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Medium Large Comic: Deleted Scenes for “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on December 3, 2021

Medium Large Comic: Here Comes Santa Claus

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on December 2, 2021

Medium Large Comic: Always Watching

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on December 1, 2021

Medium Large Comic: Hermey’s Career Goals

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on November 30, 2021

Medium Large Comic: You Nauseate Me, Mr. Grinch

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on November 29, 2021

Scenes from “A Charlie Brown Chanukah”

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on November 28, 2021

Happy Chanukah!

Sally Forth: The Perfect Christmas Tree

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on November 28, 2021

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2015

2014

2012

Sally Forth Thanksgiving Week: Day 6

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on November 27, 2021

Ted Forth and the “Star Wars Holiday Special”

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on November 26, 2021

It’s an annual, inexplicable Sally Forth tradition—every day after Thanksgiving, Ted Forth puts his poor family through the paces of endless Harvey Norman schtick, sketches that never would have gotten past a Donnie & Marie table read (the stank of Bruce Vilanch actually wafted through both programs), and a cartoon we’ve all convinced ourselves is pretty good even though everyone appears to be made of paraffin and Margaret Keane painting eyes. But how exactly did this all begin? Why do I think anyone other than me would care? Why does the uh…dragon?…look like the unemployed, no-account brother of Cecil the Sea Sea Serpent? Let’s find out for no particular reason…

2007: And we already start with a cheat. Though Sally refers to the Star Wars Holiday Special—which, mind you, incorrectly has the “The” as part of the title in the dialogue, which is going to happen for several more years here, alas—as if this holiday Bataan death march has played out forever in the strip, this is actually the very first time the viewing is mentioned or shown. I was trying to build a legacy without putting in the work. I lied to you. I lied to myself. I should quit in shame but I save the impact of shame for more important things, like every social interaction I’ve ever have.

2008: NOW we can say we’re building a narrative tradition/running gag. Please note how Laura’s reaction indicates she has any idea what Ted is referring to, since it won’t be the first character inconsistency you will see in this run. Really, there is no way Laura would have any critical assessment of the special. True, she may just have picked up on the Star Wars part and, not being a sci-fantasy fan, instinctively reveal that her go-to remark for when it comes to displeasure is referencing cleaved body parts. But for now let’s focus on the memorial for Harvey Korman, who had passed away early in the year.

2009: Though there are elements of Ted’s father inspired by my relationship with my dad, a distaste for Star Wars is not one of them. My dad loved Star Wars—and really couldn’t give a damn about sports unless it was the Yankees in the 1940s—and shortly after the movie came out bought us the original 12″ figures before we went all in on the famous Kenner action figures. He also bought me the trading cards and he’s why I still have Star Wars Dixie cups to this day. That’s right, I have too much memorabilia for someone who lives in an apartment and has OCD where it comes to cleanliness and organization.

2010: Remember when I mentioned character inconsistencies earlier? Notice how I have the chutzpah/the cajones/the “choose your ethnic group’s variation” to just assume you have the discretionary time or even the slightest inclination to read ALL Of this post, as if each line is an invaluable thread weaving in with all the others to produce a magnificent tapestry of self-involved madness? Anyway, please see how Ralph seems over the moon at the prospect of watching what happens when you combine The Brady Bunch Hour with a far more formidable IP. That will never happen again.

2011: I’m trying to recall what George Lucas might have done between 2010 and 2011 that made this man-child think “Oh no. Mr. Lucas, fuck YOU.” But nothing’s coming to mind, even though clearly it stung a little back then. (The fact I can’t recall at all seems like a strong lesson in the often out-sized and unwarranted emotions of fandom or even so-called movie geekdom, even though I still kinda want to punch M. Night Shyamalan for The Village.) But let’s focus on what really matters here—Ted is absolutely right that Mr. Magoo just NAILS the character of Scrooge. Alastair Sim will always be a masterclass in the role. But you know who doesn’t get nearly enough credit for his performance as Ebenezer? Michael Caine in The Muppets Christmas Carol. That movie—which is very enjoyable and has some truly great songs—works because he Michael Caine never treats the role as if he’s performing in a comedy or with various creatures with puppeteer hands up their asses. He grounds the character and in doing so, the entire film, which is why it’s anotheryearly must-see for me.

2012: And just like that Ralph forgets his Star Wars fandom. Notice how I’m blaming Ralph and not the guy who writes Ralph, me. But really, by this point in the game I don’t so much tell the characters what to do but put them in a situation and report what they say. That’s called professionalism and professional evasiveness! Also, if you haven’t noticed, for a family comic strip there is a significant amount of wine consumption in Sally Forth, no more so than during the holidays. But what I really want to say is how much I like my line for Gerald here (see how now I AM taking credit for what the characters due, which is once again thanks to professionalism…and perhaps cognitive dissonance.) Gerald scored back-to-back holiday appearances here, which means this is still when he was certainly in the corporeal world and not whatever liminal stage he may be in now.

