Muhammad then Muhammad must go to the mountain".
    • The dinosaur skeleton on the cover of "The Prehistory of The Far Side" at first appears to be an inaccurate three-fingered Tyrannosaurus rex... until you realize it's an Allosaurus.
    • One of the new cartoons in 2020 has bears eating Cub Scouts, a play on how bears will occasionally eat their own cubs.
  • Heartwarming Moments: Two men are sitting on a "Far Side" Island and one thanks the other for being his friend. It doesn't seem like a lot, but given how dark Far Side's world can be, it's sweeter than it sounds.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • This comic was published years ago. This is a 2011 summer blockbuster, leading to many jokes that the movie is an adaptation of the Far Side comic.
    • One strip features two young squids who are referred to in the caption as "the squid kids."
    • There's a strip where hopeful parents dream of future job advertisements for a person highly talented at video games as they watch their game-obsessed kid. Decades later, eSports, Let's Play, YouTube and Twitch streamers, and various other gaming-related ventures have become financially viable, and many people have turned their aptitude for video games into a career.
    • One early strip features a character who looks almost exactly like Professor Hubert Farnsworth.
    • In a strip about a cockroach having a nightmare about a talking shoe, said cockroach's name is Carl.
    • One strip has Herman Melville rejecting several ideas for the first line of Moby-Dick, one of them being "Call me Al".
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • This strip is a possible inspiration for the "Blue Screen Of Death" nickname for Windows' ultimate panic state. (And, by extension, Heroic BSoD.)
    • "Anatidaephobia: The fear that somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you."
  • Misaimed Fandom: One strip titled "The Holsteins visit the Grand Canyon" showed a cow family getting a picture in front of the Grand Canyon with one calf doing a Bunny Ears Picture Prank to the other. The latter detail was missed by many readers who thought the other calf was simply wearing a bow on its head, and thus Gary was pleasantly surprised when the comic became popular for reasons he didn't expect.
  • Moment of Awesome:
    • After a strip about cavemen calling a Stegosaurus's tail-spikes a "Thagomizer" after the late Thag Simmons, the scientific community realized there actually wasn’t a proper name for Stegosaur tail spikes and adopted it.
    • A species of lice, Strigiphilus garylarsoni, is named after him. Larson takes pride in this.
    • From the animated special, the segment where the deer breaks into the hunters’ pub and beats up all the hunters.
  • Never Live It Down: The infamous Cow Tools strip, and a few other particularly offensive ones.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Larson tried to downplay the creepiest imagery in his strips by drawing them to look as silly as possible, but a lot of both the visuals and the concepts are still pretty disturbing nonetheless. The first animated adaptation, on the other hand, is positively loaded with Nightmare Fuel (the second one tones it down a lot, but doesn't eliminate it completely).
    • One strip shows a duck hunter with his decoys...and a huge dark shape lurking in the reeds, waiting for someone to go for its "woman" decoys.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: Larson claims that the Cow Tools incident will haunt him for the rest of his life, but it actually generated an amazing amount of publicity for the strip, and probably helped boost his circulation. Go figure.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: This strip can be considered the 80's equivalent of South Park, Family Guy, or Robot Chicken. Just look at the controversial cartoons section of The Prehistory of The Far Side. And yet, even the rejected cartoons seem tame in comparison to the stuff on TV and the Internet today!
  • Tear Jerker: The strip Larson drew for Earth Day of 1990, which features a bunch of sad animals (and one tree) standing around Mother Earth, who is lying in a hospital bed comatose with tubes attached to her.
  • Uncanny Valley: Larson's attempts at drawing people look a little... off.
  • Unfortunate Character Design: There was a comic of a sleeping dog dreaming of having caught a car and howling in triumph atop it called "When dogs dream". Larson said later he drew in the car's transmission box where it was supposed to be, and the editor cleared it to be published when he was inundated with mail from people thinking the dog was having sex with the car. The caption has been changed to "When car chasers dream" to rectify this, and on occasions the transmission box has been edited out.

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