Get Fuzzy is an American comic strip written and drawn by Darby Conley. The strip features the adventures of Boston advertising executive Rob Wilco and his two anthropomorphic pets, a dog named Satchel Pooch and a cat called Bucky Katt. Get Fuzzy has been published by United Feature Syndicate since September 6, 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, naÃ¯ve 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. Get Fuzzy often eschews the traditional "setup-punchline" format of most funnies, instead building on absurd dialog between characters.
The unusual title of the strip comes from a concert poster that Darby Conley once created for his brother's band, the Fuzzy Sprouts. "Life's too short to be cool," the poster read, "Get Fuzzy."
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Rob Wilco is the "owner" of Satchel and Bucky and serves as the straight man between Satchel's goofy naÃ¯vetÃ© and Bucky's cynical hostility. In the Get Fuzzy universe, virtually all animals talk, a situation that no one seems to find odd. Rob is portrayed as a bit of an everyman: a mediocre performer in a job he dislikes, not successful romantically, and an all-around relatively quiet guy with a poor haircut and chronic lower back pain. His passions, which often border on obsessions, include sports (particularly the Boston Red Sox and the New Zealand All Blacks), video games, books, and guitarist Leo Kottke. He is also a strict vegetarian due to what he feels are too cruel methods of killing the animals and either politically liberal or at least a Third Party member.
Bucky B. Katt
Bucky Katt is Rob's selfish and cynical Siamese Cat. His ears are nearly always drawn laid back flat on his head, a feline sign of defiance, aggressiveness. The Humane Society found Bucky huddled on a trash can, while the cat was only a few weeks old, in Hackensack, New Jersey, later to be adopted by Rob. While Bucky's father has never been mentioned, Bucky gave his mother's maiden name on a credit card application as "Tricky Woo," a reference to the ludicrously pampered (but in fact good-natured) pet dog of that name in James Herriot's stories of his experiences as a vet. Bucky has been said to be named for Negro League baseball player Buck O'Neil. Bucky lives in a dresser located in the hall closet of Rob's apartment because he refuses to share a room with Satchel. On most outdoor excursions, when Rob is present, Bucky is carried in a strap-on "Bundle-O-Joy" baby carrier, referenced as a way of keeping the cat out of trouble. Most of Bucky's aggression is directed at Satchel, although most of his attempts usually fail as Satchel does not have enough intelligence for Bucky's rude sarcasm and is often unaware that he is even being insulted. Three obsessions dominate Bucky's life: Fungo Squiggly; his desire to eat a monkey; and wanting to film a movie about him.
Bucky owns a miniature teddy bear named "Smacky," obtained by his refusing to exchange toys with Satchel at a "McDoodles" restaurant even though each had the toy the other wanted. It is one of the few objects he shows affection. As Christmas gifts, Bucky received two other bears which he named "Cracker" and "Punk," but they do not appear as often as Smacky. Bucky also owns a rag doll named "Ms. Pretty," similar to Barbie. Bucky claims to be a fan of the "Yankers," even wearing a Yankees cap throughout the series, although is appears more to be an opportunity to annoy Rob because he wouldn't let him wear his Boston Red Sox baseball cap (he calls it the "'B' is for 'Bucky' hat") than anything else. Bucky has been shown to hold extremely conservative political viewpoints throughout the strip, but these may not stem from actual convictions as much as a desire to antagonize Rob and Satchel, both apparent liberals. Bucky is also frequently shown to have francophobic and anti-Quebec sentiments (he regularly says words like frog and canuck, although these, like his politics and support of the Yankees, appear not to stem from racism or nativism but from the desire to antagonize Satchel for his background).
Satchel Pooch is Rob's overweight, naÃ¯ve, and easily amused dog. His father, named Copernicus, a Labrador Retriever and retired guide dog, and his mother, a Shar Pei, live in Cheticamp, Nova Scotia. It is suggested by Rob's friend Joe Doman, that he is named after the Baseball Hall of Fame player Satchel Paige. Satchel is kind, gentle, and sympathetic. These traits, coupled with his naÃ¯vete and gullibility, make him a natural target for the scheming Bucky. Satchel's personality serves as foil to that of Bucky's: easy to please, optimistic to the extreme, having (barely) less common sense than Bucky, and perfectly content to peacefully coexist with everyone. He is good friends with Bucky's nemesis, Fungo Squiggly, much to Bucky's dismay.
True to his character, Satchel takes a neutral position in the ongoing Major League Baseball feud between professed New York Yankees fan Bucky and rabid Boston Red Sox fan Rob. Satchel occasionally expresses support for the Chicago Cubs-although he once was punished by being forced to wear a Cubs hat, dubbed the "hat of shame" in reference to the team's long record of futility. Satchel is also very proud of his Canadian and European heritage, taking the time to watch Queen Elizabeth II whenever the royal figure is on television. Satchel holds to a very liberal political viewpoint and is an animal rights supporter; occasionally asking Rob for money to donate to PETA or Greenpeace. Although Satchel cannot tell time, he wears a watch he calls "Handy".
Rob's friend and co-worker, Joe Doman is one of the few people who gets along reasonably well with Bucky and has pet-sat Bucky and Satchel a few times. Although Joe was frequently seen in the strips early years, this has decreased since taking a job in France. Joe is also a fan of rugby, having worn a jersey of the Scottish national team on a golf outing.
