Even Loretta can sympathize with Leroy, as she glumly tells the reason for his sadness to her neighbor, who resembles an anthropologist observing her subject. If only Leroy knew of his fame outside the wretched universe in which he lives! In his own world a nondescript schlep, he has no way of knowing about all the wonderful, provocative hits we get when those of us in the real world google "Leroy Lockhorn," thus providing ourselves with hours of intense surfing pleasure.
Lockhorns Sunday kicks off with the revelation that Leroy keeps a podium in the house. It's handy for occasions when Leroy wishes to engage in diversions, such as bowling, that will provide him with much-needed relief from Loretta's constant annoying presence. All it takes is some bombastic oratory, accentuated by fist-pounding and sprinkled with quotes from the Declaration of Independence.
Leroy complains in Panel Two about the poor quality of programming available on TV, but he may just be tacitly insulting Loretta at the same time.
As Loretta's world revolves completely around shopping, it is inevitable that she compare Leroy's penchant for Jack-In-The-Box Drive-Thru to window shopping. However, the real issue here is, when did the Lockhorns get the snazzy convertible? And how about the neighbor in the back seat? Did Loretta invite her along? "Say, we're going out for Jack-In-The-Box, wanna come?" Who could resist?
For all their mutual spite and loathing, the Lockhorns do spend a lot of time together engaged in their favorite sport, fishing. It is an activity that each of them clearly detests, so that each may derive some pleasure from the other's misery.
We finish with a standard battle-of-the-sexes gag, where Leroy, having no idea what to buy for Loretta, complains to the nearest available shopper, and even manages to work in his interpretation of Freudian psychology.
Leroy's arms barely reach beyond his eyes, but this doesn't stop him from celebrating wildly as the hockey game he's been watching has gone into overtime. Since his beloved Islanders didn't even make the playoffs, he cares naught who wins the game. His pleasure derives solely from Loretta's chagrin at having to sit through more sports on TV instead of getting to watch some Lifetime, and her whining only accentuates it.
The prospect of being cooped up in the house with Leroy has Loretta frantically taping pictures of famous landmarks onto the living room walls as a means of escape. If Leroy and Loretta get on each other's nerves too much, the Lockhorns may well end up on a slaycation. Clearly, they're better off with a naycation, which is no vacation at all, but the very least they could consider alternatives, such as a haycation (a drive to rural Upstate New York), or a raycation (renting a pair of sunlamps). The possibilities are endless.
The current story line in Mary Worth is about a woman whose compulsive shopping habits have rendered her life out of control. There can be no doubt that the authors of this beloved serial comic strip have pored over decades of Lockhorns cartoons as part of their research into this psychological phenomenon, as Loretta remains to this day the best known literary figure among the world's compulsive shoppers. The most startling aspect of Loretta's affliction is the gloating expression she wears on her face as she returns home with yet more armloads of unnecessary and expensive purchases. She absolutely beams with pride, basking in the purely spiteful pleasure of having run Leroy's credit card debts even higher. Leroy can do no more than take advantage of having been casually standing by the front door with his neighbor as Loretta made her entrance, so as to deliver a one-liner in front of an audience. It remains a mystery as to why Loretta's father ever married a woman who dresses up like Queen Victoria.
A greeting card display case grandly supplies the scenery for today's panel. It is clear that Leroy is the intended recipient of Loretta's get-well card, as she explains its purpose to the saleswoman, that being to taunt and nag him as he recuperates from the latest self-inflicted injury incurred while attempting to do handy work around the house. The alarming frequency of this phenomenon, along with Loretta's slyly cool demeanor, suggest perhaps that Leroy's demise may not have occurred entirely by accident.
Leroy lumbers about the house, disheveled, unshaven, and unkempt. He baldly scratches himself, as his dolorous eyes scan The Racing Form for more losing horses. He's well beyond caring about his appearance, his demeanor, or, from the looks of things, his hygiene. Loretta, thoroughly embarrassed in front of her neighbor, saves face by declaring openly her venomous disgust for Leroy, deeming him unfit as human chattel. The neighbor steals the scene with her defensive posture, coiling back into the couch as far as possible from Loretta, her hands firmly gripping the couch cushions and her eyes narrowed in icy cool alertness, as she anticipates Loretta's next move as one would a cobra's.
