Saturday, 3 December 2011

Garfield = Jeremy Clarkson

Ah the broad new horizons to which one is exposed through the joys of handing control of the TV over to a small boy, Garfield for example. I never warmed to the famed pizza scoffing feline in his newspaper strip incarnation, so it seemed a safe bet that it wasn't going to happen with twenty or so minutes of bog standard, clunky CGI animation the production of which almost seems to be saying fuck it, that'll do...

For starters, the voice is weird. I know this is a common hazard with animated translations of popular cartoon characters (see also Asterix the Gaul which, for my money, they screwed up big time), but it is perhaps inevitable that whatever voice is used, it will never come close to whatever was in your head when you first read the thing to yourself. I'm not sure quite how I imagined Garfield to sound, but probably not like someone from Insane Clown Posse on horse tranquilisers.

The episode we watched as a family this evening, as apparently you are supposed to do in order to promote something or other, kicked off with legal proceedings taken against Jon (Garfield's hapless owner) in order to (unless I misread the situation) reclaim a substantial unpaid debt accrued by the cat's heavy pizza habit. As if to add insult to injury, even as Jon is discussing this matter with the prosecuting lawyer, Garfield walks past carrying a stack of fifteen or so pizza boxes, grinning in that characteristic fashion which seems to say I could have you killed if I so desired. Jon, rather than insist that his cat adopt a more traditional (and less financially demanding) feline diet, elects to have a yard sale so as to raise funds which will, I presume, go towards the cost of mounting legal defense. Of course Garfield decides to help in his own "inimitable" fashion. He does this by selling Odie (the family dog) at the yard sale, although the point of this sale seems to be more in order of providing amusement by forcing Odie to confront his own worthlessness as perceived by Garfield - achieved by insisting the dog is worth a mere two cents, and then insisting that the buyer pay only half that, all the while rolling around upon the path, beating a paw upon the lawn as tears of mirth stream down his whiskers: the worthlessness of others is hilarious you see.

So at this point Garfield is not only directly responsible for his owner's financial ruination, but is wilfully compounding it by prioritising his own callous sense of humour over all else. Jon is ultimately saved from bankruptcy due to some obscure deal involving the lawyer's puppyholic son (who has purchased Odie for one cent) melting his father's black, litigious heart whilst Garfield (apparently either unaware or unconcerned that he is himself the architect of all this suffering, and who has spent the last twenty minutes grinning his arse off at the raw hilarity of the situation) rather sanctimoniously reminds us that one cannot put a price on true friendship.

Clearly Garfield considers himself a great wit, although his actions are those of the worst sort of sociopath. He is Jeremy Clarkson on four legs, chuckling at the stench of his own farts, belching pizza into a human face forever. And filming himself doing it.

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