26 November 2007

Out of Reach

I know I am starting to become repetitive about The Dinette Set, but seriously...

These people are far to stupid to have a functioning autonomic nervous system.

I guess I need to add today's "effort" to the growing list of panels in which Burl and Joy display preternatural stupidity about relatively simple concepts involving mathematics, linguistics, time, and (now) proximity.

19 November 2007

Thanksgiving Sickness

In today's Dinette Set an unbelievable amount of dialog is used to make the joke, to use that term loosely, that some people call into work sick when (gasp) they are not in fact sick. If we were to assume this was worth any words at all, an assumption I will not grant, surely it could be done with much fewer than this?

16 November 2007

Shuttle Bus from Hell

Today's Dinette Set doesn't make much sense, if you ask me, and since you bothered to come here, I'll assume you are asking me, if only in some small way.

I simply cannot make anything of the fact that Carnegie Mall has shuttle busses.

I don't know if these ladies are at Carnegie Mall or another mall.

I don't know where Burl and Joy are.

Mostly, however I don't understand how anyone leaving the mall will be able to open their car door.

15 November 2007

Feed the Artist

Today's Dinette Set could be about anything, anything at all. It doesn't matter. Because at the end of the day it's just about a gigantic plug for Dinette Set merchandise.

I feel compelled to note that Bill Watterson, the creator of the greatest comic strip ever, was never willing to sully his creation by merchandising it.

14 November 2007

Feed the World

Today's Dinette Set, features people unclear on the concept on the textual and meta-textual level. That Burl does not understand should come as a surprise to absolutely no one. That the artist tortures the English language in a desperate attempt to make this joke fit into the setup also should come as a surprise to no one.

Not that it's not annoying as hell and totally unecessary. Assuming the artist is not paid by the word, I suggest the following:

Timmy: Did you know millions of kids in other countries go to bed hungry?
Burl: Relax. I'm going to finish everything on my plate.

At that point, all one needs to do is draw a comically over-stacked plate of food. Which, I know, is asking too much.

06 November 2007

Blood for Oil

Today's Dinette Set is a lesson in parochial slang. Apparently in some area of the world people refer to paintings as "oils." I am reasonably certain they retain the right to vote despite this fact, which is certainly disturbing.

05 November 2007

Emergency Services

I have to keep this short today, because I'm off to dial 911. No, not in anticipation of a bloody car-on-Rascal accident. Repeated reading of The Dinette Set, and the attendant forehead smacking, has resulted in fairly severe cranial damage.

At any rate, all I will say about this particular vignette is that you can file it under "Conversations no human being has ever had; set in an Escheresque landscape."

01 November 2007

Not to Mention that Septuagenarian Smell

If you are feeling guilty about finding today's Dinette Set kind of funny, don't beat yourself up. One thing the Dinette Set gets right on occasion is Burl's hostility towards Ma.

31 October 2007

Porch Light Trilogy

In today's Dinette Set, I couldn't care less about Burl's hatred of Halloween and of trick-or-treaters. I am, however, absolutely baffled by the ovals of light surrounding Dale and Timmy, not to mention Timmy's costume itself.

30 October 2007

Spooky Chemlawn

Today's Dinette Set completes a thematic trifecta in which Burl and Joy demonstrate preternatural stupidity about things mathematical, lingual, and (now) temporal. I would love to convince myself this was deliberate, but I suspect the artist is actually simply running out of ideas in more dramatic fashion than previously suspected.

On the other hand, one revealing detail in today's panel stands head-and-shoulders above anything else.

I am delighted to find out that Burl, when removing his Halloween pumpkin, cannot stifle the urge to stomp on it. I imagine this small annual expression of sheerest rage is the thin wall which keeps the demons at bay and prevents Burl from doing the same thing to Joy.

29 October 2007

Shut Up Just About Covers It

Today's Dinette Set is the verbal equivalent of Friday's mathematical Dinette Set.

Despite attempts to prove the contrary, I remain confident saying that misunderstandings of simple concepts, like commonly-understood phrases or mathematics, are not funny (whether they are a result of willful idiocy or a stupidity so profound as to defy description makes no difference).

Each Dinette Set which plumbs these depths anew only strengthens my conviction.

26 October 2007

Seven Pumpkins

Today's Dinette Set is another in a series of desperate attempts to prove that poor math skills are fertile ground for humor. The net effect, predictably, is to prove the exact opposite.

And yet Burl's "No!" still manages to be the strangest part of the panel.

24 October 2007

Call to Complain

Every Dinette Set should include a number you can use to call in and complain.

Or to ask questions, like: Why does Burl's bumper sticker say "Drive only carries 100's" instead of "Driver"? Similarly, does the use of "100's" instead of "100s" represent a subtle joke or the fact that you don't understand the use of apostrophes?

23 October 2007

Art Contest

Today's Dinette Set is as confusing as they get. If I may attempt to summarize the narrative sequence of events we are requested to follow:
  • Apparently, a magazine had an "art" contest to trace Binky the Deer, who looks suspiciously like Bambi.
  • Apparently Burl, for reasons passing understanding, entered this contest, not to mention the fact that this implies Burl was reading (or looking at) a magazine.
  • Apparently, a child won the contest rather than Burl.
  • Apparently, the artist believes someone is still paying attention.
  • Apparently, the County Fair in Crustwood has an art contest and Burl entered it.
  • Apparently, Burl won this contest.
If you made it this far, your reward is a punchline with such tortured grammar ("rigged for kids") that it is almost incomprehensible.

22 October 2007

A Cry for Help

Today's Dinette Set is a desperate cry for help from the artist, who is apparently besieged by SPAM.

OK, here's the secret...stop putting your email address into every form you come across on the Internet.

If that doesn't work, get a new email address.

12 October 2007

Every so often...

In today's Dinette Set, I actually smiled a little bit. Burl's comment was snide and wildly inappropriate. Of course, intimating violence against animals isn't a good recipe for humor. But at least it showed a willingness to go too far for a change.

Of course, the remainder, especially the incomprehensible marginalia, is dreadful.

11 October 2007

Busting Out

I refuse to even begin to speculate as to what is "barely in" anywhere in today's Dinette Set. Rather, I would like to draw your attention to the following rather stunning use of, for lack of a better term, language:
Verla: I can't believe she's your age, Ma.
Ma: I know!...And she's actually 6 months younger.

10 October 2007

Monkeys and Typewriters

I'd like to think today's Dinette Set is a strange reference to the opening scene in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead in which the question of what happens to probability in the absence of natural forces (e.g., in a fictional setting) is explored.

More likely it's just the author mistakenly believing humor can be mined from poor math skills.

09 October 2007

Party Poopers

The marginalia in today's Dinette Set, specifically the reference to buying Burl a size small party hat, caused me to really closely examine the appearance and topology of Burl's head for the first time since I started the blog over a year ago.

As such, I am now questioning how I've spent the last year of my life.

08 October 2007

Emphasis Theirs

In today's Dinette Set, Patty's overreaction to the word "only" makes no sense.

"The storm only killed three people" implies exactly what Burl thinks, that it could have been worse.

"The storm only managed to kill three people" just sounds disappointing.

05 October 2007


When first reading today's Dinette Set, I thought random man said "three buck for the crackpot" and Burl refused out of his latent tenderness towards Joy.

And then I realized the man said "crockpot" and Burl refused out of less-than-believable idiocy.

I think the version I just imagined is better.

04 October 2007

Know thyself

Burl, despite all his faults, at least demonstrates a rudimentary sense of self-awareness in today's Dinette Set. Of course, this certainly raises the question of how, exactly, he found himself entered in a weightlifting contest. Which makes for one of the least likely backdrops for a Dinette Set.

And yet the mass of dark zombies still manages to heighten the weirdness.


03 October 2007

TV Dinners

In today's Dinette Set, Burl doesn't appear to understand the difference between cooking and warming something up in the microwave.

