Where popularity never meets critical acclaim: Why bland entertainment is worth a fortune
Earlier this year, in a seemingly innocuous post to the question-and-answer website Quora, a user asked: “Is Garfield supposed to be funny?”
Amid a barrage of responses alleging that Garfield used to be funny or that he was meant for children, a telling response came in from Caroline Zelonka, a former employee for the PetSmart retail chain who said she was often on the receiving end of Garfield licensing pitches.
“Garfield was created to fill a marketing niche, not to be funny,” she wrote in a reply that has since been republished in the online pages of Slate and Smithsonian Magazine.
“The joke’s always the same because it follows a bland humor formula well-known to anyone in advertising: enough to put a smile on someone’s face, but take care never to offend.”
Nearly 35 years after his creation, Garfield remains repetitive, static and classically unfunny. He also remains one…
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