2013: Okay, Ted is being just way to pissy and immature here, so we’ll go to…

Thanksgiving Day 2013: What I like about this strip is something we had going for a while—how happy Ralph is to have family in his life. Ralph always seemed like a rather lonely character to me, having neither a circle of friends nor any relatives he had any close ties to, and once he married Sally’s sister Jackie he reveled in being a part of a larger whole. This has subsided over time, as it might in real life, but I like how in the middle of all the sniping and complaining Ralph is just happy and both emotionally and visually centered. This strip was also another chance to have Gerald (still very much alive or at least consistently visible!) say whatever batshit thing I wanted, making him one of my most favorite characters to write. And as for the documentary he’s referring to…

2014: When I inherited the strip the basic points I got about Ted were that he really liked meatloaf, had four brothers, and occasionally played golf. The golf thing was jettisoned immediately because the last thing anyone needs is yet another strip showing someone in loud pants swinging a club and also I don’t play golf and also golf. The meatloaf part I kept for a while until I realized I was using it as a joke that Ted was borderline nutritionally deficient because all he ate was ground beef and sauce. But the brothers became a crucial part of his character. They didn’t have any names, so I gave them Timmy, Tommy, Tate and Terry, initially so I could have Ted’s coworker Kevin say, “Wow. What did you guys do as kids? Hang out with your Uncle Donald while going on adventures with Scrooge McDuck?” As the youngest and only non-sports oriented sibling, Ted is often shown as the outlier of the family, though as time has gone on he’s also the only one who has enough of shit together professionally (who knew?) and, more importantly, family-wise. Meanwhile, while Ted’s mom Jeanie is based slightly on my mom, my mom can still recall every bit of pop culture my brother and I consumed as kids. To this day she still uses the line “If Woody had gone straight to the police, this never would have happened” based on a single cartoon short.

2015: Another Thanksgiving visit to Ted’s family home and his brothers. I like to think Ted’s bootleg DVD (wow, that sounds so quaint now) includes not only all the commercials but the one for Reggie Jackson’s Reggie! bar, if only because though I never cared for sports I LOVED that bar. And I’m focusing on the Reggie! bar here because, ugh, this strip ends on one inexcusable, lame-ass joke.

On the other hand, I finally stopped adding “The” in the special’s title.

2016: Hilary is right—Miracle on 34th Street IS fantastic, in part because it is the only heartfelt, family holiday film that concludes with the potential of Santa going to an asylum. (Which is more uplifting than George Bailey wanting to off himself for almost two hours.) Santa also gets to brain someone with his umbrella. Edmund Gwenn—who won Best Supporting Oscar role for his Santa in the film—is just perfect. I also love Ted’s line, if only because it is one of those times I didn’t edit myself at all.

2017: Ted’s dad passed away a few weeks before this strip (my dad passed away a few days after Thanksgiving in 2016) and so understandably proved to be in no state to celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas that year. On a side note, The Good Place is gold.

2018/Alternate 2018: First, let’s mention how out-of character Ralph is here, even as he references something being out of character. He doesn’t care for the special even though he’s previously professed a love for the special and even though he now clearly knows enough about the special to accurately state the remarkably off-putting character design in the Boba Fett cartoon. (I can only guess how many times Harrison Ford interrupted his vocal recording by exclaiming “Fuck is this?”).

But on to the obvious point—why the two versions. The top strip is the original take that appeared online and I assume ran in some papers. It references a scene in the holiday special when Art Carney—who looks like he’s swathed in terrycloth, won’t stop talking, references The Honeymooners bits more than once, and seems about as in place in the Star Wars universe as a Chevrolet Malibu—brings Chewbacca’s dad Itchy—who is ALL lower jaw and one can guess spends all his off-camera time vigorously delousing his genitals with both paws while ecstatically grunting—VR porn. Now, it’s not called porn (Art Carney refers to it as “Wowee”) but is as close to porn as you could get for an 8 pm TV special aimed at kids about Star Wars. It was an utterly imcomprehensible moment in a special replete with them. On the one hand, G-rated porn was certainly an upswing from the Jefferson Starship performance (minus Grace Slick, who probably wisely disconnected her phone and hid during the taping) and urtext Cirque du Soleil moment that had come before it. On the other hand, my 11-year-old mind kept switching repeatedly from “Gee, Diahann Carroll is really pretty” to “I JUST WANT TO SEE R2-D2!!!” But, as you probably already guessed, not every newspaper wanted to run a comic strip that included the line “virtual-reality sex fantasy.” So the syndicate understandably asked that I write an alternate version, resulting in the Bea Arthur reference because Bea Arthur should always be referenced (even Ralph admits one can see her appearance at least five times, even though the aforementioned “torch song” is every line sung the exact same way). But in the end I’m sure no matter which strip a newspaper ran—virtual sex or Dorothy Zbornak—there were more than enough readers asking “FUCK IS THIS?!”

2019: Oh, for the love of—you get your way enough when it comes to the special, Ted, so stop it. Instead, let’s focus on the 750 Hallmark Christmas movies that came out this week alone. My mom loves them because as she says, “They’re so soothing because they’re so simple and predictable—including featuring the same three actress—even though all the main character’s wardrobes look like Home Goods now has a clothing line.”

2020: I hated Rise of Skywalker (I really liked The Last Jedi, so take that for what you will). That said, I have a friend—who is also Ted’s coworker, Kevin—who liked Rise. And that’s great! I’d much rather have someone enjoy what they saw than not like it simply because I didn’t. Why would I ever want to wish that someone wasted their time and/or money? How petty and self-involved and insecure could one be? Seriously, I don’t always get fandom. And seriously, watch Somebody Feed Phil. Now. Twice.

2021: And now Ralph WANTS to see the Star Wars Holiday Special, though clearly as an avoidance tactic, though he also treats watching it as a last resort and a pain he’s willing to endure to avoid the pain they will keep enduring. Really, one day I’ll know what I’m doing…

Sally Forth Thanksgiving Week: Day 5

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on November 26, 2021
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