Interestingly, however, if the dialog is read literally Burl may not be wrong. After all, isn't it more than likely that the somethin' Van saw on TV was a commercial for a microwave dinner?

02 October 2007


In today's Dinette Set, once again the reader is forced to wonder how people this stupid have a functioning autonomic nervous system.

And yet, I'm mostly just fascinated by a TV set or cable company that broadcasts the message "ERROR" when something is wrong.

And disheartened by yet another "It must be x:00 somewhere" gag.

01 October 2007

I've Fallen

In today's Dinette Set, the artist once again demonstrates a lack of knowledge regarding the difference between humorous commentary on aging and cruelly mocking deranged elderly people for the mere fact that they are rapidly approaching death.

28 September 2007

Art Faire

In today's Dinette Set, we are able, at least, to divine that our protagonists are Philistines and laugh at them for that reason.

Burl's desire to go to a MacDonald's Playplace sure is a surreal ending, however.

27 September 2007


In today's Dinette Set...nope, sorry, I can't help you out. I am at a total loss to even explain what's supposed to be going on today. I'm not even sure Joy's dialog can be parsed.

26 September 2007


In today's Dinette Set art imitates life as a car wreck is a pretty apt metaphor for this absolute nonsense commentary about voyeurism and the attempt to draw the aftermath of said accident.

25 September 2007

O Slole Oddness

In today's Dinette Set, class warfare, as always when Mr. Sheldrake joins the fun, is simmering just below the surface. Today is no exception with the elite breaking the backs of the workers as they feast off the sweat of their lower-class brothers.

And yet, my attention is drawn inexorably, not to the zombies, but to the speaker-stand papered with a map showing Italy and Crustwood. Italy, however, appears to be situated on some sort of mirror image of North America, because Europe is definitely not shaped like that.

The message is clear...for the blue-collar worker America rules and Europe can go to hell!

24 September 2007

Zombie Flares

Today's Dinette Set is almost devoid of marginalia, settling for just 2 fake tabloid titles and some standard commentary regarding Burl's bowels.

The background, usually a canvas against which is set all manner of marginalia, is today dominated by the meeting of a white white semi-circle and the encroaching darkness. The heads of two white zombies jut into the darkness.

Shall we read into this that the white zombies are winning the battle? I think we shall.

21 September 2007

Debutante Ball

It would be hard to measure my apathy toward today's Dinette Set. Everything in it is such an enormous stretch from reality that the whole thing amounts to nothing. Burl's final remark is especially infuriating. Despite being a play off the tortured weather references regarding Verl's dress, it makes absolutely no sense whatever.

And yet, I'm absolutely in love with the "Press" photographer who appears to be holding the camera's viewfinder up to his mouth.

Double points to any commenter who can actually read Burl or Joy's name tag.

20 September 2007


In today's Dinette Set, no one could possibly pay attention to the substance of the panel while that computer logo cries for attention.

It appears to be some sort of monstrous pumpkin that is feasting on crumbs from itself or the entrails of its latest victim. In either case, such a logo could only signify some sort of slamming gaming rig.

Which means Burl and Joy must be pretending to be computer idiots in order to get Patty out of the house so they can join their guild for raid in Molten Core.

19 September 2007


In today's Dinette Set there are too many numbers flying around and I am much too tired to even attempt to parse this text and figure out what's going on.

I suspect it has something to do with how fat they are and how much they eat.

None of which explains why the waiter is quavering with fear as he approaches a very angry-looking patron, which is the most interesting thing going on in the panel.

18 September 2007

Zombie Wars will be Televised

In today's Dinette Set, the zombie hordes attend a basketball game, I think.

Actually, it's quite hard to tell what sport those shirts are supposed to indicate. Maybe bowling? Bocce? Four-square? Oh, hell, let's just say the zombies are lining up to watch a random indeterminate ball-bouncing game.

At any rate, what worries me most is how, standing at that crazy angle, Crustwood Dad expects to prevent himself from falling over backward. Once he falls over and cracks his head open on the bleacher, the zombies will make short work of him, that's for sure.

17 September 2007

Sire Arthur rolls over in his grave

In today's Dinette Set, it's unclear whether the Penny's are attempting to shoplift or whether random supermarket employee is over-reacting in a massive way. Not that I really much care, since neither is all that funny.

And my attention is still drawn irresistibly to the white zombies.

14 September 2007

Double Your...Something

Prior to today, I'd never have believed you if you told me that a Dinette Set entirely related to the intricacies of chewing gum would defy odds and, owing to the Dinette Set's odd provincialism, be utterly hilarious.

And I would have been right.

13 September 2007

The Elephant in the Room

It's interesting that the artist of The Dinette Set seems to believe that corporations choose their regional Vice Presidents in the same manner that a Community Theatre finds a male lead for Oklahoma.

The only difference being that the corporation can afford a humongous sign to announce something which everyone in the room presumably already knows--namely, why they are there--and another large sign to indicate the location of the "judges."

Oh, and the phrase Burl is looking for is not "Dummies say what."

12 September 2007

You Say Tomato...

Concentrate all your focus on the content of today's Dinette Set, despite the fact that it is utterly forgettable (ha, ha, ha...home grown vegetables are free and better than store bought!).

Otherwise you'll be forced to look at the marginalia which features deep dives into sophomoric sexual humor (random lady's T-shirt) and sophomoric scatological humor (Burl's choice of breakfast cereal).

11 September 2007

The Horse Race

So, candidates pander and voters are beauty-obsessed idiots. Yeah, that really needed saying.

But what's truly odd is that The Dinette Set, which is almost never topical or political because it wallows in the superficial and parochial, chooses to be topical and political on September 11...but not about September 11.

10 September 2007

Head On

I am unaware of what HeadOn is, but unless it's slogan is "Yes" this panel makes no sense at all.

Not to mention the fact that "in unison" means something altogether different when it is audible voices and when it is a drawing of 5 people sharing a single word balloon.

And, so, I feel like Timmy, who is clearly wondering what the hell he is doing with these people and how he can make them all go away.

07 September 2007

The Chippendale in the Trash

Today's Dinette Set is a freak show of symmetry.
  • Burl and Jerry stand in virtually the identical position, with their left hand, as almost always, tucked suspiciously into a front pants pocket.
  • Joy and Verla stand in mirrored symmetry, and both seem to be suffering from forearm pseudopodia, although the swelling in Joy's extremity seems to have gone down a bit.
But what really makes this panel special is the fact that the artist took such care to stencil "Penny" on the garbage can visible through the fence.

As if, without that detail, the reader would be unable to understand the panel because they would not realize they were standing in the Penny's yard or because they would not understand that it is garbage day on both sides of the street.

06 September 2007

Revolving Credit

Today's Dinette Set was a lot funnier when Married With Children did the same thing with the family dog in 1988.

Of more pressing concern, however, is that Joy's forearm pseudopodia, first diagnosed by E-R-O-X, appears to be getting worse.

05 September 2007

A Fine Example

Millenia from now, if someone wanted to demonstrate to our Galactic Overlords what the 21st Century's Dinette Set was all about, I think this panel would fit the bill nicely.

It begins with several lines of the most pedestrian conversation imaginable and ends with a vaguely inappropriate remark from Burl. A remark so parochial as to be virtually indistinguishable from continuation of the same boring conversation.

The key characteristic, of course, is that Burl's remark should be only vaguely inappropriate, since the panel lacks the courage necessary to say something wildly inappropriate that might actually be, you know...funny.

04 September 2007

Motor Mouths

In todays Dinette Set, all of the players run off at the mouth and the reader still has no clue what's going on.
  • When you check into a hotel or motel, you usually park by reception until you are assigned a room...are they saying they sleep in reception?
  • Are they assigned a room close to the exit because the motor inn is so happy to see them leave?
  • Just how often do these folks visit Salinas?
  • And why do they visit Salinas?
  • Why mention Salinas so specifically at all? Especially when you mean Salinas, KS and not Salinas, CA.
I think this one gets filed under the general rubric of "Dinette Set panels it is impossible to understand unless you are the artist or share the artist's exact parochial knowledge base."

