The conveniently placed sign on the garage sets the stage for Leroy to finagle free lawn care from an unsuspecting neighbor who is one of the most strangely drawn characters yet in this strip. In spite of all this action going on, our attention is drawn to the background where Loretta stands transfixed in a vacant wide-eyed stare, looking for all the world as though she is one of the articles for sale.
In the minimalist tradition of The Lockhorns, readers are often challenged to use their imaginations. Here, we are shown two plates of what looks like sand, stage props, as it were, to represent Loretta's culinary atrocities, the gruesome quality of which is impossible to capture with pen and ink. Thus the table is set (literally!) for Leroy's clever insult, which achieves its purpose as evidenced by Loretta's expression of ire.
Leroy seems absolutely miserable at having been dragged along on one of Loretta's frequent shopping binges. He stands morosely looking at his watch, hoping against hope for the time in his torturous ordeal to pass, as Loretta and her acquaintance stop in front of a modestly named shoe store. Loretta takes the opportunity to brag about being one of the few people who actually know who Manolo Blahnik is, while at the same time condemning Leroy for his ignorance of the fashion world and his dreadfully pedestrian tastes for such banal diversions as "baseball."
The Lockhorns for the time being have forgone their tallboy desk, opting instead to use the dining room table to figure out their impossibly dire finances so that they may work in tandem instead of one at a time. At least this way they can regale each other with clever one-liners in an attempt to provide solace from, or perhaps meaning to, the precarious set of circumstances they now face. They've been at it for some time now, as Leroy resorts to citing a tired old slogan, but even so, he remains as effective as ever by conjuring up in his trademark deadpan style the image of the Lockhorns living on the streets in a cardboard box.
I can believe that hospital food identification is part of the curriculum in medical school, as the doctor seems to suggest. What's hard to believe is that Leroy would complain about hospital food, given Loretta's woeful lack of culinary skills. Then again, Leroy spends so much time in the hospital, it's possible he may have gotten spoiled.
It's Lockhorns Sunday, and Loretta kicks things off in Panel One with another rousing one-liner designed to extort more cash from Leroy. Her veiled threat to max out Leroy's credit cards won't go unnoticed.
Leroy dominates Panel Two with his exaggerated theatrical pose in spite of Loretta's well timed one-liner to her neighbor. It is obvious that Leroy merely feigns his hardness of hearing, as any sane person would do under his circumstances. Then again, would a sane man acquire those circumstances?
In Center Panel, the recurring character of the seven foot tall bimbo makes an appearance, this time in the guise of brunette cheerleader. There can only be one way to explain how Leroy could induce an adult woman in a cheerleader's outfit to accompany him home, and Loretta's crestfallen expression suggests she has figured it out.
Panel Four brings us to another dreary evening for the Lockhorns in front of the TV. So depressed is Loretta over her disappointment in the evening's proceedings, she hasn't even the energy to initiate a scathing round of gossip over the telephone. Helen, no doubt, will be disappointed as well.
The Lockhorns have managed to get away in Panel Five. As Leroy unpacks his suitcase, he begins to enjoy his vacation by lamenting his fading memory.
Things are really hopping in Levittown, as Leroy, revelling in alcoholic euphoria, livens up yet another cocktail party by dancing wildly with an extremely tall, fashionable young woman whose hourglass proportions compare to those of a Barbie Doll, except for a pleasingly fuller bottom. For the sake of brevity, such recurring characters in this blog have been referred to in the vernacular as bimbos, a term which, whether deemed offensive or not, accurately reflects the minimalist and abstract spirit of The Lockhorns. The highlight of today's scene has to be Leroy's expression, from his curiously vacant wide-eyed stare to his gaping mouth with tongue dangling out the side. Loretta obliges this spectacle by flipping to her neighbor a tastefully understated one-liner in which she demonstrates her mastery at wordplay.
Loretta wistfully eyes a poster advertising what are known in certain parts of the world as clamdiggers, probably after watching old reruns of the Dick Van Dyke Show with Leroy last night. Leroy must have stayed up too late watching TV, as his obligatory insult is worded awkwardly, but he still manages to drive the point home.
Among the literally thousands of neighbors seen in The Lockhorns over the years, Loretta's interlocutor bears the sole distinction of not seeming deathly bored. Why is that? Has Loretta come up with a clever self deprecating gag? Or does she speak the actual truth, whereupon the neighbor gleefully confirms her suspicions that Loretta is insane?
