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« Toning down the party, turning up the emotional intensity | Main | You were a bear. A great, big bear. »


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J. Thomas Duffy


Great post ... All that in a three-panel strip - Phew! ...

Assuming Trudeau writes until he is old and senile, the spectacular closing strip will reveal that Duke fathered all the characters ...

Jonathan Korman

Hurm. That's a good catch on Trudeau's portrayal of J. J., but I'm not as forgiving of it as you are. One of the virtues of Doonesbury used to be that each character was permitted their own dignity; even B.D. or Duke might make a telling observation from time to time. But as you say, in recent years it's turned out out that Trudeau doesn't have sympathy for all of his characters, and I think it makes the strip weaker than it used to be.

In particular, with the exception of Alex, all of the youngest characters are numbskulls, and I find my patience with that wearing thin.


I know a woman, an artist nearing fifty, whom would be the model for JJ if she was fifteen years older, I think. I'm sad to report that she is JJ to the quintessence, minus having had any kids.

You mentioned the time-honored tradition in comic literature of a man becoming a man when a lady is on the line. I think that's time shifted now, Lance. I don't think a man settles down until he's about to have a child. Mike nearly had an affair with Nicole until JJ announced she was pregnant.

Mike really didn't calm down until he was saddled with the responsibilities of fatherhood and that had nothing to do with JJ as a person and everything to do with his sudden fear of being a single parent. Trudeau was a bit ahead of his time.

JJ marries Zeke, Duke's groundskeeper, after the divorce from Mike. Not exactly the person who will catalyze change and so we can see why she might not yet have growed up a little. But remember, it was Zeke she was originally engaged to when she met Mike, so her flightiness was established well in advance.

By the way, keep in mind that the Walden gang never aged until 1984.

chris the cop

For all the things you mention in your post and more are why I always save Doonesbury for last when I read the comics n the morning. Despite everything, one still cares for the characters - all of them.

Mike Schilling

For Waugh, bad behavior is mainly defined as what other people do to offend people like him.

And the worst in behavior is defined as acting like his first wife, the most egregious example being, of course, Brenda Last.


According to Joanie's law school application, she was born July 21st, 1935...

I like Joanie, and she is definitely one of my favorite characters, but I think that you shouldn't overlook how Joanie entered the picture. She decided one day to walk out on her husband, hitch a ride with a couple of 20-something college guys, and ended up on a Boston college commune. If J.J. and Jeff and Alex have a wild and unpredictable side to them, at least they got it from the source. I don't want to be an apologist for Clint, Joanie's first husband, but we don't know much about him other than he was pretty much a standard, sexist, married man with kids in the late 60's. (there is a reference to a youngest daughter, which means that Joanie potentially has other children out there we've never met).

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