03 September 2007

Putting the Cracker in Cracker Barrel

In today's Dinette Set, Burl admits to larceny so petty it's hard to believe someone felt the need to publish it in comic form.

The largest crime on the page, of course, is the illustration of a spoon in Marlene's hand which is hardly believable as a spoon.

31 August 2007

Table for One

In today's Dinette Set, Jerry's extreme reaction suggests there's something ripe for ridicule in a woman dining alone and talking to the staff:
  • Possibly the mere notion of human interaction is a target of ridicule?
  • Possibly the fact that Joy doesn't join in the ridicule is, in itself, ridiculous?
Either way, I think we've reached nadir of both humor and humanity.

30 August 2007


From now on, all panels devoted to the hirsute nature of Jerry or his kin will simply be greeted with the following response:


That way I will devote roughly the same amount of energy as is spent conceiving of panels on this topic.

29 August 2007

Cyber Worm

In today's Dinette Set, it would appear Burl is confusing viruses with computer games, which counts as one of life's least common misunderstandings. Which is a shame since the Dinette Set has shown the ability to be technologically savvy on occasion.

On an unrelated note, does anyone have a theory about when the artist chooses to mock a brand name (Dull) versus use it correctly (Eddie Bauer, Cartier). My theory is that it's exclusively a function of whether the brand in question is personally favored by the artist or not. While fairly unsatisfying, this explanation at least fits into the extreme parochial zeitgeist of the panel.

28 August 2007

2+2 = A Bushel of Corn

Shorter version of today's Dinette Set:
  • Burl: 25 cents is less than 20 cents!
  • Joy: I agree.
Shorter...and just as funny.

27 August 2007

A Hurricane?

In today's Dinette Set, I'm still confused about this hurricane in Illinois thing.

A nonsense set up doesn't suddenly make sense if you just say a bunch of fictional people also believe in the nonsense.

That said, it's somehow perfectly fitting that the characters in the Dinette Set can't understand the Harry Potter phenomena. It is a book, after all.

25 August 2007

Unnecessary Details

In today's Dinette Set, the artist challenges the reader to spot all of the details which add absolutely nothing to the panel:
  • Verla's entire dialog balloon, and half of Dale's.
  • The poster board labeled "Large Print Monopoly Game".
  • Timmy's head peeking out from behind Joy.
  • The stack of 45s on the table.
  • The gargantuan family portrait occupying the entire background.
  • The painting of the balloon on the wall.
  • The light switch.
  • A lamp with down arrows as decoration.
  • Burl's T-shirt, unless we assume the artist does not understand what a "toadie" is.

24 August 2007

Happy Birthday Dale

In today's Dinette Set, Burl believes Jerry has recycled a birthday card; the reader, by contrast, is puzzling over the following:
  • What is the point of mocking Jerry's frugality when, from all appearances, Jerry and Verl brought two rather large presents.
  • Why is the card radioactively glowing?
  • OK, I get the idea of recycling a card. But wouldn't the natural assumption be that the card was given by Burl to Jerry? If that is true, why is "Dale" the only thing written on the envelope, unless Jerry got a new envelope? And if Jerry got a new envelope, why would it be taped shut?

22 August 2007

The Sound of Music

In today's Dinette Set, the artist once again misunderstands that an audio joke does not work in an entirely visual medium.

21 August 2007

A Swat on the Nose

In today's Dinette Set, the reader must question their sanity, although questioning the artist is more appropriate:
  • Are we to understand that rather than going out to solicit help in finding their dog, these unknown neighbors simply waited for Burl, Joy, Marlene, and Dale to wander over and then ordered them to go search?
  • Are we to understand that this dog will only wander in alleys?
  • Are we to understand there are alleys in suburbia?
  • Finally, what exactly are we to understand from Burl's rather sinister parting shot? He's either killed the dog or adopted it. The 101 100 Dalmatians on Ice T-shirt is, unfortunately, not encouraging.
One thing we can be sure of...the artist does not know how to spell Dalmatian.

20 August 2007

The candy is not the only thing that is stale

In today's Dinette Set, it's once again hard to understand exactly what's the joke is supposed to be:
  • The mere existence of Memorial Day candy?
  • That, somehow, Memorial Day candy does not satisfy Joy's requirements for candy?
  • That Burl does not understand the concept of time?
  • The irony between the current staleness of Memorial Day candy and the future staleness of Hallowe'en candy?
There are, however, a few things which are certain:
  • There's no humor to be mined out of the irony between the current staleness of Memorial Day candy and the future staleness of Hallowe'en candy.
  • The artist has become overly enamored of the "it's gotta be {insert theme here} time somewhere" motif.
  • The artist has become more realistic when it comes to her attempt to get free stuff by mentioning products in the panel.
  • The shambling horde of evil dark zombies which inhabit Crustwood's supermarkets are about to go to war against a shambling horde of good white zombies.

17 August 2007

Home Appliances

In today's Dinette Set, Dale and Marlene flaunt their disposable income through an Eddie Bauer signature grill.

In a case of art mirroring life, the artist continues to shill her soul for disposable income through product placement dollars. This includes a vain pipe dream that including the word Cartier in the panel will cause the renowned jeweler to send her a gift.

16 August 2007


In today's Dinette Set, the entire panel hangs on the slender hope that the reader will find it hilarious that Verla thinks Marlene is in great shape.

But, in fact, the reader is unable to pay attention to anything but the weirdly Escheresque way the living room, kitchen, and basement door all seem to exist along the same two-dimensional plane.

15 August 2007


In today's Dinette Set, it's all about proving who's a greater Luddite:
  • A $98 calculator? For that price it should do your homework for you.
  • The kid is in 7th or 8th grade, by now I hope he already knows his multiplication tables. Or as Dale says, as if he were a grizzled prospector: "timesing and minusing."
  • Burl doesn't even understand the purpose of a slide rule.

14 August 2007

Oreo Zombies

In today's Dinette Set, Oreo product placement dominates the narrative and corrupts artistic integrity. But I'm more worried about the background shambling hordes of zombies who seem to inhabit of all of Crustwood's supermarkets.

13 August 2007

What's So Funny Bout...

In today's Dinette Set, the artist's level of certainty about what is supposed to be funny here does not match the reader's:
  • Is it that Burl is a slow reader and can't finish a novel in 3 weeks?
  • Is it that Burl does not understand that you can re-check items out?
  • Is it that Burl is so cheap he's unwilling to pay $0.10/day for overdue books?
  • Is it that Burl can read at all?
Whatever it is, I will say that under no circumstances should The Dinette Set be making boob jokes. Leave that to the professionals, like Judge Parker.

10 August 2007


In today's Dinette Set, there's at least one detail confusing things:
  • If the joke is that they are asking if the Blizzard contains bananas when everyone knows that M&Ms do not contain bananas, asking about Peanut M&Ms just confuses the joke.
  • If the joke is that they demand an excessive amount of clarity regarding M&Ms in their Blizzard signage , then asking about bananas just confuses the joke.
  • If the joke is both at once, then the wrongheaded choice just confuses the reader.
oh, and after yesterday's "sticky stuff" reference, Joy's shirt is going way, way too far.

09 August 2007

The Moment Before the End

In today's Dinette Set...uh...

Oops, better start over.

In today's...hmmmm...

Sorry, I'm just really distracted by the fact that Burl is being considerate and reasonable.

I have no explanation other than the possibility that aliens have replaced Burl with a replicant. Or, aliens have replaced artist Julie Larson with a replicant.

Either works for me.

08 August 2007

I Vote for Dale's Dementia

In today's Dinette Set, the artist challenges the reader to decide what is the least funny thing in the panel:
  • The punchline, which seems to amount to the fact that the guys are watching Full House, and nothing else.
  • Dale's senile dementia.

