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Get Fuzzy

From Academic Kids

Get Fuzzy is an American daily comic strip written and drawn by Darby Conley. The strip features the day-to-day adventures of advertising executive Rob Wilco and his two anthropomorphic pets: cat Bucky Katt and dog Satchel Pooch. Get Fuzzy was first published by United Media Syndicate in September 1999. Initially appearing in 75 newpapers nationally, the strip grew in popularity very quickly.

Rob is a sports fan and named both pets after stars of baseball's Negro LeaguesBuck O'Neil and Satchel Paige. Coincidentally, Bucky also has only a single fang, his "buck" tooth. An alternate theory is that Bucky is named after late 1970s New York Yankees outfielder Bucky Dent who hit a game winning home run against the Boston Red Sox in a tie breaking playoff game to determine the American League Eastern Division champion in 1978. This would make sense, since Bucky is Rob's constant foil.

Bucky and Satchel's personalities are extreme simplifications of the stereotypes of "cat" and "dog". Bucky is cruel, self-centered and aloof, while Satchel is sweet, trusting, and at times quite na´ve (Bucky once sold Satchel his own Nerf football by writing "Sooper" above "Nerf" to make it a "Sooper Nerf"). Rob, the middleman, is often a little frazzled from dealing with these two, or more specifically, from dealing with Bucky's destructive nature and overall nastiness.

Contents

Characters

Main

Supporting

Other characters that appear occasionally:

  • Joe Doman - Rob's friend and co-worker
  • Francis Wilco - Rob's father, a retired firefighter who reluctantly "babysits" Bucky and Satchel from time to time
  • Fungo Squiggly - a neighboring ferret whom Bucky intensely dislikes
  • Chubby Huggs - a portly cat who believes that positive reinforcement solves all problems, and one of the few beings that scare Bucky

Books & Treasuries

A number of books have been produced, as well as treasuries. The treasuries contain two previous books in one binding (with some color strips):

  • 'Groovitude' (Andrew McMeel Publishing, 2002) - contains The Dog Is Not a Toy(Andrew McMeel Publishing, 2001) and Fuzzy Logic
  • 'Bucky Katt's Big Book of Fun' (Andrew McMeel Publishing, 2004) - contains The Get Fuzzy Experience(Andrew McMeel Publishing, 2002) and Blueprint for Disaster(Andrew McMeel Publishing, 2003)
  • 'I would have bought you a cat, but...' (Andrew McMeel Publishing, 2003)
  • 'Say Cheesy, A Get Fuzzy Treasury' (Andrew McMeel Publishing, 2005)

Awards

In 2002, Get Fuzzy was honored with the Reuben Award for Best Newspaper Comic Strip by the National Cartoonists Society [1] (http://www.reuben.org/ncs/archive/divisions/strips.asp).

Negative reactions

Pittsburgh

Many residents of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania reacted angrily to an October 30, 2003 strip. When Bucky asks a travel agent for suggested destinations "based primarily on smell", the agent promptly produces a brochure from the Pittsburgh board of tourism. This was originally intended as an "in-joke" jab at a friend who lives in the Pittsburgh area. Conley later confessed at shock over the large volume of hate mail and even death threats he received in response[2] (http://www.thekcrachannel.com/travelgetaways/2613194/detail.html), and Pittsburgh city officials publicly denounced the strip.

An apology promised by Conley took a rather unexpected form. The November 17, 2003 strip questions why the Pittsburgh joke caused such an uproar and archly notes that several protesters rather hypocritically stated that New Jersey smelled worse than Pittsburgh. Satchel closes the strip by explaining that the original strip "should have made it more clear that it was (nearby borough) Sewickley Heights that smells" [3] (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/03322/240984.stm). Unsurprisingly, this "apology" failed to appease many of those who had complained.

Bob Lobel

A strip published on May 13, 2005 resulted in legal action. In the original strip, Rob, Bucky and Satchel are watching television. Satchel asks "Is this sportscaster... drunk?" Rob replies "Lobel? Who knows. He's like some TV outreach program or something." This is despite the fact that it has been reported elsewhere that Lobel is known to drink and has appeared on air in an intoxicated state.

Less than a week later, Boston sportscaster Bob Lobel filed a libel lawsuit against Conley, United Features Syndicate, and the New Bedford Standard-Times newspaper. (The New Bedford paper is named specifically because it did not censor the strip as several other Boston-area papers did, including The Boston Globe; most either refused to run the strip or substituted "Him?" in place of Lobel's name.)

The lawsuit claims that the strip is both personally and professionally damaging, especially given that his contract was under negotiation for renewal at the time [4] (http://www.boston.com/sports/other_sports/articles/2005/05/21/lobel_files_libel_suit_in_response_to_get_fuzzy_strip/). Lobel's attorney has stated that his client seeks an apology from Conley, an admission that the strip's implication was false, and unspecified monetary damages, much of which he says will be donated to charity [5] (http://thetrack.bostonherald.com/moreTrack/view.bg?articleid=83944). (The strip in question no longer appears on the official Get Fuzzy website; it has been replaced by a strip in which Satchel misinterprets a knock-knock joke.)

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