One Punch Reviews #26: Scott Meets Family Circus

The spoof Scott Meets Family Circus by comedian Scott Gairdner has found itself an unlikely battle between two titans of journalism: The Huffington Post and the Washington Post. It all started when Huffington praised the spoof and posted several selections on its site. Back at the Washington Post, Michael Cavna of the Comic Riffs section shot back that Scott Meets Family Circus was “a calcified deposit of seriously unfunny on the humorous “humerus” that is the HuffPost’s funny bone.” Oh, snap, son! That’s, like, trash talk straight out of an Ivy League playground!

So who’s right? The Post … or The Post? Perhaps a site that specializes in webcomics can cast the deciding vote. Perhaps a site like … The Webcomic Overlook.

Frankly, I don’t know why Family Circus ends up drawing more hatred than its contemporaries. It’s not like Hi & Lois or Blondie or Dennis the Menace is less out-of-touch with the times, yet none of those seem to draw the amount of hate that Family Circus gets. I mean… it’s just so innocuous, you know? The way Family Circus haters act, you figure that someone who looked suspiciously like Jeffy gave them wedgies in junior high, then drove over to their house and killed their dog by crushing its spine under the heel while laughing maniacally.

Readers of The Webcomic Overlook should know that I have no issue with comic strip mockery. I’ve got a sidebar with a bunch of handy comic mockery links, and this site is honorary comic mocker on at least two blogrolls. What I do have an issue with is when something’s not funny. And Scott Meets Family Circus? It’s not funny at all. It’s just mean spirited. It’s page after page of Scott showing up to tell the Keane kids how stupid they are. In a bizarre irony befitting of O. Henry, the comic whose sole purpose is to expose the Family Circus as repetitive and unfunny is actually much, much more repetitive and unfunny.

Actually, that’s unfair. It’s not totally repetitive. Towards the end, Scott seems to get bored drawing himself as the Keane kids’ cruel adult tormentor and instead draws himself having an affair with Ma Keane, then drawing himself a black friend to assist him in his torment. At which point Scott Meets Family Circus transcends being merely unfunny to being pathetic.

So, when it comes down to a titanic battle of the political blog versus the grand old newspaper, bet on the latter. Especially if the latter has a John Philip Sousa march named after it.

Far superior Family Circus mockery, by the way? The Family Circus of Values. Yeah, it’s just as bitter … but it’s far more imaginative and double the vocabulary.

Rating: 1 star (out of 5).


About El Santo

Somehow ended up reading and reviewing almost 300 different webcomics. Life is funny, huh? Despite owning two masks, is not actually a luchador.

Posted on February 12, 2010, in 1 Star, comedy webcomic, One Punch Reviews, spoof, The Webcomic Overlook, webcomics and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. So, when it comes down to a titanic battle of the political blog versus the grand old newspaper, bet on the latter.

    Though I wish it were so, I’m not sure of that. It’s not just that the so-called “mainstream media” no longer have the authority they always sought to possess (to wit: their recent financial woes), but that Huffington Post and a webcomic share the same turf. The outsider here is the Washington Post, and it’s unlikely that the average Washington Post reader even knew of the existence of the parody, much less that they would care about it, even if it were a masterpiece of parody. Game, set and match to Huffington.

    HuffPo has a large yet niche readership with sensitivities that perfectly match those of Scott Meets Family Circus, so that niche is its target audience. No matter how trite this webcomic’s political message might become, they won’t care, as long as it’s on their side.

    I can’t say I have much knowledge of the original strip; I don’t pay much attention to newspaper comics, and I’m not even sure if it’s syndicated locally. As a Canuck, I can’t even say that this type of humour applies to me (we don’t even share the same Thanksgiving date, and we’re not that crazy over the turkey tradition either). But a quick look at it tells me why it’s being parodied: “Look how white and conformist this all is!” At which point it becomes useless to say to Huffington Post that the parody is bad, because to them it does precisely what is expected of it.


    • Good points, Vetty. However, in the Washington Post’s favor, they are the ones running that high publicized “Best Webcomic of the Decade” poll on their comics blog. So the writer is at least keen to the goings-on in the webcomics world.

      Also, I got to say that I have to remember to explain things more. Last time I checked, this site had an over 50% Canadian readership, and I keep forgetting that certain pop culture references (like Family Circus) don’t translate well out there. 🙂 But you were pretty much spot on with why Family Circus gets parodied with the whole “white and conformist” thing.

  2. Yeah, the comic is very formulaic and dire. There’s only so many times you can see Scott’s crudely drawn avatar peak into the panel saying how stupid everyone is before you start thinking he’s a complete dick.

    At least he appears to realize his comic more or less has only one joke:

  3. Seeing as the Huffington Post lives to mock people, of course they would fine this as “funny.”

    I don’t really get it with the paper funnies haters. Where do they find the energy to be so upset about something being mediocre or a little clueless? I mean, if something’s too dumb for you to enjoy reading…why read it and pick it apart and make a big deal over it? I think the For Better or Worse haters were the worst. They’d take every single last strip as a personal affront. And all I can think is “if you hate it that much, why do you spend half an hour ranting about it every day?” Making a comic to mock every strip from another comic is just as mind boggling. Isn’t there anything you people have to do?

    And hey, I go away to watch the Olympics for a while and come back to find you’ve reviewed half the internet. Yeowzah.

  4. I refuse to believe that I am funnier than Scott Gairdner.

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