Friday, April 04, 2008

NCCCCC: Kid You'd Like To Kick In The Ass

Comics are for kids. At least that is the common perception. That is why they are full of kids that so smart-assed that normal parents would have taken a strap to their little butts long ago. There is a mile wide chasm between the genius of Calvin and Hobbes and the puerility of most comic kids. Let’s look at the most egregious.

Dennis The Menace

Back in the day, Dennis was a candidate to become a jumpsuit wearing juvie in a youth boot camp. Nowadays his behavior wouldn’t get a Ritalin prescription from the most pill happy Dr. Feelgood. Still, if I were Mr. Wilson, I would have given Dennis a real close look at the wood chipper a long time ago.

Dolly (The Family Circus)
Being the most annoying kid in the Family Circus is like being named Top Dictator of The Twentieth Century, the competition is keen, but it’s not much to brag about. If you imagine that the whole family gets their well water from a dioxin poisoned brownfield and each kid is representing his own particular symptoms of brain damage, the strip begins to make sense. Dolly’s repertoire of spoonerisms, mangled syntax and eye-rollingly demented observations are enough to get the very front seat on the short bus.

Marvin is at best Garfield in human form. At worst, he is the most idiotic toddler ever to have an internal monologue. When he was a baby, he just sat around in fully loaded diapers philosophizing. He is now a preschool toddler, but the quality of the wit hasn’t improved any. He may have graduated from diapers, but the stink on the comics page is still there.

Dot and Ditto (Hi and Lois)

You may not see anything particularly noxious in the Flagstone twins at first, but if you pay attention you will see that they encompass all the annoying habits of all comic kids. They disrespect their elders, they abuse and torment siblings and they fight with each other in a disturbingly incestuous way. And they’re named after punctuation, for heaven’s sake.

Edison Lee (The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee)

The oddly dichotic Edison Lee and his titular brilliant mind is a reader nominee. The strip may not be syndicated widely, but those that have read it despise it with the intensity of a thousand suns. Its raison d'ĂȘtre seems to disguise Mallard Fillmore's hateful politics in a family friendly wrapper. This boy idiot/genius is a particularly unfunny walking talking point that belongs in the Limbaugh Letter rather than on a comics page where people want to be entertained, not lectured to.

The One Big Happy star is here based on the hatred of loyal reader Demetrious X who is saving a special circle in Hell for this malapropism prone misfit. Ruthie bundles tons of annoying features in one little bundle of spite. In addition to her sub-Dolly puns, she is mean, bitter, and vindictive. I’m not sure this comic doesn’t violate the “currently in print” rule since all the strips at the official website are reruns, but we are leaving it in to give it the benefit of the doubt. After all, the fact that I can’t tell the difference is telling enough.

This category is perhaps the most competitive to date. Be sure to give each character full consideration (if you can stomach it) before casting the most annoying one down the well.

Voting in all categories will end sometime Saturday evening, so make sure you have picked someone in each of the other categories.


Mac said...

Marvin is the second-most loathsome character, and strip, in the comics today.

yellojkt said...

What would be first, pray tell?

john said...

While I am without a doubt voting for the hideously unfunny Edison, you seem to have him mixed up with someone else, since his politics are fairly close to the exact opposite of Mallard's (except in the fact that they're both brain-damaged diatribe versions of their respective parties' platforms.) Edison's basically the Democratic analogue to Mallard, because I guess the syndicates figured that there ought to be a liberal shitstain on the funny pages to balance out the conservative one.

Anonymous said...

This really is a tough division. And, you know, I hadn't really thought about the fact the OBH is in reruns everywhere. But we are talking about the heat of a thousand suns, Khan vs. Kirk level of hate, here. But let's take a look at the others first.

DtM: As has been pointed out many times, Dennis no longer lives up to his sobriquet. In fact, these days he is barely Dennis the slightly annoying. There just isn't enough there to want to push him off a cliff.

Dolly: She does certainly seem to be the most brain damaged of the hydrocephalic Keane clan and she is a thorough annoyance. But I'm going to cut her just the teensiest bit of slack: she is being drawn by and having words put in her mouth by her obnoxious little brother. It's pretty obvious that Jeffy is working out a lot of his psychological problems from the bully pulpit of the cartoonist's drafting table.

Marvin: Probably the winner of this division. There may have been a time when Marvin was marginally amusing, but that is long in the past. Bringing in even younger kids, even if it means losing the baby shtick, is a sure sign of desperation. If my vote goes to anybody but Ruthie, it's him.

