Mayor: Do you like Family Circus, Mr. Trick?
Cathy was a Newspaper Comic strip by Cathy Guisewite which ran from 1976 to October 3, 2010. It revolved around the eponymous character's life as a single woman, her dealing with a stressful workplace, diets, junk food, being able to fit in swimwear, the dating scene, and an overbearing mother.
In the 1970s (the age of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and the E.R.A.), a comic about a single young woman trying to make a career was new and innovative. The strip was extremely popular in its heyday, with many women readers readily identifying with the title character as she dealt with common problems of modern single life. A rumor in the 1980's that she was finally going to marry Irving sparked a lot of fan backlash from single women who didn't want to lose this character they could relate to. (Cathy finally did marry Irving in 2005, and the final strip in 2010 featured the announcement that Cathy was pregnant with a girl).
These days, the strip is a frequent target of parody and Take Thats, owing to its repetitive nature, devotion to Men Buy From Mars, Women Buy From Venus, and general blandness. That Cathy is a weak character by modern standards, breaking down emotionally at any point for any reason or no reason doesn't help; she seemed modern back when a career woman was the exception rather than the rule, but Society Marches On and at some point this began doing more to lower the glass ceiling than to raise it. Pearls Before Swine and Liberty Meadows satirize the strip frequently, and the Comic Book Doctor wrote a lengthy article on what the strip does wrong.
- All Women Love Shoes
- Art Evolution: And how; the strip's artwork was insanely crude in it's first couple of years; it wasn't until the early 80s that Guisewite's drawing skills became passable.
- Author Avatar: The character is named for the author, as is the strip's Character Title.
- Babies Ever After: The final strip had Cathy announcing her pregnancy.
- Catch Phrase / Written Roar: Aaack!
- Which is apparently genetic: Cathy's baby is thinking aaack from the womb
- Character Title
- Comic Book Time
- Department of Redundancy Department: Used a lot, frequently.
- Generic Cuteness: Averted--most cast members range from normal-looking to mildly ugly.
- Gonk: Cathy herself, drawn with oversize eyes, stringy hair, and no nose. She remarks that the only people who've ever called her attractive have been trying to sell her things.
- Hollywood Pudgy
- Hypocritical Humor
- Hysterical Woman: Somewhat, in that Cathy does tend to freak out over mundane things.
- Incompetence, Inc.
- Inexplicably Identical Individuals: Mabel, who keeps changing jobs.
- Invoked Trope: At one point, Cathy tries invoking You Were Trying Too Hard in order to attract a boyfriend. It doesn't work.
- I Want Grandkids: In the last strip, Cathy announces her pregnancy; Mom's reaction is pretty much one of pure delight.
- Jumped the Shark: By the end of the 34-year print run, at least half of the newspapers which used to carry the strip had dropped it.
- Long Runners: A Print Long Runner for 34 years (1976-2010).
- Mars and Venus Gender Contrast: Probably the main theme of the strip.
- Obnoxious In-Laws
- Relationship Upgrade: Cathy and Irving tied the knot in 2005.
- Seinfeld Is Unfunny: As the writeup indicates, at first the concept was fairly innovative, even if over the years the strip succumbed to entropy.
- Status Quo Is God: Cathy is a static character through most of the strip (until it Jumped the Shark after the turn of the millennium). She never ages, she never grows, her career never advances, her weight and other personal attributes never change – and her stated claims to be trying to change these also remain stubbornly unchanged for more than three decades. One could fast-forward twenty years and miss absolutely nothing.
- Stupid Boss: Mr. Pinkley.
- The Noseless: Cathy, of course. In the very rare side views, she does have an extremely flat bump where the nose should be. Every other character has at least a line or knob.
- Oddly, Cathy is also the only one with full eyes, ie pupils, whites, lids, etc. All others just have Black Bead Eyes, occasionally topped with a line.
- They Do: Cathy finally married Irving in 2005.
- This Loser Is You
- Weight Woe: Cathy defines this trope.