Scooters, not at all to be confused with Hooters, is that well known chain of restaurants famous for its waitresses, who just happen to be Leroy's preferred type of woman, approximately seven and a half feet tall (five of which comprise the legs), with twelve inch waists, and with breasts comparable to Chesty Morgan's. Leroy's passing comment is clearly meant to taunt Loretta, whose bodily dimensions exactly mirror Leroy's. Come to think of it, she can't cook, either. This could get ugly.
Today's Sunday Lockhorns is outstanding. We have Leroy in the hospital, an appointment with D. Pullman, Leroy in an art gallery, Loretta's dieting fiascos, and Leroy's bimbo-ogling, all in one glorious set of panels. These are five acute specimens from the pantheon of beloved Lockhorns gags, and we should take the time to be appreciative.
Leroy, the patron saint of inept handymen, is in the hospital again. His broken right foot, in traction, is counterbalanced by a pulley operated by his injured right hand; this may be intended as a strengthening exercise. It appears he's sustained a concussion as well, and further bandages and body scars suggest that Leroy took a terrible fall and he's lucky to have survived. Loretta long ago was inured to such spectacles, over thousands of such hospital visits throughout her marriage. By now, her visitation routine consists of a deadpan delivery of a caustic one-liner by which to ridicule Leroy and his predicament.
D. Pullman, Marriage Counselor, has his hands full with Loretta, who once again insists on monopolizing the session. Between this, and the $175 per hour he shells out for these sessions, Leroy has plenty to fume about.
Loretta fancies herself cultured and refined, and often drags Leroy against his will to artistic venues, such as today's art gallery, where Leroy takes a poke at Loretta's pretentiousness by hilariously mixing a cliche with an art genre.
Leroy tells it like it is as he exits the Golden Dolphin with poor Loretta, forever caught in the morass of poor body image as she perpetually frets about, and cheats on, her myriad of self-imposed diets.
At a social gathering, Leroy partakes in his usual habit, gawking wistfully at a towering, and incredibly well-endowed, bimbo. In response, Loretta makes a puzzling remark to her bored neighbor. Not entertaining thoughts would seem to imply an inability to think, but then how can Leroy be entertained by thoughts when he cannot think in the first place?
It appears Loretta knows a dark secret of the hardware store clerk, and is blackmailing him into helping her to embarrass Leroy in Public. She should be careful. Continually pointing out Leroy's bad taste will lead people to think it pertains to his taste in spouses as well.
In spite of his ongoing battles with the bathroom scale, Leroy cannot resist the temptation of a handy box of doughnuts. Loretta, herself immersed in perpetual self-loathing over her body image, takes offense at Leroy's transgression. Either that, or she fears that the appetite-suppressing qualities of the doughnuts will deny her the pleasure of torturing Leroy with her horrible cooking that evening.
Loretta can't wait to see the look on Leroy's face when he learns that his credit card limit has been exceeded. It's too bad the clerk and the neighbor do not share in the obvious pleasure Loretta feels whenever she tortures Leroy by running up his debts.
We're all familiar with the stereotype of the wife remembering every damn thing her husband has ever said, but perhaps it's inaccurate. Whatever the case, Loretta's taking no chances, as Leroy explains in his trademark deadpan delivery to his neighbor, who is clearly ill at ease at witnessing further examples of the obsessive spite that dominates the couple's relationship. It's reasonable to assume that Leroy's faults are not a matter of public record, and thus we may conclude Loretta builds her "scrapbook" with hand written notes in which she criticizes her husband, thereby raising the art of nagging beyond pathological levels.
Today we see a new twist on an old gag, popular many years ago, when an unsuspecting patron would open a fortune cookie to read, "Help! I'm being held prisoner in a Chinese fortune cookie factory!" Perhaps The Lockhorns is commenting in a sly way on the new wave of paranoia sweeping America in the midst of these stark economic times. It's surprising to learn that embassies now have the power to arrest and detain citizens of their host country, and even set bail. What happens if Leroy and Loretta jump bail? Will the embassy police send a special unit to Levittown?
