Logo for Get Fuzzy comic strip.
Author(s) Darby Conley Website Get Fuzzy Website Current status / schedule Running Launch date September 1999 Syndicate(s) United Feature Syndicate Publisher(s) Andrews McMeel Publishing Genre(s) Humor, Pets, Family
Get Fuzzy is an American daily comic strip written and drawn by Darby Conley. The strip features the adventures of Boston advertising executive Rob Wilco and his two anthropomorphic pets: dog Satchel Pooch and cat Bucky Katt. Get Fuzzy has been published by United Feature Syndicate since September 1999. It appears in over 700 newspapers worldwide.
The strip's humor comes from the conflict between Bucky's and Satchel's personalities, which are extreme stereotypes of cats and dogs. Sweet, trusting, naïve Satchel is routinely subjected to the exploitation of cruel, self-centered Bucky, who is always torturing the poor canine. Rob, the middleman, is often frazzled from dealing with them, or more specifically, from dealing with Bucky's destructive nature and overall nastiness. The three characters live in an apartment on Boston's Longwood Avenue.
Many residents of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania reacted angrily to an October 30, 2003 strip. When Bucky, observing that a large number of tourist packages were based on landmarks or other features, asks a travel agent for suggested destinations "based primarily on smell", the agent promptly produces a brochure from the Pittsburgh Board of Tourism. This was originally intended as an "in-joke" jab at a friend who lives in the Pittsburgh area. Conley later confessed shock over the large volume of hate mail and even death threats he received in response, and Pittsburgh city officials publicly denounced the strip. This controversy occurred despite Get Fuzzy not appearing in any Pittsburgh newspaper.
An apology promised by Conley took a rather unexpected form. The 2003-11-17 strip questions why the Pittsburgh joke caused such an uproar and archly notes that several protesters rather hypocritically stated that New Jersey smelled worse than Pittsburgh. Satchel closes the strip by explaining that the original strip "should have made it more clear that it was [nearby borough] Sewickley Heights that smells", coupled with a post-it note advertising an apology to Sewickly Heights. This failed to appease many who complained.
Conley took things a step further in the next three strips, the first of which showed a survey in which voters ranked the five smelliest places in the United States (and a few in Canada). In order, they were ranked Cleveland, Ohio ("Remember: Get Fuzzy didn't say this one!"), New Jersey ("Not technically a city, but, hey"), Philadelphia ("Or, as 'Burghers call it, 'Filthydelphia'"), Darby Conley's "@##" ("Again, not technically a city, per se"), and New Orleans ("Worse than Lubbock, but better than Darby Conley's @##!").
The second showed apparent greeting signs/tourism slogans for people that come into Pittsburgh. Featured were "Pittsburgh: Turn Left at Erie", "Pittsburgh: If You Smell Anything, It's Coming from Ohio", and "Pittsburgh: Gateway to Cleveland!"
The third and final one showed Satchel and Bucky as trading cards, with Satchel being "Mario Lepooch" (a parody of Pittsburgh Penguins owner and star Mario Lemieux) and Bucky being "Buck Tekulve" (after former Pirates reliever Kent Tekulve). The last panel showed Satchel wearing a Cleveland Browns hat and Bucky in a LeBron James Cavaliers jersey in a final insult to Pittsburghers.
A strip published on May 13, 2005 resulted in legal action. In the original strip, Rob, Bucky and Satchel are watching television. Satchel asks "Is this sportscaster... drunk?" Rob replies "Lobel? Who knows. He's like some TV outreach program or something." Lobel has been reported as having appeared on air in an intoxicated state which Lobel denies.
Less than a week later, Boston sportscaster Bob Lobel filed a libel lawsuit against Conley, United Features Syndicate, and the New Bedford Standard-Times newspaper. The New Bedford paper was named specifically because it did not censor the strip as several other Boston-area papers did, including The Boston Globe; most either refused to run the strip or substituted "Him?" in place of Lobel's name. The lawsuit claimed that the strip was both personally and professionally damaging, especially given that his contract was under negotiation for renewal at the time.
On November 16, 2005, a brief article in the Boston Herald reported that Lobel and Conley had settled the suit out of court. Conley made a public apology to Lobel, saying the strip was not intended to imply that he had been drunk on the air. Further details of the settlement were confidential, but the Herald quoted an unnamed source as saying Conley had made a substantial donation to charity.
