Saturday, October 9, 2010

Possibly a New Funny: Dustin

On the surface, it has all the elements of cliche: Slacker son still lives with Mom and Dad -- but for the domicile, it could easily be the storyline from "Momma" -- who are wise, employed, sarcastic and lovingly if grudgingly supporting said slacker son who has a down economy and, frankly, Archie Bunker's vision of son-in-law Meathead's ambition, to blame for his lack of employment. Or maybe it is a crush on the temp agency sender-outer. Whatever it is, it's a new comic strip, Dustin.

USA Today, in introducing the strip in January of this year, brings out an interesting fact: In the 1940s, 70 percent of children Dustin's age (23) lived with their parents; that number is cut in half today. But because of the economy and the slacker nature (or stereotype) of Gen Y, the strip's creators, Steve Kelly and Jeff Parker, seem to think the strip has legs, according to USA Today.

It's one I'll watch. But I'm not exactly sure it's going to be around three or so years from now. From what I've seen, it's really playing to the older generation and their frustrations with their boomerang children, rather than focusing (as does "Zits") on the younger set and their frustrations (some real, some illusory) with their parents and elders. It doesn't bode well that the strip caused David Colton of USA Today to compare it to Family Circus, but with grown up kids in a recession. Family Circus isn't a strip that's aged well, in my opinion.

I've only been reading the strip for a few weeks now, but the characters still feel a bit flat to me. I won't make that my final judgment, as I tend to want to watch a strip longer than that in order to get a good feel for the characters.

So it's probably going to appeal to me more than "Zits" does, because, frankly, Jeremy Duncan sometimes gets on my nerves. He makes me not want to encounter my own kids as teenagers. Maybe mine will be better. But I doubt it.

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