07 August 2007

Paper or Plastic

In today's Dinette Set, Burl and Joy think selfishly and act selfishly yet again. And yet the only thing anyone will notice in this panel is the following:
  • "It doesn't save to recycle glass or paper..." Once again, the inescapable conclusion is that no one ever reviews these panels before they get published.
  • Why is a trowel hanging, like the Sword of Damocles or Chekhov's Gun, over Patty's head.
  • Oh, and screen door shorts.

06 August 2007

Random musings

In today's Dinette Set, I am so confused I can't come up with a coherent thread for my musings:
  • Why is Burl, the class warrior, suddenly a part of the management class rather than the lumpenproletariat? Or is he an invader and interloper as suggested by the fact that he does not sport a corporate logo?
  • Why, precisely, does the artist think it's so funny to suggest people have to be locked in a seminar of this nature?
  • What, precisely, does Burl's skepticism have to do with anything?
  • Are we really supposed to believe those are soda bottles in the back? If so, they are the worst-drawn soda bottles in the history of...well, history. Alternately, I will entertain the supposition that they are poorly-disguised bottles of drain cleaner and either Burl or U-Stor-It are attempting mass murder.

03 August 2007

Dead Artist Walking

In today's Dinette Set, the Pennys stumble (must have been inadvertent) across an art booth; this brief encounter with poorly-scanned classical artwork doesn't prevent the reader from scratching their head because:
  • Burl seems to simultaneously believe these are reproductions (painted by deceased people) and at the same time painted by Jabba (the non-starving person)
  • Or, Burl seems to believe that if Jabba is not starving he must be deceased, despite evidence to the contrary, such as the fact that he is drinking a soda.
Either way, the inescapable conclusion is that no one ever reviews these panels before they get published.

02 August 2007

Moons over My-Hammy

In today's Dinette Set, hoo-boy! I can barely write from the laughing. See, they're all obese over-eaters and should die soon!

In another bright note, Luther/Burl's sequestration ended quickly.

01 August 2007

Luther's 1 Thesis

In today's Dinette Set, I fear the reader is adrift in a sea of questions:
  • Luther? Who is Luther?
  • Why does Burl/Luther want to talk to the judge? Is he trying to dodge jury duty with a Contempt of Court charge? Or is he worried about being lonely? Or does he want to discuss the case?
  • Under what emergency situation would someone need an over-sized gavel?
  • Cingular is now paying for product placement?
  • They're making chairs out of screen door material?

31 July 2007

Blowing a Fuse

In today's Dinette Set, obstacles litter the path to extracting any enjoyment from today's panel:
  • The reader is supposed to accept there's an entire book on replacing fuses?
  • The reader is supposed to believe someone is aware that Ma blows fuses in her house often...literally.
  • The reader is supposed to be ironically amused by the fact that Burl spent 30 minutes discussing a heating vent, and yet the panel itself contains somewhere around 180 words which are at least marginally legible. 180 god damned words. That's not humor, it's a sign of dementia.

30 July 2007

Tour de Force

In today's Dinette Set, it's as if the artist is just throwing stuff in there to annoy me:
  • In the category of grammatical woes: "You were a lifesaver" who the hell would use the past tense here?
  • In the category of drawing perspective: The only place that car could possibly exist is in an Escher painting.
  • In the category of stuff that takes too long to explain to be worth explaining: how much gas is in the car.
  • In the category of stuff that doesn't even need to be there: the car keys in Burl's disembodied arm.
  • In the category of unjustified bits of the narrative: Dale's shock-lined reaction.
  • In the category of stuff to annoy pinball: screen door pants.

18 July 2007

Scratch the Surface

In today's Dinette Set, the background details demand comment:
  • Real classy comment with those road worker T-shirts.
  • Why exactly do you need both Timmy's dialog and the increased fines sign?
  • Dear God! What the hell has happened to Timmy and Dale's faces?

17 July 2007

Meta-Post: Travel

I may not be consistent for the next 10 days as I take a vacation. I will try to post at some point during that time, but it will be light and sporadic.


In today's Dinette Set, what's most important here not what's being said but what's not being said, and from this we can determine something about each character's politics:
  • Joy appears to be a supporter of Fred Thompson.
  • Jerry, ironically is the deepest cipher. On the one hand, perhaps he may support torture and would really like to see Jack Bauer as President. Alternately, you could argue that Jerry supports Barack Obama who is black like Dennis Haysbert.
  • Verl supports Hillary Clinton, in all likelihood.
  • Burl is a bigoted idiot and, thankfully, probably won't vote.

16 July 2007

Unimagineable Horror

In today's Dinette Set, we return from a restful weekend away from the horrors of commenting on The Dinette Set to find horrors both real and imagined:
  • Burl confuses the meaning of "faint of heart" and "gullible" despite such a massive misunderstanding defying non-supernatural explanation.
  • The mere possibility of six ghosts in the next room is less horrifying than the way people's faces slowly merge into the background of the hall they are in now.
  • Most horrible of all is the sheer size of Dot, the Tour Guide; and I am not talking just about her girth. She dwarfs everyone on the room along all dimensions. If anyone disappears while taking the tour, I'm afraid their fate is all too evident.

13 July 2007

A Mighty Wind

Today's Dinette Set needs help, so in deference to Nikki, I am going to try to be nice today and help out with some suggested alternate dialog to replace this rather wordy version:
  • Random neighbor: "Our table and umbrella are broken. Did you see what happened?"
  • Burl: "Nope."
I think that about covers it...though that still leaves us with the problem of deciphering what is going on.

I mean, I suppose we're meant to assume Burl and Joy broke the man's table and umbrella. Or that the wind broke the Penny's umbrella while sparing the man's umbrella and they swapped while the man was out.

But, I'll be damned if I can find a single shred of visual or textual evidence for either of those theories.

Unless we count Burl's rather strange lie, saying the umbrella shot off when it is in plain view. But had he broken or stolen the man's umbrella, Burl would know the umbrella was sitting in plain view, so that can't possibly justify either of those interpretations.

Leaving us with only one remaining conclusion: the dialog is meant to be taken literally and we have, yet again, peered in on one of the single most boring and pointless conversations ever published in comic form.

Which, I suppose, is not a very nice thing to say.

Sorry, Nikki, I tried.

Update: regular commenters pinball and millard suggest an alternate vaguely plausible explanation. That said, there is as little evidence to support that reading as those I posited. T-shirt text notwithstanding, the rather oddly prominent hedge on the neighbor's side of the fence would seem to be a barrier to quick action on their part, if the idea of Burl climbing a fence were not implausible enough. At any rate, as both commenters might agree, additional vaguely possible explanations for this panel only further the original point about clarity, though I admit my suggested dialog would need to be amended to have Burl say "Yep" instead.

12 July 2007

Mood Swings

In today's Dinette Set, we'll use the Mood Ring to tell the story of the reader's trek through this panel:
  • Black (Stressed, tense or feeling harried) - A mood ring? A mood ring? Seriously, you want to base a panel on a freaking mood ring?
  • Grey (Anxious, very nervous, strained) - Seriously, have you never heard of Wikipedia? You're too lazy to look up what the colors actually mean? Instead you substitute some half-assed cultural color equivalents?
  • Amber (A little Nervous, emotions mixed, unsettled) - Dale is voicing what I was thinking, that a mood ring is a really unusual item? Crap, it just makes me hate myself when any part of me comes even close to being reflected by one of these asses.
  • Blue (Relaxed, at ease, calm, stoned) - actually, this happens 20 minutes later after I decided on an alternate activity to reading the final dialog balloon. Can anyone tell me what happened there at the end?

11 July 2007


In today's Dinette Set, most readers no doubt share my complete confusion about just what the hell is going on:
  • Burl saved some one's life and yet the setting for the panel is lounging in the pool? Are we supposed to draw some conclusion from this diametric opposition.
  • How does the prominently-placed life preserver figure into all of this?
  • Given the Penny's recently won second prize in a sweepstakes, what should the reader make of the fact that Joy has yet to make the mental shift and still considers $50 a lot of money.

10 July 2007

Is It Safe?