Dot & Ditto: Like everything else in their strip, they are utterly without substance. They fail miserably at working the whole fraternal twins thing (something done to perfection by Gabby and Michael in Grand Ave.). They lack what it takes to make anyone hate them enough.

Edison Lee: I know absolutely nothing about this strip. From what I can see from the examples, the writer is going for an Alex P. Keaton thing and failing miserably. If I knew him, I might be persuaded to vote for him, but I'm not about to add yet another annoying strip to my list.

Ruthie: You actually managed to find one of her less obnoxious moments. Not only is she mean, bitter, and vindictive, she is bossy and manipulative (but bad at it). Unlike most comic strip kids, she tends to act younger than her alleged age, rather than much older. I think it's her general stupidity (not little kid ignorance, outright stupidity) that gets to me most. When (if) Ruthie grows up, she will either have four kids by the time she's 20 or be the subject of the next version of Monster.

*Sigh* Ruthie or Marvin? It's tough, but I have to say that the one I'd most likely want to drown is probably Ruthie. I don't read Marvin because the whole strip is stupid; I don't read OBH because of Ruthie. She gets the nod.

And, yeah, @ mac, who is first? America wants to know.

Cedar said...

I rarely read the strip, but, like john, I got the impression that Edison Lee was a misinformed liberal, not conservative.

Anonymous said...

While I'd be up for any of the kids in "Rose is Rose" in a rousing game of "play in traffic in leg-irons" Little Mitzi would be my first choice due to that oh-so-cute baby voice of hers and the way the next character always has to translate just in case someone didn't understand. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

Voted for Danae from Non Sequiter.
I can't give the reasons she qualifies justice. If you've read the strip, you know why.

Mooselet said...

What, none of the Patterspawn? I'd leave Mewedith abandoned in a parking lot in a heartbeat.

But of the choices presented (and I may be late given it's Sunday, technically Monday on my side of the lake) I'm going with Dolly. The other are merely annoying - Marvin more so than the others - but Dolly needs a slap upside her freakishly large head.

Anonymous said...

My vote is for Robin Patterson. He's abnormally belligerent and appears to have no redeeming charm whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

I agree with others who say you should have put Robin on the list, and taken out One Big Happy.

Nancy, the old strip, used to drive me crazy. She seems better these days.

There are a lot of annoying kids out there aren't there.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to like Edison Lee, especially for naming the mouse sidekick Joules. Our local dead-tree version had billed the strip as liberal or perhaps libertarian. I have a terser Anglo-Saxonism for it.

Although I was amongst those who suggested Edison, I wound up voting for Marvin as being without any redeeming characteristics whatsoever. I can tolerate Dolly's antics possibly because she is only a small part of the cast of Family Circus so her effect is diluted. I confess Ruthie makes me laugh once in awhile especially with her grandfather -- although James would be a good candidate for this title. But the character of Marvin, which was never very entertaining, seems to be getting worse lately. Since this is an annual award, he gets the nod this year. In a field that delivers crap, Marvin brings it by the pantload.

BillyWitchDoctor said...

Here's the trick with Edison Lee AND Mallard Fillmore: they are not liberal/conservative, Democrat/Republican, or progressive/neoconservative. They're "libertarian"--in quotes here because neither author is genuinely libertarian; it's just a crutch they use to justify their occasional deviation from party lines.

ANYWAY: If this poll were for Most Annoying Kid, it'd go to Dolly, easy. But kicking a little girl in the ass is just wrong. So I'll go with Edison Lee, whom I would gladly kick in the face before snatching away Dad's shovel and using it to cave in his skull.

Cedar said...

I know you said no FOOBs since they'll dominate every category, but what if they would fairly dominate it? I can't stand Robin and Meredith, and the fact that they're supposed to be realistic makes me hate them even more--Robin because he's dumb and extremely immature for his age, and adds absolutely nothing to the strip; Meredith because she's Mike-in-training, a mean, nasty, entitled little brat. Has Lynn Johnston not interacted with kids in so long that she actually thinks screaming fits and non-stop teasing are acceptable things for kids to be doing?

I'm glad she'll be giving up the strip soon; I'd hate to see those monsters as teenagers.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

I voted Dennis because I couldn't remember Curtis. That kid is terribly obnoxious!

Anonymous said...

Late to the party, but I have to go with Danae as well. That is one loathsome kid with no redeeming qualities.

I'm pretty sure that One Big Happy is one of a few strips that does reruns online but offers new material in the dead tree edition.