Garfield is Stephen’s second greatest love, second only to Lego. Lilian’s Sean first introduced Stephen to Garfield in London when the two were about five years old but it wasn’t until a few months ago that Stephen really started understanding the sly jokes and not-so-subtle sarcasm that underlies the comic. He’s also a big fan of The Garfield Show on the Cartoon Network. I can see how it appeals to Stephen because it’s completely off-the-wall ridiculous with storylines that feature a time-stopping stopwatch, robots, and a mind-reading helmet but may I just say that this CGI bastardization of Garfield the comic strip is not really Garfield at all.
The trouble with Garfield is that Stephen feels compelled to try out some of Garfield’s sayings and mannerisms. He identifies with Garfield the curmudgeon and his distaste for Mondays and waking up, and his glee in thwarting Nermal (who I suspect Stephen equates with his sister).
Thinking that it might be healthier for Stephen to identify with another little boy rather than a fat orange cat*, I’ve been trying to introduce him to Calvin and Hobbes because Lilian mentioned that Stephen reminds her of Calvin. Although I should probably read some Calvin and Hobbes first to make sure Calvin is an acceptable role model. I must confess that I’ve never really gotten the humor in the strip but might be able to understand it better from the parents’ point of view. In any case, if GeekDad says Calvin and Hobbes is good then it must be good!
What about you and your kids? Have any other comic strips to recommend?
*Super Skinny Stephen once made some comment about being too fat to get on some piece of playground equipment. I started stressing about eating disorders until I realized his comment came from Garfield. argh