Rob's father, Francis Wilco is a retired firefighter and former member of the United States Marine Corps (1969â"1974) who presumably saw time in Vietnam. He reluctantly pet-sits Bucky and Satchel from time to time, has thinning hair, and is usually pictured with a cigarette dangling from his mouth.
Rob's mother, who has not yet been given a name. She lives in an indeterminate place with her cat, Buttercup, and dog, Chewie. She was inspired to go vegetarian by her son, but went further and forced the diet on her pets much to their chagrin.
Roger Wilco is Rob's brother, who is seen occasionally in small and/or silent parts. His name appears to be an homage to "roger" and "wilco", two radio procedure words which mean "message received, will comply".
Rob's boss made appearances early in the strip. He made a brief appearance in a strip after Rob lost his hair. He also appeared in a brief story arc where he selects Bucky to be a mascot for a power tool company.
Fungo Squiggly is the pet ferret of the neighboring Garcia family, who is Satchel's friend and Bucky's rival. Fungo does not have any audible speaking lines throughout the entire strip, but is able to communicate by writing out his thoughts (although Satchel can apparently understand ferret-speak). Fungo and Bucky take the impetus given by their rivalry as a chance to keep their hatred for each other going strong by setting traps for each other or playing tricks, such as Bucky challenging Fungo to a duel or Fungo stealing Bucky's closet space. The exact motive for Bucky's hatred of Fungo is unexplained, although it possible that Bucky may mistake Fungo for some sort of rodent as Bucky has referred to him as a "rat" or "rodent" at various times.
A portly, interminably cheerful cat who believes positive reinforcement (mostly through hugging) solves all problems, Chubby Huggs is referred to by Rob as the Dalai Lama of cats because of his peacemaking abilities. Once Chubby is locked in his hug position, he is unable to move for 10 minutes-a fact Rob used against him by tricking Chubby into hugging a teddy bear tightly so Satchel could carry him home. He once had a "little mouse friend" named Fowly Mouse who hated him and was vicious towards him even though Chubby would take the threats as words of kindness, Ã la Ignatz Mouse and Krazy Kat.
Mac Manc McManx
Mac Manc McManx is Bucky's cousin from Manchester, England. Mac speaks largely in cockney slang and is an ardent supporter of Manchester City Football Club. Mac's father arrived in England during the First Gulf War from a place Mac only remembers being called "Otis", so Rob tells Bucky that his family is from Massachusetts, to which Bucky replies, "Blast! I'm a filthy communist!!!". Mac's mother is from Hartlepool. Mac spent three and a half years at Rob's apartment and has come back and forth since that time. It is implied that Rob originally let Mac stay at the apartment since he and Satchel never came up with an effective way of getting Mac to leave.
Foodar is a Canadian cat who has a bizarre radar-like-seventh sense (according to Bucky all cats have 6, the sixth being knowing which humans are afraid of them or dislike them so they can sit on their laps) that allows him to detect food from up to several meters away (although he cannot detect plants such as fruit). His name is a portmanteau of 'food' and 'radar'.
Oreo is a friend and love interest of Satchel's from his puppy days, but over the years she seems to have lost interest in him. She has the fur patterns of a Border Collie, has black and white fur, and wears a collar with a heart shaped medallion on it.
Ira Chihuahua is a generally irritable Chihuahua who first appeared in Satchel's dog conference. Ira prefers to go by his initial, I (as a play on the term "ai chihuahua"). He apparently likes to play in garbage and once contracted worms.
Motor is a friend of Satchel. He is three-quarters Belgian Tervuren ("and darn proud of it!") but more closely resembles a German Shepherd, which he does not appreciate people reminding him of.
Smoky is a friend of Satchel's who has a smoked pattern to his fur.
Chaser is a bomb dog who is in Satchel's play group whom Satchel does not appreciate because of Oreo's interest in him.
Shakespug is a small pug who wears a green dishwashing glove, and usually applies Shakesperian quotes to his speech. Shakespug also seems to understand Mac Manc McManx the best through his "Brit-speak".
Residents of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania reacted angrily to an October 30, 2003, strip, in which Pittsburghâ"in an apparent inside jokeâ"was made out as smelly. Conley said he received hate mail and even death threats in response. An apology promised by Conley took an unexpected form: the November 17, 2003, strip questions why the Pittsburgh joke caused such an uproar and notes that several protesters stated 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.
In 2011, Get Fuzzy began to incorporate more and more reprinted strips into its daily rotation. Initially, these would alternate from week to week with a new strip. Eventually, the reruns became more frequent and by the beginning of 2013 (perhaps earlier), the daily Get Fuzzy strips consisted entirely of strips from previous years.
The lack of new content has caused a significant decline in the popularity of Get Fuzzy, and in some cases reader feedback polls have been conducted as to whether or not to keep the strip. One of these was conducted by The Washington Post in October 2013; the paper cited the reruns as the reason for the strip's lack of support and announced that they would be dropping it from the paper. The Seattle Times, which stopped carrying Get Fuzzy on March 3, 2014, said their reasoning was "because the creator is no longer producing new installments."
The Sunday editions of Get Fuzzy, incidentally, have been largely unaffected by this and new installments have continued to appear on a regular basis, much in the same vein of how Bill Amend's FoxTrot does. The difference is that Amend made a conscious decision and an announcement that he would be making the move, while neither Universal Uclick or Darby Conley have ever made an official statement on the status of Get Fuzzy. In addition, Conley has never explained his reasoning for no longer drawing daily strips.
Treasuries contain two collections in one binding with some color strips.
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.
- 30-Day Archive
- NCS Awards