In today's Dinette Set, Burl gets chastised by his dentist, leading the reader to follow suit and chastise the artist for:
  • Rather unnaturally not contracting the dentist's dialog. What was wrong with "I don't think you've flossed?"
  • The gratuitous shot at hobos. What have they ever done to you?
  • The attempt to express nervousness through Burl's wriggling feet. What made you think you could pull that idea off with 4 movement lines when you can't even convincingly draw crossed legs?

09 July 2007

Half Life

In today's Dinette Set, the artist explores whether fractions can be funny:
  • Nope.

06 July 2007

House Welcome

In today's Dinette Set, the gang visit an unlikely-named French restaurant while...

Sorry, I can't focus on anything but the way the maƮtre d's arm is hanging over that podium. Is he supposed to be wearing the podium?

05 July 2007

Voter Fraud

In today's Dinette Set, the artist offers the following items to consider so the reader is not forced to think about the actual content of the panel:
  • The screen door pants have migrated to Branson, Missouri.
  • McDonald's and Wendy's don't offer samples.
  • Some candidate has their Campaign headquarters in the back corer of the voter registration tent.

04 July 2007

Pool of Horrors

In today's Dinette Set, we're back to the horrifying mental imagery, leaving the reader to fend off the following:
  • Questions about why Dale and Jerry appear to be squatting down.
  • Concerns regarding the appropriateness of planting a flag in urine-ridden water.
  • Worries about possible interpretations of Jerry's sly sideways glance.

03 July 2007

Check, Please!

In today's Dinette Set, I think the reader is supposed to find it ironic that Dale and Burl are arguing over who won't pay for the check, rather than arguing over who will be generous and pay the check. The sheer audacious wrongheadedness of this attempt at irony, which if fighting against every single thing we've ever learned about Burl and Dale, cause the following internal monologue in the reader:
  • Hey, look, a Paris Hilton ref...wait a minute, this is the least ironic premise ever.
  • Established in both 2001 and...hold on, does the artist really think I'm this stupid?
  • A bit of Dallas marginalia...seriously, she can't possibly think I'm going to find this ironic.

02 July 2007

Where's Ed?

In today's Dinette Set, the idea that Burl and Joy have won a sweepstakes is the thing which is the least insulting to the reader's intelligence:
  • The probability of being a second place winner is only marginally smaller than winning the grand prize, and this comic has no memory, so just let them win the damn sweepstakes, for God's sake; the rest will make more sense.
  • The reader is supposed to believe they interview the second place winner on camera?
  • Is the joke supposed to be that Burl is not good on camera? Why would the reader find that funny or surprising?
  • The marginalia exhibits an entirely unnecessary amount of sweepstakes skepticism.

27 June 2007

Self-help Seminar of the Damned

In today's Dinette Set, the gang attend a Tony Robbins seminar; the concept of why these people are attending should be puzzling enough but the reader is more puzzled by:
  • After de facto admitting that you can't accurately draw Tony Robbins, by showing him from behind, why did the artist allow her zeal for a worthless vanity gag override that realization by showing, in the mirror's reflection, the face of Psychiatrist John?
  • How divorced from reality must one be to believe you can get into a Tony Robbins Seminar for $25 dollars?
  • "If you can't motivate yourself, who will?" was apparently deemed so damned funny, it was included twice?
  • How long has it been since we've seen the screen door pants? Seems like forever.

26 June 2007

Duck and Cover

In today's Dinette Set, the reader is encouraged to come up with crazy-ass interpretations for why Dale will "be outside before you know it:"
  • Given the Tshirt-based diagnosis of ADD, he will simply forget about yesterday's global-thermonuclear devastation and wander outside.
  • He will be unable to go more than one day without a buffet.
  • He will go crazy after just one day drinking Kool-Aid.
  • He will get bored and choose death/mutation over one more day in the bunker with Marlene, Burl, and Joy. Truthfully, who among us wouldn't make that choice?

25 June 2007

And I Don't Care

In today's Dinette Set, the emotional abuse of Timmy continues apace while the reader struggles to make sense of marginalia:
  • What has the movie Seven got to do with this? Being an asshole to your neighbor's grandchild should be a deadly sin, but technically it isn't.
  • The Miracle Worker? Nope, sorry, can't see the connection between Helen Keller and this panel.
  • Sponsored by The Container Store? Again, I fail to see the connection.
  • Perhaps the artist pasted the wrong background in? Perhaps readers are more clever than I am? Have fun in the comments.
Finally, I would like to point out that I doubt Burl would shell out for Premium cable, like Showtime.

21 June 2007

Marketing Dollars

In today's Dinette Set, product placement dollars continue to corrupt the artist's vision, while the reader contemplates other potential commercial tie-ins:
  • Are you a guest here at the Ritz? No. There are some things that money can't buy. For everything else, there's MasterCard.
  • Are you a guest here at the Ritz? No, but I assume what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
  • Are you a guest here at the Ritz? No. Got Milk?

20 June 2007

A Penny For You to Stop

In today's Dinette Set, a tortured setup leads to a leap of logic on Burl's part and yet:
  • Apparently convinced the reader will not understand what standing water is, the reader is treated subjected to 4 different examples of it, including a bucket for apple dunking which, apart from appearing with no explanation, motivation, or connection to the panel, is labeled "Apple Dunking".
  • Apparently convinced that the reference to tossing coins in the toilet wasn't enough scatology for one panel, Joy dons a seriously misguided shirt.
  • Apparently convinced the reader will not understand why all 6 characters are present, the Pennys raise a flag declaring this a "Party."

19 June 2007

Steak Wars

In today's Dinette Set, product placement dollars are on display, by contrast:
  • Any semblance of a joke is noticeably absent.
  • Dignity and restraint are in short supply, when Soylent Green, outdoor plumbing, and steak are combined into one misguided piece of marginalia.
  • The Penny's have at least one more gay porn video on top of their TV than they should have.

18 June 2007

The Long Way Home

In today's Dinette Set, Joy misunderstands the concept while the somewhat barren outdoor setting gives rise to some of the lamest marginalia ever:
  • His/hers pants on the wrong person; because there's a hilarious bounty of difference between shorts for men and women.
  • No loitering in the park; as if it were not possible to illegally loiter in a public space.
  • Fast food references; it's MacDonald's fault the Penny's are morbidly obese.

15 June 2007


In today's Dinette Set we're back at the pool, site of so many past horrors, with a few notes to the Editor who might want to spend more time, you know, editing:
  • Any reference to any Dinette Set character's backside should be considered too revolting to publish.
  • We have had enough of these folks in bathing suits. Seriously.
  • The Anchors Aweigh sister appears to have elephantitis of the thighs (more so than can be explained by her morbid obesity).
  • Do you honestly believe the ladder appears to be on the other side of the pool? Looks to me like it's in the middle of the pool.

14 June 2007

Paper or Plastic

In today's Dinette Set, clarity is not the order of the day:
  • The meaning of Burl's punchline, such as it is, is not clear. It may be as simple as implying that if he hadn't opened the door his mother in law (the bag) would not have come in. But that's a fairly unsatisfying interpretation for such a convoluted setup.
  • I know Timmy is the babe-in-the-woods of The Dinette Set and as such perhaps he might not know why a person puts cucumbers on their eyes. But, realistically-speaking, his only function is to cover for the artist's inability to clearly illustrate cucumbers on Ma's eyes.
  • Ma's pose is clearly meant to be a quotation of Manet's Olympia, but the purpose of that quotation is not clear.

13 June 2007

The Last Section

Let me just say, about today's Dinette Set, thank God it's the last section, because we've now repeated the same basic joke, with insignificant variation for 3 straight days.

12 June 2007

Serial Dating

In today's Dinette Set, tradition is broken by stringing panels together on the same topic for two consecutive days, leading the reader to:
  • Recall fondly the last known serial panels: corn stories.
  • Wonder if the artist is writing from experience because she is dating again or has just read an article about Internet dating.
  • Continue to puzzle over what part of Internet dating is not clear.
  • Give up long before puzzling out what the pairings of movies and TV channels on the to-do list is meant to signify.

