I guess it could be both. I still have a weakness for Doonesbury, though the strip is decades past its great days. Now comic geeks take notice of it only to roll their eyes, or such is my impression. Garry Trudeau has something of the feel of an Aaron Sorkin or Frank Rich: he does what he does smoothly, but you (okay, I) feel that he leaves out a lot when playing moral arbiter or heartfelt human chronicler. He had the same faults in the old days, but his virtues were a lot stronger then, by which I mean that he was really, really funny.
Doonesbury’s Alex and Leo: Sweet or What?
by Tom Crippen
UPDATE 3: Going by comments, people who read this post may think that by Garry Trudeau’s “track record” I mean some pattern he has involving brain-damaged characters. Well, no. The track record business refers to the point raised in the post’s first paragraph, namely that I think Trudeau often takes the easy way out when he involves his characters in difficult matters. Examples would include Joanie Caucus’s longshot transition from housewife to congressional legal counsel (and wife of Rick Redfern) in the 1970s, and the triumphant arrival in the dumped Mike Doonesbury’s life of a young, beautiful and brilliant second wife in the 1980s.
This is Update 3 because I thought of a couple more trivial updates first and stuck them at the end of the post.
And now let us return to our starting point: Alex and Leo … sweet or what?
Now Alex, Mike Doonesbury’s little girl, is romancing Leo, a boy who got blown up in the Iraq war. Leo is fighting back from very grave handicaps, chiefly aphasia. Alex has her dad’s face and her dad is not good-looking; neither is she. Would Trudeau have assigned her to a victim of brain damage if she were pretty? Well, maybe, I don’t know. I’m inclined to doubt it because of Trudeau’s track record and because I haven’t seen any strips addressing why the two like each other. Aside from being a couple of nice kids, they don’t have much in common.
Caveat: I read Doonesbury on most days but not all days, so my data set is limited.
UPDATE: Ah yes, now about Alex being “cute.” And if that link is outdated, just find the Doonesbury strip for May 16.
UPDATE 2: Yep, the link is outdated. Still, the one today (May 17) is pretty good: Roland Hedley Burton and his tweets.