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Dick Tracy, 12/8/20

As you may or may not know, there were two different Dragnet series: a black-and-white one that ran for most of the 1950s, and a new one, in color, that ran from 1967 to 1970. Both starred the extremely square Jack Webb as the extremely square Joe Friday, but in the latter show, as you might imagine, he spent a lot of energy cracking down on hippies. I have seen one (1) episode of this, as a child, and it made a huge impression on me, as it’s about two hippie parents who tragically let their daughter drown in a bathtub because they were high out of their minds on marijuana, and a hippie who had been helping Joe Friday with his investigation shows up at the police station at the end having shaved and put on a suit and tie, announcing he still wants to change things for the better, but now he’s going to work within the system, as a journalist. Anyway, the only episode with a detailed plot description on Wikipedia is called “The LSD Story,” and it’s not dissimilar, so I assume they’re all like this, and, look, I laugh but I can kind of forgive it in 1967, on TV show that square adults were making. But in 2020? When the hippies are the old people now? And when, in Dick Tracy, a drug dealer named “Dollar Bill” (his shtick is the dollar bill sticking out of his headband, and you can tell he’s a hippie because he’s wearing sandals in the snow) is arguing with a guy named “Aquarius” about “candy” for his girlfriend “Cheesecake”? You have to ask, how many layers of nostalgia-irony are we working on? Like, is this what you think hippies are (were?) like, or are you trying to emulate the notoriously square Dick Tracy of the era in which hippies were actually a thing? This strip has since its reboot been a heady brew of neo-nostalgia, and it’s reached a point where it’s messing with my sense of time, space, and self more than any drug “Dollar Bill” could sell me.

Gasoline Alley, 12/8/20

EXTREMELY QUICK GASOLINE ALLEY PLOT RECAP: Slim was going to pretend to be a ghost to scare his terrible family out of his home instead of just asking them firmly to leave like a person with dignity and self-respect, but then some real ghosts scared them off instead. Today we learn that in Gasoline Alley’s cosmology, there’s no real distinction between “ghosts” and “angels,” and damned souls wander our plane as wraiths, demanding our approbation so that they can move on to the next stage of existence.

Mary Worth, 12/8/20

“Plus everyone knows the middle of the night on the boardwalk is the best time and place to buy drugs! Wait, did I say that part out loud?”