1. Cynthia has made a cartoon that’s just a weak pun about a cat that gets wrapped in aluminum foil, and then says “foiled again.” Barney points out that it’s a pretty stupid cartoon.

    Basically, a bad joke is supposed to become a good joke because the cartoonist points out that it’s bad.

  2. I didn’t think this was that difficult to figure out, but it does operate on more levels than just the silly pun it is based on, and in Bill’s defense, there is a cat in it. The initial humor element is that the dogs have mummified the cat and are laughing (with the mouse) at its expense. The primary joke is a simple pun on two meanings of “to ‘foil‘ something”: the cat has been both “defeated” as well as “wrapped in a thin sheet of aluminum“, and expresses this with the classic “bad guy” line used in various cartoons and comic books. As an additional gag, the authors feign embarrassment about their juvenile humor, and “sign” the drawing in Cynthia’s name(*), and even add an exchange about the low quality(**) between her and her dad in the corner.
    P.S. (*) – Drawing a simplistic strip as if it were composed by one of the child characters has been used (very) frequently by “Family Circus”.
    P.P.S. (**) – Having characters in a strip complain about the author’s low-quality jokes is a continual running gag in “Pearls Before Swine”.

  3. I think Bill was calling CIDU on the “thank you,” not the pretty obvious joke in the main panel or even the (accurate) “stupid” comment. I don’t think I get WW’s explanation either….

  4. She says ‘Thanks’ sarcastically to point out that parents are supposed to encourage their offspring: ‘Thanks’ would be the appropriate response to the expected compliment.

  5. @ CaroZ – The reply seems to fit Cynthia’s attitude and her relationship with her dad. She knew she was going for a cheap, corny pun, and is simply thanking her dad for confirming that she succeeded.
    WW’s final sentence applies not just to this comic, but to just about every PbS comic in which Rat attacks Stephan in the final panel (typically with a baseball bat).

  6. P.S. The sarcasm that Olivier suggests is also a possibility, but if that were the case, I’d expect an annoyed, sidelong glance, or at least a knotted eyebrow.

  7. Thanks, Kilby — I like the explanation and agree about the similarity to Pearls pun strips!

  8. Hah ha ha!

    There is a sort of tradition of “comic artist takes the day off, gets one of the kids to substitute” — going back mainly to Family Circus I guess. This is sort of in that line, with the inset giving us a BTS peek.

    Cynthia’s “Thank you” is perhaps 𝕓𝕠𝕥𝕙 a bit sarcastic, but also a sign that she is the right age for the use of “stupid” as a term of praise (akin to “sick”), and she could be taking it that way, or at least pretending she thinks Barney could have meant it thus.

  9. The strip is a failure. It should be two cats that have wrapped a dog in foil because everyone knows it’s cats that are the a-holes of the pet world

  10. @ Singapore Bill – That is precisely why the artist chose to abuse the (despicable) cat, and not the (faithful) dog: the reader doesn’t have to have a guilty conscience about laughing when the abuse is directed at an evil creature.
    P.S. This also explains why so many movies have a gratuitous “kick the dog” scene near the beginning: it justifies whatever horrible outcome that the “bad guy” has to endure at the end of the movie.

  11. @Mitch4: I know of an occurence of kid substituting for his father in 1898 (in ‘L’idée fixe du savant Cosinus’, by Christophe).

  12. The strip is a failure. It should be two cats that have wrapped a dog in foil because everyone knows it’s cats that are the a-holes of the pet world

    Not in Pooch Cafe.

  13. I don’t see what’s so silly about the Calvin and Hobbs cartoon. Putting Tyrannosaurs in F-14s is exactly something a kid Calvin’s age will do.

  14. @ MiB – That’s perfectly true, but I was just paraphrasing what Watterson felt when he (as an adult) put them in the strip.

  15. Andrea, I have also been following that bit in Get Fuzzy that you point out (#2) — But I half expected it to be noted here by our Grawlix 🙂

  16. I’m still trying to figure out why the .gif didn’t come thru as a graphic. And maybe I’m ‘our Grawlix’ in disguise . . .

  17. Yeah, I thought your URL looked well-formed, and compliant with what we’ve figured out are necessary for automatic graphics inline inclusions; and when clicked, goes to the right place.

    But just a moment earlier, I had that failure myself for a comment with included graphic. But it was just as well, because a short while later the cartoon I was linking to showed up as a main post (it was Paul Bunyan), so I was happy not to have made myself a spoiler.

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