The strip was left out of the Get Fuzzy collection Take Our Cat, Please and the treasury The Potpourrific Great Big Grab Bag of Get Fuzzy.
The June 19, 2011 strip was censored by The Tennessean and a rerun substituted.  This was due to Bucky's mail order purchase (on Rob's credit card) of a disguise with which to infiltrate the lair of his enemies, the ferrets. The disguise turns out to be a poor-quality, damaged raccoon suit, which disgusts Bucky but is then donned by Satchel, who then begins to speak in a manner suggestive of "Ebonics", which could conceivably be deemed offensive since the term "coon" has frequently been used as a racial epithet against blacks.
As per custom for some comic strips, Get Fuzzy often publishes older strips instead of fresh ones; in some cases, the repeat strips were placed in the middle of current storylines already in progress. Since March 2011, a week of repeat strips (currently from 2009) alternated with a week of the current story.
Title Publication Date ISBN Strips Collected The Dog Is Not a Toy (House Rule #4) April 15, 2001 ISBN 0-7407-1392-2 Fuzzy Logic April 1, 2002 ISBN 0-7407-2198-4 The Get Fuzzy Experience: Are You Bucksperienced April 2, 2003 ISBN 0-7407-3300-1 Blueprint for Disaster October 1, 2003 ISBN 0-7407-3808-9 Say Cheesy May 28, 2005 ISBN 0-7407-4663-4 2002-11-17 - 2003-08-31 Scrum Bums September 1, 2006 ISBN 0-7407-5001-1 2003-09-01 - 2004-06-13 I'm Ready for My Movie Contract September 1, 2007 ISBN 978-0-7407-6922-1 2004-06-14 - 2005-03-26 Take Our Cat, Please! May 1, 2008 ISBN 978-0-7407-7095-1 2005-03-27 - 2006-01-29 Ignorance, Thy Name Is Bucky April 21, 2009 ISBN 978-0-7407-8098-1 2006-01-30 - 2006-12-09 Dumbheart October 20, 2009 ISBN 978-0-7407-9189-5 2006-12-10 - 2007-10-07
Treasuries contain two collections in one binding with some color strips.
Title Date ISBN Notes Groovitude September 2, 2002 ISBN 0-7407-2894-6 Contains The Dog Is Not a Toy and Fuzzy Logic Bucky Katt's Big Book of Fun April 2004 ISBN 0-7407-4136-5 Contains The Get Fuzzy Experience and Blueprint for Disaster Loserpalooza May 7, 2007 ISBN 978-0-7407-5709-9 Contains Say Cheesy and Scrum Bums The Potpourrific Great Big Grab Bag of Get Fuzzy September 1, 2008 ISBN 978-0-7407-7367-9 Contains I'm Ready for My Movie Contract and Take Our Cat, Please Treasury of the Lost Litter Box May 4, 2010 ISBN 978-0-7407-9335-6 Contains Ignorance, Thy Name Is Bucky and Dumbheart
Reception and awards
Initially appearing in 75 newspapers nationally, the strip grew in popularity very quickly.
Conley received the National Cartoonist Society Newspaper Comic Strip Award in 2002 for his work on Get Fuzzy.
- ^ http://www.nya-nya.us/getfuzzy/conley.html
- ^ POSTED: 11:01 a.m. EST November 5, 2003 (2003-11-05). "Pittsburgh Not Laughing At Smelly Joke - Travel News Story - KCRA Sacramento". Thekcrachannel.com. http://www.kcra.com/travelgetaways/2613194/detail.html. Retrieved 2010-05-13.
- ^ Fitzpatrick, Dan (2003-11-18). "Comic strip apology to really isn't". Post-gazette.com. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/03322/240984.stm. Retrieved 2010-05-13.
- ^ a b "Head Games". Boston Magazine. http://www.bostonmagazine.com/articles/head_games_1/. Retrieved 2010-05-13.
- ^ a b WGBH: Greater Boston
- ^ Lobel lawsuit vs. cartoonist draws to a close GAYLE FEE AND LAURA RAPOSA WITH ERIN HAYES, Boston Herald pg16 (Nov 16, 2005)<--!online version by subscription only-->
- ^ The Tennessean, June 19, 2011, p. 2A
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