Staid marriage counselor Pullman charges $175 an hour, yet shows no compunction in devising the corny and unscientific "trust fall" exercise for his steadiest clients. Who can blame Leroy for mocking this useless exercise, and so brilliantly? It's only too bad Loretta and Pullman cannot appreciate one of the better performances from the master of deadpan.
For the time being, all the Lockhorns can afford to do is mope around the house in severely depressed states. This works perfectly for Leroy's strategy, as he deftly thwarts Loretta's plan to drag him along to some dreadfully boring play, concert, or art gallery showing, in her incessant desire to convince the world of her refined cultural palate.
Leroy's workshop is immaculate, and we can see why. Procrastinators everywhere can identify with Leroy, although it may take a while. Meanwhile Loretta, arms akimbo, strikes a hilariously affected pose, befitting perfectly her taunt at Leroy.
In Panel One, we see a recurring character type, the seven foot tall bimbo, who may assume any of several appearances, at a Levittown cocktail party, with whom Leroy, as usual, has struck up a conversation. Loretta, as usual, interrupts the proceedings with a caustically witty barb while balancing two spanish olives on a plate.
As acrimonious as their marriage has been, the Lockhorns are fond of displaying photos which depict themselves as a happy couple, as Loretta shows one off to her neighbor in Panel Two. Through the neighbor's morose demeanor, it is apparent that she fully well knows that severe retouching is required to render any sort of happy expressions on the subjectc' faces, let alone Leroy's ridiculously toothy grin.
In Center Panel, Loretta smartly uses housework as a means of extorting more money from Leroy.
As a rule, Leroy usually ignores Loretta's incessant nagging. The exception is when she nags him while he drives, as in Panel Four. In cases as these, Leroy is always quick to reply.
It's a wonder why Leroy doesn't chat about sports with his neighbors more often, as seen in Panel Five. Judging by the neighbor's uncomfortable expression, Leroy probably has trouble finding men willing to pop over for a visit.
Loretta has assembled her neighbors and is showing off her brooch, for the sole intention of insulting Leroy over his cheapness. Unfortunately, she didn't make the effort to ensure Leroy was there to hear the insult. Nonetheless, she speaks the truth, since anything Leroy manages to purchase amidst her habitual shopping frenzies is rare indeed.
Loretta's musical tastes run no further than her usual piano repertoire, brought out whenever she begins her signature caterwauling at cocktail parties. Thus we can assume here that Loretta means slippers and not House Shoes the DJ. Leroy couldn't very well have used "slippers" and "slipping" in the same sentence, could he? The neighbor no doubt is entranced by Leroy's implied yet frank complaint of a sexless marriage.
The Lockhorns visit the IRS office in Garden City several times a year, so it's probably just a coincidence that they're there today, despite the obvious significance of the date. Leroy's financial problems seem to grow incessantly, and the myriad audits he must suffer at the hands of the IRS only compound his woes. Thus we have a circumstance where Leroy actually doesn't mind Loretta tagging along to provide much needed comic relief, so long as he tolerates her idea of comedy which consists solely of insults and ridicule directed at himself.
It's too bad there are no neighbors around to witness Leroy's splendid performance. He has obviously caught Loretta completely off guard. Although Leroy has insulted her cooking thousands of times, Loretta has no reason to expect Leroy to do so immediately upon opening (and apparently hoisting) the front door. Could the seeds of novocaine dependence have been sown?
Loretta is faithful to her chores. One of her most important chores is parading a neighbor woman by Leroy, just to insult him in front of an audience. Her diligence and dedication are nothing short of remarkable, but she'd better step things up a bit, as it appears that Leroy is actually experiencing pleasure.
Loretta in Panel One combines two of her greatest skills, sucking Leroy dry of his funds, and providing wry one-liners.
Leroy in Panel Two displays his greatest talent, insulting Loretta's cooking. This time, for the benefit of yet another hapless dinner guest, Leroy attains new heights by comparing the dining experience to the violent pain one could suffer while engaged in sadomasochistic sexual play.
Although Andy Warhol references have become cliched, Leroy nonetheless pulls one off brilliantly in Center Panel as Loretta bellows like a moose into the living room. Leroy's neighbor is enjoying his visit thoroughly.
In Panel Four, compulsive shopper Loretta finally has bought something practical, a TV remote with which she can engage Leroy in vicious duels nightly. Far from worried, Leroy is coolly poised for the challenge.