Loretta, having been force fed by the media the notion that spouses must always ask the question "How was your day?", demands that Leroy do the same. Meanwhile, Leroy deeply regrets having opened a twitter account, as it has enabled Loretta to annoy him constantly, even when he's at work. We have the recipe for a pleasant evening of bickering.
Loretta, as insecure a social climber as ever there was, drags Leroy against his will to the ballet. Leroy will return the favor by poking at her ridiculous grandiosity all evening long with the down home earthly sarcasm of the common man.
As we never get to hear Leroy's political rantings and ravings, it's impossible to tell where he stands in the political spectrum, although his nihilistic tendencies would seem to point toward some form of libertarianism. Loretta is quick to seize the opportunity to provide a quip, of which Grin and Bear It would be proud, to her audience of a sole unfortunate visiting neighbor.
We're spared the unsettling spectacle of Loretta's strangely anachronistic mother, but Leroy won't be so lucky, as he invokes Greek mythology to describe aptly his impending fate.
Even the serene pastime of angling cannot provide Leroy respite from Loretta's constant irksome presence. His resigned expression tells all, as Loretta spends the day complaining.
At some sort of social gathering, Loretta's interlocutor steals the show. She is hunched over from bearing the weight of Loretta's incessant prattling, pounding her on all sides. Her eyes are glazed over in a combination of stifling boredom and the uneasy terror of being hopelessly trapped in the turgid flow of Loretta's logorrhea. As is gleaned from Leroy's comment, Loretta presently is pontificating on her favorite topic of monologue, Leroy himself.
Abstraction abounds as we see Levittown's latest soiree taking place in midair. The Lockhorns have arrived late. Leroy apologizes, and promptly blames Loretta, for their tardiness. Leroy and the host clearly are not thrilled to see each other, so it's likely they're late by Leroy's own design. Understandably, Loretta resents being made a scapegoat in what's shaping up to be a tense and awkward evening for all involved.
The Lockhorns, although living dangerously on credit, have splurged and gotten themselves a robot vacuum cleaner. If Loretta foresaw freedom from the toils of vacuuming the rugs, she was mistaken. It turns out that Leroy, inept as he is with desktop computers, is an electronics genius when it comes to these futuristic gadgets, as he's programmed the thing to serve him his favorite generic brand of beer at his beck and call. Leroy's obvious satisfaction contrasts sharply with Loretta's disappointment at being denied the extra time she so eagerly anticipated in which to hone further her already formidable skills at gossiping and irresponsible binge shopping.
Leroy and Loretta like to get away as often as their limited budget allows. Separate vacations, while ideal, are unaffordable. Most of the time, they have to settle for a day's drive to White Plains or Port Jefferson. On occasion, however, they do get to fly. Leroy always expects, and invariably receives, the worst on such ventures, be it mistreatment by the airlines, lousy weather, or Loretta's constant presence. Hence his sole concern with expenses is not surprising in the least.
While hunched over from a severe bout with depression, Loretta figures things cannot get any worse. Thus she drags herself to the bathroom to face her nemesis, the scale, whose cold cruel numbers cannot lie. Leroy is having a bad day himself, otherwise he would enjoy the respite from Loretta's nagging by relaxing in peace instead of standing there in a heavy-lidded stupor.
Leroy musters great courage merely to make the gesture of raising his fork to Loretta's latest culinary abomination. She threw a whole crab along with some batter into a deep fryer filled with Crisco, set it to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and half an hour later she called it crab cake. Its stench alone is horrifying, let alone its appearance. An enormous crab claw points ominously at Leroy, who is chilled beyond words despite his years spent enduring Loretta's awful cooking. Unable even to conjure up a clever insult, he can only offer a feeble inquiry into Loretta's recipe.
Leroy, the Duke Kahanamoku of channel surfing, cannot get a moment's respite from Loretta's incessant nagging. His ire and impatience grow as Loretta hovers nearby, harping on him over trite, petty matters. He wishes Loretta's metaphor (which itself is based on a metaphor) were literally true, but alas, despite roaming through hundreds of cable channels, he finds no escape.
Sixty-three months sounds better than 5.25 years. Master wordsmith Loretta knows how to drag up the past with elan. Leroy sits silently, musing his marriage to a lunatic.