11 June 2007

Print Version

In today's Dinette Set, Verla appears to be giving up on Jerry, while the reader is given the following reasons to give up on The Dinette Set:
  • There's a print version of match.com? What part of Internet dating works in magazine form?
  • Any mention of a Dinette Set character and a bikini violates Federal decency statutes.
  • Joy's plan to exploit her daughter's body for her sister's gain boggles the imagination and sickens the stomach.

07 June 2007

Warped Reality

In today's Dinette Set, Burl and Joy attend a choral concert, which is not the most flimsy premise on which today's panel hangs its hopes:
  • In recorded human history, what emcee has ever said "if there are no objections we'll do an encore"?
  • I suspect the choice of shows in the medley is supposed to be part of the joke, but expecting the reader to parse out that joke is optimistic, at best.
  • Even the most amateurish chorale company can come up with a better slogan than the Choral Corral, even if they were going for self-deprecating humor.

06 June 2007

Itsy Bitsy

So, I read that first dialog balloon and spotted Joy's hairy legs and, well...I refuse to read any further.

I'm still trying to recover from Jerry at the pool. So, you're on your own with this one.

05 June 2007

Schoolhouse Rock

In today's Dinette Set, Timmy seeks help from unhelpful sources while the reader seeks:
  • An answer to the question: Where are Timmy's parents and why do they constantly abandon him to Dale and Burl?
  • A new comic that does not dredge up memories of Algebra in search of a joke that, in the end, remains elusive.
  • To understand why 90% of every one's face is blank space.

04 June 2007

White Noise

In today's Dinette Set, the focus is on the spirit world, leaving carbon-based life forms with the following questions for the author:
  • Do you actually believe the average human being knows this much about ghosts and spirits?
  • If I wanted to read that much text over coffee, do you think it would come from Marlene?
  • You do understand that an audio joke doesn't work in a visual medium, right?
  • I barely got over Jerry's hair when you subjected me to Burl's gas? Are you trying to convince me to stop reading?

01 June 2007

Meth Addiction

In today's Dinette Set, Burl and Joy defile the countryside as a means to:
  • Make a joke which appears to be commenting on the relative density of housing in a rural vs. suburban setting, which has to counts as one of the oddest topics anyone has ever tried to find humor in.
  • Make a joke out of the difference between ethanol and methanol, which has to count as one of the most arcane topics anyone has ever tried to find humor in.

31 May 2007

Those Little Moments

In today's Dinette Set, the pool is the scene of any number of crimes against decency:
  • The panel as a whole; sweet lord does anyone believe people want to see something like this while drinking their morning coffee?
  • Jerry's pose: part beached whale, part treed-bear, part centerfold; all wretched.
  • Jerry's shadow: makes it seem as if he has a tail...OK, that may or may not have been deliberate.
  • Joy's mug: Shut up? What the hell does that have to do with anything, unless it was a subconscious message from the artist to herself.

30 May 2007

Music Hath Charms

In today's Dinette Set, Burl samples Celtic music while the reader:
  • Is simply too disinterested to bother looking up Ravinia Squatter.
  • Wonders aloud: "Unwind, sleep, relax...siddown?"
  • Agrees with other readers that the Tranquilscapes CD Title names are too contrived and elicit nothing more than a tired groan from the reader, if that. Middle East Lullaby, indeed.
  • Struggles to find an interpretation that does not turn the Enola Gay into an Anal sex reference.

29 May 2007


In today' Dinette Set, ostensibly we're discussing a gift for Timmy, when really we should be discussing:
  • Whether the notion of buying cologne for an 11-year-old is part of the joke or an indication of just how divorced from reality The Dinette Set is.
  • Whether anyone considered the fact that a panel about aroma would not work in a visual medium.
  • Whether anyone considered just how gay this makes all The Dinette Set men seem.

25 May 2007

A Matter of Minutes

In today's Dinette Set, Burl and Joy can't wait five minutes, the amount of time it would take:
  • For the artist to draw a credible looking phone on the wall.
  • For Joy to pass out from twisting her head 180 degrees and blocking her own windpipe.
  • For an editor to realize this wasn't funny, if only an editor had reviewed it.

24 May 2007

Industrial-Strength Undies

In today's Dinette Set, we are offered three equally unconvincing options in interpreting the panel:
  • Other items in view (trophies, socks, shoes, twist ties) are equally embarrassing, therefore singling out the garters and bras for special shame makes little sense.
  • Selling to the consignment shop is equally embarrassing as selling at a garage sale, therefore does not address the embarrassment issue.
  • The author forgot to include the punchline.

23 May 2007

Shades of Gray

In today's Dinette Set, Burl and Joy split hairs over saccharin, leaving the larger questions unanswered:
  • What does Burl's extra large dialog balloon hide? It's utterly redundant to say "leave without paying" and "walked out and didn't pay" so that can only mean something is hidden behind the word balloon.
  • How can we save Timmy? Is it possible to reach into the panel and extract him, for his own well-being?

22 May 2007

Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires

In today's Dinette Set, the panel appears to be about wilderness survival, but is really about:
  • Winning a bet regarding how many words can be crammed into a 400x400 pixel image, so long as legibility is not a factor.
  • Torturing pinball with pants.
  • A reader contest: can you identify the man in the panel who has had a femur transplanted into his forearm?

21 May 2007


In today's Dinette Set, Timmy acts as the voice of his reason, imploring change to save the planet; in return he is subjected to:
  • Emotional abuse at the hands of Burl and Dale, do you even need to ask?
  • The most nonsensical and improbably titled movie ever: Don't Lower the Bridge, Raise the River.
  • The misfortune of seeing Dale's face merge with the TV set.

19 May 2007

The Art of Negotiation

In today's Dinette Set, Burl demonstrates his prowess at negotiation; by contrast the following things demonstrate very little prowess at anything:
  • Burl's embrace of form over function, which flies in the face of everything we've ever learned about him.
  • The rather poor decision to include a "red" toaster in a black-and-white line drawing.
  • A lamp which is dated for reasons passing understanding and includes a lamp shade made of pinball's favorite fabric.
  • The Redwing knock-off, whatever the hell that is.

18 May 2007

On Golden Pond Scum

In today's Dinette Set, Burl appears to be acting like an ass, however:
  • I suspect Burl's analysis of the Crustwood's Community Theater's performance is more accurate than Joy's.
  • The need to bring baby wipes for Burl makes him more pathetic than anything else. And makes no damn sense.
  • The really remarkable thing is how cheery Ma appears to be, despite the fact that they went somewhere without her.

17 May 2007


In today's Dinette Set, Burl gets a ticket while the reader ponders:
  • Does this panel even contain a joke? Is there supposed to be something funny about the fact that Burl has no plans to speed off while the cop runs his info through the computer? If so, the joke is well-hidden.
  • If you set out to draw the most unconvincing lapel in history, would it be possible to draw a less convincing lapel than the one on the cop's jacket?
  • What is written on the cop's hat? For that matter, why does the Crustwood police force wear bowler hats?
  • Why does the cop carry his gun in his pocket? Alternately, why is his holster made of the same material as his pants?

16 May 2007

Just Like Mom

In today's Dinette Set, Patty is forced into several horrifying realizations:
  • Her purse is the size of a pirate's treasure chest.
  • Newton's laws are not in effect, as Burl is able to lean on a shopping cart without it rolling out from under him.
  • One of the shadowy figures in the background appears to be groping the other's crotch. For my own sanity's sake, I choose not to consider the possibility that the motion lines belong to the shadowy figure rather than indicating that Burl is trying to pull Patty over backwards.

