Gary Larson - The Far Side Observer

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"Night of The Living Dead Chipmunks", When Good Animals Go To The Far Side.

Nov 25, 2004 (Updated Nov 25, 2004)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Another great Far Side installment, tons of obscure characters.

Cons:Pages aren't numbered.

The Bottom Line: Where else can you find cows in plastic balls, talking amoebas, penguins murderers and alien breakfast cereals? Only in the Far Side...




When we made the decision to move cross country I was faced with the dilemma of what to take, what to pitch, what to sell and the questionable things that will probably get a last minute decision. I started clearing out books, papers and empty toys boxes and came across one of the Far Side books I picked up at Waldenbooks when they had a huge sale. I thought that I had all these in one spot on the bookshelf but I guess this one had a mind of it's own. The Far Side Observer is a really nice collection of Gary Larson's most comical sketches and if you are a fan of this series, consider this a must have for your collection. Suffice it to say, these books are all going with me on the move - partially because they are hysterical and never fail to make me laugh and because they are smaller than normal sized books so they aren't going to take up a huge amount of space. OK, I'll be honest, I need these books, I'm not addicted to them but when I need a break from cooking, cleaning and the whole mom thing, these are just the trick to give me a few minutes of "me time".

The Far Side Observer

No, this isn't a news publication nor it is filled with catchy headlines, what it is - simply put - is another great collection of some of Larson's greatest comics. As I mentioned in my review of Bride of The Far Side, the cows are my favorites and this one has some great ones to offer. Even though the cows are amongst my favorites, this book has some of the lesser seen characters like the amoebas. The last drawing in the book is of an amoeba dressed up like a cowboy with the phrase "Adios amoebas" under it. Yes, it's a play on words and trust me, I had to explain that joke to a few people. Another great one is the amoeba convention; they all look alike so they are wearing name tags. That's just freakin' genius. Some of the funniest one as the ones that just say it all with a single image, no quote or caption needed. A great example of this is the beaver who's standing in front of the refrigerator, hands [or rather paws] on his hips looking at various pieces of wood. Just another way Larson takes animals and puts a human spin on them.

Kids. If there's on thing that Larson nails to the wall, its kids. One of the best ones in this book is "The Monster Snorkel" depicting a boy hiding under the covers with a scuba snorkel poking out of the covers. Reading like an advertisement for some cheap and cheesy As Seen on TV advert it states, "The Monster Snorkel: Allows you child to breathe comfortably without exposing vulnerable parts to attack" of course the comedy in this is the two large monsters that are lurking around the boys bed. Larson has a thing for kids and monsters; another great example is the father that's rigged a knocking device on the outside of the basement door. The child sitting on the floor looks in horror as the knocking sound starts as the father says, "Oh ho Danny, Sounds like the monster in the basement heard you crying again. Let's be real quiet and hope he goes away". It's something that you really have to see to get the complete joke and every time I hear a kid start to cry, the image in that cartoon pops into my head.

If you are someone that likes Larson's play on words then this is probably one of the best books to pick up. Things like "the business lunch" featuring a sardine tin full of businessmen in suits to the story of "Mac the knife" are just a few of the humorous drawings you'll find in this. One of the best offerings is the sketch of the two blackbirds, the female answers the phone and says, "Louis, phonecaw" and to make things even funnier there's a framed portrait of an ear of corn. It's these small added things to the drawings that really make Larson's work so entertaining. Sort of like watching a movie over and over to try and absorb the whole thing and each time you view it you pick out something new. Thanks to Gary's unique perspective on things, these books are something that you can read over and over again and there's always a good chance that you'll pick out something new each time. Some people might look at this type of book and call it childish since its black and white drawings - loosely called comics - but to me there's a lot more to them than that. Irony, sarcasm, plays on words and having a laugh at the expense of humans.

One of the really nice things about this installment of the series is that it features twenty five full page comics, sure that means that you are getting less bang for your buck since you are missing out on twenty five extra drawings but to me, the larger ones allow you to get a little more from the idea that Larson is trying to get across to you. Some of the best ones include the penguin wife that's cheating on her husband, "I have to go Charles, Frank is getting suspicious", it isn't until you start looking at the twenty or so penguins on the page that you get the joke; there's one penguin thats nothing more than a cardboard cut out. "Horror films of the wild" is one that takes the popular horror movie scene of people on the edge of their seat waiting for the climax of the scene to arrive and switches it from people to deer. You know, the more I look at it, these could be moose, it's kind of hard to tell. In any event, it's a deer / moose walking up to a door with several mounted deer / moose / animal heads on the wall. Guess you have to see it to get the humor of it. These larger frames appear every other page on the right side so they aren't clumped into one section. To me this gives the book a nice flow and allows Larson to add a lot more detail and depth to the drawings.

The Bottom Line

I can't say that this is better than any of the other books in the series but I'd definitely say that there's nothing wrong with it, it's the usual stuff from Larson with some nice full page drawings tossed in as a bonus. Not everyone is going to be into what the Far Side has to offer in the way of humor but if you have a funny bone in your body chances are you'll flip through this and get more than a laugh or two. I like the fact that you can pick this up, open it to any page and just dig into it, itss not a complex read nor is it something that requires you to pay attention for long periods of time - simply put - even someone with the attention span of a flea can enjoy this. Now if they would just start putting numbers on the pages ...


As always, thanks for the visit!

~^V^~ Freak ~^V^~

© 2004 Freak369


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The Far Side
Bride of The Far Side





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