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The star of the series was Garfield, a lazy feline whose only desires in life were lasagna, catnaps and kicking his hapless canine companion, Odie, off the table. The show also starred Garfield's hopelessly-single owner, Jon Arbuckle. Each Garfield adventure featured Garfield's adventures and run-ins with the cast of semi-regulars (including Neurmal, an irksome kitty; Binky the Clown and the mice which inhabited Jon's house); most were satires on American life and pop culture. Each show also featured "U.S. Acres," another of Davis' strips; this strip was set in a barnyard and featured the adventures of such characters as Orson Pig, Wade Duck, Roy Rooster, Bo and Lanolin the sheep, Booker the chick and Sheldon, an unhatched egg. Written by
Brian Rathjen <email@example.com>
Out of the blue this week I found an old tape of Garfield episodes I recorded back when the show played on Nickelodeon. I remembered how much I loved the show back in my childhood (I stopped watching around 12 or 13 due to school), and I watched it all the way through one night. Not only was I not disappointed after all these years, but in some episodes I laughed more than I did when I was a kid. Like The Simpsons and Ren and Stimpy, Garfield and Friends was a cartoon that could appeal to older kids and (some) adults due to its brand of cynicism and sarcasm, and still contained a wholesome, like-able quality for children of all ages. While I wasn't so much a fan of the US Acres shorts (though a few characters, like Sheldon and the duck with the inflatable tube, were always dependable), nearly every one of the old shorts I viewed on the tape were surprisingly good. I'm not too sure if the upcoming film adaptation will do justice to this or to the smart, original comics by Jim Davis, however this series proves that Garfield- brought to life by the recognizable voice of Lorenzo Music- was one of the more accessible cartoons of the late 80's and early to mid 90's. Grade: A
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