Loretta, appalled at Leroy's complete ineptitude at interior decorating, has decided to take matters directly to the government, demanding Leroy's constitutional right to be protected from himself. The clerk has decided that this is the day to request a transfer.
Leroy does his best to enliven a coffee klatsch with the neighbors by grabbing the seat directly by the liquor cabinet. Thus we learn that Loretta has a problem with admitting her age. Leroy applies reductio ad absurdum to prove that Loretta is not a number, if one accepts the premise that numbers don't lie.
It's payday at the Lockhorns', and this can only mean that Leroy presents his paycheck at the front door, and then stands there fuming as Loretta insults him over his inability to earn a salary more to her liking. The frequency of this ritual necessitates Loretta's far flung attempts at keeping the insults fresh, while Leroy contemplates informing the Alcohol Czar about the matter.
When they aren't engaged in battle, Leroy and Loretta spend most of their time sitting around in the throes of depression and ennui. One reason for this is the meager offerings of entertainment on TV. Leroy's solemn despair makes using the remote control into a difficult chore. Loretta's inane prattling only adds to his woes, but we can understand her need to vent her frustrations.
It figures that harassing shoe salesmen is also on the list of Loretta's many annoying qualities. It also figures that Leroy cannot resist pointing this out to the nearest available bystander. What doesn't figure is Leroy's choice of pun: it's below his standard. Three hours in a shoe store (appropriately named, by the way) will do that to you.
As acrimonious as their marriage has been, it is curious how both Leroy and Loretta enjoy showing off their wedding picture to their neighbors. Of course, the reason for this is it gives them an opportunity to come up with a quip about how big a mistake their marriage was. This is always done best with the other spouse within earshot, something Loretta has failed to ensure today since Leroy is nowhere to be seen. It's just as well, since her jocular remark about multi-tasking falls short of her usual standards.
Leroy is so depressed over doing his taxes, he can't even make it across the living room to the tall boy desk. Loretta joins in the misery as Leroy waxes poetic. At least she can cheer herself up with another jaunt to Bloomingdales. Leroy's only alternatives appear to be Arthur's Bar or Post Wine and Spirits.
Lockhorns Sunday. Let's present the fun panel by panel.
We begin with Panel One, where Leroy models a pair of trousers in a Long Island department store for Loretta's approval. Assuming the theatrical pose of an arbiter, Loretta seizes the opportunity to insult Leroy in public by implying he's a slob.
In Panel Two, Loretta brags to her neighbor about her psychological prowess in tricking Leroy into doing yard chores by appealing to his vanity.
Center Panel shows us the ridiculous proportions that Loretta's maniacal shopping frenzies have reached. No doubt, she's housebound after having totaled another automobile on her latest excursion to Bloomingdales, but this doesn't stop her from running up Leroy's credit card debts faster than Shopzilla.com can process them.
Panel Four, at first glance, seems ordinary, as Loretta avers her belief in the stereotype that wives spend their lifetimes in futile attempts to change their husbands. However, Leroy dominates the cartoon from backstage with his priceless facial expression in witnessing the young husband looking lovingly at his wife changing a diaper.
Leroy has his riposte in Panel Five. The cocktail party setting enables him to entertain a neighbor with his unique take on Virgil's famous saying. As with any famous saying, Leroy applies it to express the notion that marrying Loretta was a mistake, preferably within Loretta's earshot.
Things are in full swing at the latest Levittown cocktail bash. We see a neighbor woman hopelessly cornered into a conversation with Loretta, which in this case always means standing there as Loretta chatters incessantly and being utterly unable either to get a word in edgewise or to make a graceful exit. It is clear that the neighbor woman is contemplating the latter, to no avail, as Leroy chimes in with perhaps a word of sympathy for her. Leroy's haughty interlocutor, while disgusted by the spectacle, nonetheless counts his blessings that he not be subjected continually to such mindless prattle as is Leroy.
Leroy and Loretta share the same poor self image as do millions of Americans, so why shouldn't they remind each other of their physical shortcomings at every possible opportunity, even if it's only an example of the pot calling the kettle black? Besides, Loretta's just warming up for tonight's cocktail party.
To Loretta, an automobile is merely a disposable conveyance for reaching the shopping malls in as little time as possible, obstacles and pedestrians be damned. Her haughty arrogance as she emerges from the disabled vehicle says it all. Leroy counters her icy heartlessness with a healthy dose of tearing sarcasm.
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