Ptarmigan

a grouse with completely feathered feet

6/15/2003

At last!!!:

"Comic #5 is usually the first comic to strike the reader as brilliant. At the very least, it is usually the first comic to make him/her laugh out loud.

"The first joke that people notice is that when Pokey suggests that he and his friend fly across the river, the next panel shows them in an airplane. Penguins are birds, and birds are associated with flying. However, penguins cannot fly. Pokey’ suggestion of flying is already somewhat ridiculous, but when he appears on an airplane, his idea makes sense. Nevertheless, because of the penguin-bird-flight connection, the audience does not expect him to use a plane. This joke plays around with the reader’s expectations concerning penguins and flight.

"But a problem arises in the last panel: King George’s throne room looks exactly like the interior of the plane. Was that truly a plane? Is King George on the plane? If they were not on a plane, how did the penguins fly across the river? If they are still on the plane, why are there a throne room and king? Any way you interpret the succession of panels, it is partially sensible, and partly unexplained.

"The kicker, and the most typically Pokey-esque joke in the comic, is King George’s comment. Pokey meets a random penguin, and the penguin later surprises Pokey with a birthday cake (inside either an airplane or the abandoned castle). In the climax of the tale, Pokey and his friend meet King George, a mysterious ruler who has not been introduced or explained (in fact, the castle was supposed to be abandoned). The penguins recognize King George, and his comment shows that he is aware of Pokey’s birthday. The stupidity of his comment is astounding. "I hope your birthday is full of surprises," is an awkward, fortune-cookie-like phrase, which makes little sense after Pokey has already been surprised by a cake and a king in an abandoned castle (or airplane). King George’s surprise appearance seems to imply some amount of importance or profundity, but he only offers a ridiculous, almost meaningless birthday wish. It is not even clear that the phrase is a beneficent greeting. The placement of King George’s absurd phrase in the climactic/punchline position (the last panel) puts additional emphasis on the royal utterance. "I hope your birthday is full of surprises" almost fits; after all, it is Pokey’s birthday, and it has been full of surprises. But upon a moment’s reflection, the statement (and the king himself) is ludicrously out of place."

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home