The thought of Loretta in a bikini has spurred Leroy immediately into action. The only chance he stands of getting the point across to her is by using a cleverly reworded proverb.
As Leroy contemplates his vehicle's engine, Loretta saunters by and offers unsolicited a scathing barb pointed at Leroy's incompetence.
A vase of flowers teeters hilariously in mid air, above the spinet piano pawed at furiously by Loretta, as she lambastes Leroy and guests with shrieking caterwauling of the highest order. Leroy by now is inured to Loretta's pathological delusions of grandeur.
Another swinging Levittown cocktail bash is underway, but Loretta has been deprived the pleasure of getting to nag and insult Leroy publicly throughout the entire evening. Nevertheless she makes the most of it by announcing loudly to her hosts her contribution to the night's festivities, namely the absence of her disagreeable, heavy drinking, bimbo-ogling spouse. She scores double, by getting in the neighbors' good graces, and by insulting Leroy in absentia.
The Lockhorns and their neighbors, encumbered by a stifling aura of despair and ennui, participate in a bridge game. It's clear that Leroy has had quite enough. Whether or not Loretta actually kicked him is irrelevant, as Leroy feigns ignorance of bridge etiquette as a means of escape. He brilliantly shifts the blame for his ploy entirely on Loretta by suggesting either that leaving was her idea or that she's a cheat.
Loretta gets emotionally involved while watching That Big Network TV Show With One Of Those Blonde Actresses. Johnny-on-the-spot Leroy nefariously plants a seed of jealousy by implying that the actress can afford many more shopping binges than Loretta ever could; this very act probably explains why Leroy took the trouble to know the exact figure. If Leroy succeeds in spoiling Loretta's evening, he'll pay dearly for it Friday night when Loretta humiliates him over the size of his paycheck.
Loretta can spend days at a time speaking entirely in proverbs which she alters to suit any occasion. In this particular case, an impatient Leroy honks his horn for Loretta to get into the car, although she stands no more than six feet away from him. This hilarious gesture mocks Loretta's propensity to engage endlessly in idle chatter and gossip with her neighbors, thus compelling Loretta to respond in kind with a proverb. Take that, Leroy!
Loretta's shopping addiction has a sinister double edge. On the one hand, her shopping frenzies at Bloomingdale's, whereupon she accumulates tons of womens clothing and accessories she'll never need, can fill only temporarily the sad void in her life. On the other hand, just when that high is about to wear off, she experiences the thrill and pleasure, acutely depicted by her smugly victorious grin, of upsetting Leroy by flaunting her having run his enormous debts even higher.
It's Loretta's turn at the tall boy desk, as the nearby overflowing wastebasket serves as testament to her futility in trying to manage the household finances. Exasperated, she resorts to her only true talent, word play affected by ascribing literal qualities to idiomatic expressions. Who knew Easy Street had so many potholes?
It's Lockhorns Sunday, and Panel One sees our favorite couple out on the links, where Leroy's anachronistic golfing attire fails to impress fashion maven Loretta.
Panel Two has Leroy scoping out another towering bimbo, this one a well-stacked brunette, at one of Levittown's famous cocktail parties. Loretta has plenty of one-liners stored for such occasions, and she does not hesitate trying one of them out on her neighbor.
An airline luggage joke forms the basis of Center Panel. The sardonic placard Loretta holds in her hand dominates the scene, having grown to four times the size of the envelope it arrived in. Leroy plays the perfect second banana by standing there motionless in a heavy-lidded stupor of despair.
Panel Four raises the question of whether or not the latest hapless dinner guest of the Lockhorns actually mustered the courage to ask, "What is this?" Whatever the case, Leroy's comment cuts deeper into Loretta's psyche than the sharpest steak knife ever could cut into her cooking.
In China, it is said that catastrophe brings opportunity. In Panel Five, the misfortune of running out of gas gives Leroy the opportunity to insult Loretta by implying that there was a time when he once enjoyed the company of women he deemed desirable to be stranded with.
The day of the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby is commemorated by the laziest depiction of Belmont Park ever seen in the comics. Leroy, schlep for the ages, cannot pick a winner in any facet of his life, let alone the fourth race. The irony is lost on Loretta, as she mocks Leroy with some wordplay on a cliche, her specialty.
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