15 May 2007

Charity begins at Crust Foods

In today's Dinette Set, Burl anonymously donates a dollar to charity:
  • For the life of me, I can't figure out what's supposed to be funny about his desire for anonymity. Is it because he's aware he is cheap? Is he only doing it for the tax deduction (see Dale's shirt)? Does he not want to be pestered by solicitors? The comments are the location for wild speculation.
  • Joy is "paid for". After yesterday, I don't even want to speculate what that could mean.
  • The cash register shows a total of $1.00. Are we to believe Burl went out of his way to donate $1?

14 May 2007

Banana Hammock

In today's Dinette Set, there is only one thing worth saying:
  • Dear God! I think they're talking about Jerry's old Speedo.
A reminder: after a panel like this, CDC guidelines are in effect. So if you have been exposed, even mildly, claw your eyes out and seek out the most potent sedative you can find.

11 May 2007

The Old Bag

In today's Dinette Set, a company function is the scene of simmering class warfare once again, but the reader is distracted by details:
  • Who is that man fleeing the scene?
  • Is it possible, by adding some badly needed punctuation, to force the words on the raffle sign into a semblance of meaning recognizable to an English-speaking audience?
  • Wouldn't a cash bar have, you know, a bartender?
  • What, precisely, are those balloons supposed to be anchored to? The sign?

10 May 2007

Plastic or Melted Plastic?

In today's Dinette Set, Burl and Joy misunderstand the purpose of plastic utensils, leading the reader to mutter out loud:
  • It's a wonder people this stupid have a functioning autonomic nervous system. Seriously.
  • How much did Solo pay for product placement? How much will they sue for when they find out what they got for their marketing dollars?
  • "You were smart to use...it will make for?" Could you please pick a damn tense and stick with it?

09 May 2007

Tom Jones' Roast Beef

In today's Dinette Set, the girls return from a concert and we must:
  • Invent a likely scenario which involves Tom Jones kissing members of his audience, rather than just dodging their undergarments.
  • Struggle to understand why Burl is suggesting that he would wash his face to remove BBQ sauce, unless it rubbed off Tom Jones' face and onto his own.
  • Ignore Joy's shirt. Seriously, do not look at it.

08 May 2007

Can't Happen Soon Enough

In today's Dinette Set, Marlene discusses the end of the world; on the other hand:
  • Timmy, once again subjected to emotional abuse at the hands of his grandparents and their neighbors, sports a look of horror appropriate if the situation is to be taken literally, but not appropriate if we are just talking about the demise of the Dinette Set.
  • The artist apparently does not believe the reader will understand what a meteor impact might mean, gratuitously splashing death references throughout the panel; always a perscription for comedy gold.

07 May 2007

The Mothman Cometh

In today's Dinette Set, the reader is left to wonder:
  • When did the Pennys move the phone out of the TV room?
  • What are we supposed to make of the fact that Marlene likes to make phone calls during dinner? Is this a comment on Dale and Marlene's relationship?
  • Has there ever been a more stilted bit of dialog than: "Probably Marlene, who likes to call you while they're eating dinner..."
  • What exactly is the joke? Is this a joke only comprehensible by non-TiVo-owning readers?

04 May 2007

Carbon Copy Coffee

In today's Dinette Set, Burl and Joy purchase coffee, causing the reader to wonder:
  • Am I supposed to believe for a second that Burl and Joy buy their coffee for $4 at an artsy coffee shop?
  • Is the artist afraid to write "Jew's Harp" for fear of being called anti-semitic?
  • Does the artist not realize that the College Hill Coffee logo looks completely out of place being a semi photo-realistic style amidst crude line drawings?
Update: h/t to pinball for finding the logo which was copied in making this panel.

03 May 2007

Tornado Tales

In today's Dinette Set, we gather 'round the TV for some o' Burl's homespun wisdom only to find:
  • A prepositional phrase in Burl's dialog that adds nothing whatever to the panel, whereas both the artist and her editor apparently did not notice it.
  • Timmy has not changed his shirt since 26 April; and it still doesn't make any sense.
  • The artist appears to believe we should consider it funny that Burl is frightened when a tornado passes overhead.
  • And yet, the artist appears not to want to discuss the idiocy of being outside during a tornado.

02 May 2007

Seafood Scamps

In today's Dinette Set, the kitchen provides a setting where:
  • Joy or Verla rudely buries her nose in the paper in an attempt to ignore the other people at the table.
  • The author pummels the advertisement versus news joke to death.
  • We discover how close the artist is willing to come to an overt discussion of current events.

01 May 2007

Butts on Stools

In today's Dinette Set, Burl's ass perches atop a stool, while the astute reader:
  • Recognizes that the artist made the exact same joke 4 months ago.
  • Remains just as appalled now as they were 4 months ago to learn that Burl is a Manager.
  • Is impressed enough by the "Windows on Mac" joke that you have to assume the artist's intent was not what you think.
  • Can't understand the sign regarding sick days and vacation days. Are we to believe there's a company that allows people to use sick days as vacation days? In America?

30 April 2007

Full Service

In today's Dinette Set, we see the local gas station where:
  • Burl and Joy, apparently, bring their 2-dimensional cut-out car and pretend to fill it up.
  • The gas station attendants, witnessing this delusional charade, prove to be the only sensible people ever to appear in The Dinette Set.
  • The reader must accept that the artist is wasting our time when all she really wants to do is complain about gas prices.

27 April 2007

Unruly House Guests

In today's Dinette Set, Burl and Joy throw a party, leading the reader to think:
  • Burl and Joy have that many friends? That many people would come to their house? That many people can fit into 15 square feet of the living room?
  • Exactly what sort of anatomical issues does the woman in the middle suffer from?
  • When you have no ability to render perspective, why exactly would you attempt to draw this panel?
  • Joy's shirt? No. No, no, no, no, no, NO!

26 April 2007

Beast and the Beast

In today's Dinette Set, Timmy is front and center leaving the reader to ponder:
  • What in God's name is Timmy's shirt supposed to mean?
  • Why must we always be subjected to images of anger and cruelty towards the Dinette Set's resident babe-in-the woods?
  • Is Burl's shirt/pants ensemble a shout out to commenter Pinball and her his love of the screen door pants?

25 April 2007

At the Buffet

In today's Dinette Set, the gang goes out to lunch while the reader:
  • Is willing to stipulate to the fact that Burl does not consider salad to be food.
  • Wonders what being gross has to do with knowing whether or not something happened.
  • Has difficulty pronouncing Shannadigan's, causing them to puzzle over the misguided play on the terms shenanigans and Bennigan's.

24 April 2007

Have You Seen This Child?

In today's Dinette Set, the disappearance of a child is the back story for:
  • A joke, for reasons passing understanding.
  • Further emphasizing that Burl and Joy are parochial to the point of narcissism, as if that needed to be re-emphasized.
  • Some sort of commentary on the state of the local newspaper, which is obscured by the wrong-headed choice of subject matter.

23 April 2007

Squirelly Squirrel

In today's Dinette Set, Burl fires up the grill while the reader:
  • Can't puzzle out the panel at all. Why exactly did Burl hang corn on the cob from a tree branch? To cool it off?
  • Wonders why the artist didn't finish drawing half the background; did she run out of time?
  • Is a little worried by the Boo Radley reference. Is Dale protecting children from Burl, who is playing the neighborhood role of Bob Ewell?
  • Can't figure out what the weird semi-circular indentation in the tree is supposed to be.

20 April 2007

Chivalry as Phobia

Psychiatrist John makes a cameo in today's Dinette Set, which means:
  • Burl goes out of his way to prove that he's both a neanderthal and an idiot.
  • John wears a T-shirt whose slogan's applicability to the panel as a whole is cryptic, at best.
  • A sign on the wall indicates that Burl has a door behind which he hides brains in a pile. The reasons for this are not obvious.

19 April 2007

Hanks for the Memories

In today's Dinette Set, the family tries to decide what movie to watch while the reader:
  • Desperately tries to recall even the barest details about the movie Splash, released more than 20 years ago.
  • Is not sure that the mermaid in Splash was quite as fat as she appears to be on TV; wasn't she actually slender and kind of sexy, despite the fish tail?
  • Can't understand why Tom Hanks is wearing a T-shirt that says "Hanks" (or, perhaps, "Honks") on it.
  • Ponders the meta-question of why Patty even visits her parents.

