Off-Ramp

Off-Ramp host John Rabe and contributors share thoughts on arts, culture, and life in L.A.

“Family Circus” marks 50th anniversary by being actually funny … in a rerun.


Nowadays, Dad’s only job in the daily panel comic strip “Family Circus” is to act the foil for his kids' treacley naïveté, and cartoonists Bil and Jeff Keane’s only hope seems to be that we will cut out the strip and tape it to the fridge. “How cute! That’s just what Tiffany said!” … or … “That’s what Timmy said to Grandma that time at Old Country Buffet when she ate prunes! Let’s send it to Grandma for her refrigerator!”

The strip also used to be called “Family Circle,” until the magazine of the same name complained. They used to drive around in a Volkswagen Beetle; now it’s a Chrysler minivan.

And Dad (“Bill,” née “Steve”) used to smoke and drink. Check this one out:


The only fridge this would get taped to is the mini-bar in a Vegas hotel room.

The strip debuted on February 29, 1960, making this its effective 50th anniversary, and Keane is rerunning old strips to celebrate. It’s a bad idea because it just highlights how unfunny and formulaic “Family Circus” is now.

(Check out John's weekly show Off-Ramp.)

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