18 April 2007

Veggies Deluxe

In today's Dinette Set, Joy and Verl shop for vegetables, amazing the reader to find that:
  • They know where the vegetable aisle is and would even consider ingesting a vegetable.
  • The supermarket has better security, with 2-way mirrors, than most police stations.
  • The cheese sauce is kept in the vegetable aisle.

17 April 2007

Lion in Winter

In today's Dinette Set, Burl and Joy discuss a lion statue
  • For reasons passing understanding.
  • To illustrate that they don't understand the nature of solid objects.
  • So the garden center employee can look askance at them.
  • I got nothing here, I don't even understand what's supposed to be funny about this.

16 April 2007

A Time For Every Season

In today's Dinette Set, Burl and Joy practice tourism in order to:
  • Blame the Biltmore Gardens for the time of year during which Burl and Joy chose to visit.
  • Hang out with a large group of college graduates, people who have travelled outside the United States, and people who make jackets from screen doors.
  • Stand next to a character (in the Duke sweatshirt) who is clearly meant to be the reader's proxy, regarding Burl and Joy with utter disdain.
  • Take up 1/3rd of the panel with an elaborately-detailed illustration of the building that adds nothing to the panel, which is about the gardens.

14 April 2007

Carnival of Horrors

In today's Dinette Set, we ride the Ferris Wheel and discover:
  • The artist isn't brave enough to depict vomit or vomiting, and takes the path of cowardice in covering it with dialog balloons.
  • Mixed vegetables is the worst fake name for a carnival ride. Ever.
  • The occupant of the top car, just visible between dialog balloons, appears to be dead, having plus signs for eyes.

13 April 2007

Because It's There

In today's Dinette Set, Burl and Joy ascend a mountain using their car:
  • As if the reader needed more proof of Burl's lack of ambition.
  • To meet a pack of climbers, at least 2 of whom wear screen door pants, and one of whom (behind the man in the Vail hat) has a right leg which appears to be over 7 feet long.
  • While a biplane flies at over 14,000 feet, the world high altitude record for women pilots at the time of Amelia Earhart.
  • To hold both head and arm in an unnatural position while trying to look nonchalant.

12 April 2007

Theatre of the Absurd

In today's Dinette Set, Burl and Joy go to the movies where the reader is left to wonder:
  • If the artist could actually be bothered to see something as high-brow as The Illusionist
  • Whether there actually are places where employees give enough of a damn about their minimum-wage job that they protect the mega-theatre corporation's profits by hassling patrons about bringing food.
  • If the editor realized that the phrase "check your bag" has another common meaning and might confuse the reader, if only briefly.

11 April 2007

Terminal Illness

In today's Dinette Set, Burl returns to the doctor, causing the reader to:
  • Wonder where Joy is.
  • Re-visit the question of what the band-aid on the doctor's head is supposed to signify.
  • Instill hope that perhaps the doctor is a quack and has misdiagnosed Burl's terminal illness as chronic hypochondria.
  • Include an eye chart on the wall, despite the fact that this is a doctor's office, not an optometrist's office.
  • Come far, far closer to showing Burl's naked ass than should ever be allowed in polite society.

10 April 2007

Grammatical Incorrectness

In today's Dinette Set, the artist offers a grammar lesson for the purpose of:
  • Boring the hell out of the reader.
  • Causing the reader to raise an eyebrow at the notion that Burl remembers something from his school days.
  • Compete with Crankshaft for the title of Biggest Ass in the Comic Pages.
  • Create a couch out of the same screen door material usually reserved for pants.

09 April 2007

The Grass Isn't Greener

In today's Dinette Set, we debate lawn mowing for:
  • No reason which is considered a standard reason for publishing a comic (e.g., humor).
  • To confuse the reader with an impenetrable time line.
  • To prove that the artist cannot effectively illustrate the concept that "the grass hasn't even grown yet." Or at least can't recognize that it would be helpful if they could.
  • To seat Joy on a 2-dimensional porch.

07 April 2007

Questions, questions...

In today's Dinette Set, Joy is not yet dressed and the reader is left to wonder:
  • Why is Jerry sporting a bow tie all of a sudden?
  • Why is Verl's sweatshirt inside out?
  • Is there a minimum dress standard for Wal-Mart but not for Dollar Dump?
  • Why do Burl and Joy both have their hands in their pockets?

06 April 2007

Snakes in a Panel

In today's Dinette Set, the group discusses movie rentals for the purpose of:
  • Attempting to be hip and Internet savvy, but actually just being months late jumping on the Snakes on a Plane bandwagon.
  • Holding out the false hope for the reader that if they return in 5 minutes, the panel might make sense or be funny.
  • Making not one, not two, but three separate boob jokes for no goddamn reason. For God's sake, stop already!

05 April 2007

Gossip Corner

In today's Dinette Set, the folks gather round the table to:
  • Utter an elliptical bit of dialog, including some names with which we are not familiar, after which the reader has no idea what they are talking about.
  • Feign righteous indignation on Burl's part.
  • Make yet another boob joke in poor taste.
  • Include Jerry in the scene, but do not reference him or give him dialog.

04 April 2007

Dirty Laundry

In today's Dinette Set, Burl and Joy hang laundry while the reader:
  • Wonders why the artist only drew about 1/3rd of the background and left the rest blank.
  • Is astounded to find that laundry-hanging is some sort of spectator activity.
  • Recoils in horror at the sight of one of Burl's flabby love handles.
  • Struggles to determine what previous noun Ma's pronoun "them" refers to: fresh air? everything?

03 April 2007

South Mountain

In today's Dinette Set, the gang head to the movies in order to:
  • Disgust the reader.
  • Make the reader retch.
  • Place into the reader's mind an image which the white-hot heat of a thousand suns going supernova could not possibly burn away.
  • Demonstrate a continuing and disturbing inability to recognize where "the line" is.

02 April 2007

Aarf Aarf!

In today's Dinette Set, Burl and Joy laze in their backyard so the reader:
  • Can be introduced to neighbors we never knew they had.
  • Can be witnesses when the police ask if Burl did, in fact, threaten to harm the neighbor's dog.
  • Can wonder about the point of the prominently-placed pinwheel.
  • Can stare at the neighbor with black covering her face and ask: Is that seriously the best you can draw a pair of sunglasses?

30 March 2007

Antiques Horrorshow

In today's Dinette Set, a estate sale provides the setting for:
  • A panel in which we are supposed to accept that a dresser is an antique based on scant visual and textual evidence.
  • A continuation of the class struggle between Burl and the college-educated class.
  • A shadowy background which appears to include giant Rock 'em Sock 'em robots.

29 March 2007


In today's Dinette Set, the men go to ACE Hardware in order to:
  • Make an incredibly stupid observation regarding the standard spelling of a person's name.
  • Demonstrate that Burl has a spider-sense which kicks in whenever he encounters an unusual fact regarding the naming of twin brothers.
  • Reference Tom Harke and give him a customer service award for no apparent reason.
  • Place a hammer in clear view, obviously referencing Chekhov's gun, and insinuating that either the men or the clerk will soon be dead when that hammer "goes off".

28 March 2007

A Thief in the House

In today's Dinette Set, Burl and Joy visit Dale and Marlene's house for the purpose of:
  • Illustrating that Dale, who steals money from his grandson, may be a bigger jerk than Burl. Though, in his defense, it may be that Dale is in financial distress after having taken out a sub-prime loan from the poorly-punctuated "Su Casa Mi Casa Mortage. Co."
  • Engaging in blatant product placement for Cheetos, probably in an attempt to score free product.
  • Penning one of the least comprehensible sentences in comics history, rather than simply asking "Why's Timmy rummaging about in your room, Marlene?"
  • Illustrating what unconvincing forced perspective looks like.
  • Setting a record for the most extreme head swivels in a single panel.