Garfield (Comic Strip)
Garfield is a long-running (since June 19, 1978) newspaper comic, written by Jim Davis. It stars Garfield, a sarcastic cat famous for his laziness, gluttony, occasional spurts of evil and avoiding of karma; his owner, Jon Arbuckle, a cartoonist who dresses badly, cooks badly and was long a complete failure with females (until, 28 years later, the veterinarian Liz finally gave in); and Odie, a really dumb Dogs Are Dumb with a penchant for licking, and the only animal who doesn't have "thought speech".
- Various animated specials
- Two Animated Series
- Two live-action movies, starring a CG Garfield voiced by Bill Murray and the remaining animals are in live action. Breckin Meyer played Jon and Jennifer Love Hewitt played Liz.
- A trilogy of CGI DTV movies.
- Also spawned Garfield: Caught in the Act, a platform video game released by Sega in 1995.
- Some edutainment computer games.... the list goes on.
Jim Davis has stated that he created Garfield with the sole intention of making money. He decided to create a strip that would be popular with the masses, in order to be commercially successful. The fact that he succeeded says one of two things, depending on how cynical one is. On the other hand, at least he was willing to admit it.
Garfield's speech is completely internal, even in his animated version. Although it made animation much easier, fans wondered exactly how much Jon understood Garfield considering they couldn't actually hold a conversation. With that in mind, they started the trend of removing Garfield's dialogue-- or even Garfield altogether-- from the comics. What results is a surreal trip into the mind of a very disturbed and lonely man, which is often considered funnier than the original strip, even by Jim Davis himself.
Probably holds the distinction of being the comic strip that features the most tropes whilst not naming any.
- 3D Movie: 'The concept is lampooned in this strip.
- Aborted Arc: Many storylines end like this, especially the ones where Garfield, Jon and Odie take a trip. They always go out of their way to make a strip or two preparing or heading to their destination, but by Sunday they're suddenly back home as if nothing happened. If the story spans more than one week, the Sunday strip will continue the storyline instead.
- Achievements in Ignorance: Odie was once able to climb a tree because he didn't know he couldn't.
- Alliteration: A 1999 strip saw Garfield destroying daisies, maiming marigolds and mauling mums.
- In a strip where Pooky goes missing:
Garfield: Aha! Could this be a telltale trail of teddy bear hair? Even if it isn't, that was a pretty nifty bit of alliteration.
- Affectionate Parody: Jim Davis sometimes uses Jon's family to poke fun at his own Down on the Farm roots. Jon's father is depicted in one strip at being amazed by an indoor toilet, while in another he breaks Jon's sink after trying to pump the faucet.
- Affectionate Pickpocket: Garfield has done this to steal food from people's pockets on at least two occasions.
- Alien Animals: One strip suggests that cats are invaders attempting to subjugate humanity, and that they are responsible for certain seemingly-mindless actions of dogs and lower-class humans.
- All Cloth Unravels: Garfield only pulls on a thread from Jon's pants, but the shirt somehow unravels, too, leaving Jon naked outside.
- See also Homemade Sweater From Hell below.
- Anthropomorphic Shift: Garfield originally started out looking more like a real-life housecat, but per Art Evolution, he became extremely humanoid in 1984.
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife / Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Arlene is about as piiiink as a bottle of Pepto-Bismol.
- And a Diet Coke: Occurs in this strip.
- Animal Jingoism: The traditional cats vs. dogs rivalry is played straight on many occasions between Garfield and Odie and all the other dogs he interacts with, but it's also repeatedly subverted. Garfield and Odie can get along perfectly well when they feel like it. One particular strip involves what looks like a large, angry barking dog chasing a terrified Garfield, but in the last panel they stop to catch their breath as a despondent Garfield tells the dog that they'll never catch the ice cream truck.
- Animals Lack Attributes: None of the animals are anatomically correct.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
- "What's new, Garfield?" "Well, King Kong is on the roof batting down airplanes. The entire planet is being ravaged by brain-eating aliens... but more important, my dish is empty."
- "Birthdays bring you lots of things... Gray hair. Bad eyesight... Creaky joints. Ear hair, aches, pains, bad teeth... Sigh... And cake!"
- Another one that occurs while Jon's watching a soap opera:
Jon: I have some bad news, Garfield. I ran out of your favorite cat food.
Garfield: I'll survive.
Jon: Odie chewed up your scratching post.
Garfield: Big deal.
Jon: And Frank left Marcia for Stephanie.
Garfield: (dramatic expression) HOW COULD HE?!
- "Why do people expect us cats to eat mice? This mouse could be somebody's mother. This mouse could be a deacon in its little mouse church. And one of the fuzzy sucker's bones might get caught in my throat."
- Art Evolution: A rather extreme example, as Garfield has gone from having a huge body and beady eyes, to having a huge head and a body that looks like a basketball with legs. Just look at his face alone.
2003 Garfield: So I was you, huh?
1978 Garfield: A long time ago.
2003 Garfield: How did I see out of those itty-bitty eyes?
1978 Garfield: First explain how you stand on those two spindly legs.
- Further lampshaded in that year's birthday strip where we see not only 1978/2003 Garfield, but also 1978/2003 Jon and Odie
- Ascended Meme: Jim Davis not only approved of Garfield Minus Garfield, he also contributed a few to the book.
- Aside Glance: Occurs in the final panel of nearly all the comics, often as a reaction to a particularly stupid line or action.
- Ass Shove: Implied in one strip where Jon says, "Ellen, I have a cold. I thought you might like to feed me some soup… that's not what spoons are for, Ellen."
- Attack Backfire: This strip had this happen to Garfield, with Jon Comically Missing the Point of what Garfield was actually trying to do.
- Author Appeal: There is a definite point in the comic's long run when you will notice that most of the (human) females begin to be consistently drawn with huge breasts, butts, and lips. Some strips, such as this one, draw women in a Non-Standard Character Design.
- Aw, Look -- They Really Do Love Each Other: They may give each other a hard time, but Jon and Garfield really do care for one another. Jon even went so far as to throw out a potential girlfriend (literally) when she told him she was allergic to cats and forced him to choose between her or Garfield. Garfield and Odie also qualify.
- Bacon Addiction:
Jon: Sometimes it's hard to express our inner feelings.
Garfield: Nonsense. (looks out to audience) I LOVE BACON! Your turn.
- Bad Date: Happens a lot to Jon until he and Liz become an official couple.
- Balloonacy: Jon has "the world's largest balloon" delivered. [dead link] Results in All Balloons Have Helium when it floats the house away.
- Banana Peel: Here, here (logo box), here, here, here, and here. Variant here. Subverted here.
- Banging Pots and Pans: Garfield does this to Jon a lot.
- Beach Bury: Garfield once buried Odie "up to his knees" (i.e., only his legs were sticking out of the sand).
- Happens in another episode when Jon lets some kids bury Garfield. He actually finds it relaxing... at first.
- Beach Episode: The cast frequently visit the beach. Bad things happen to Jon every time.
- Beat Panel: Very often, which is surprising for a three-panel strip.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: One strip [dead link] has Garfield stranded up a tree. Garfield says to it "Stupid tree...May all your stupid branches fall off!" Needless to say, all the trees branches broke off and fell to the ground. Including the one he was on.
Garfield: Nice curse, Garfield.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Odie often tolerates when Garfield bullies him, sometimes he doesn't even appear to recognize his malicious intent. But occassionally he gets him back, sometimes even worse than Garfield's original transgression.
- Big Ball of Violence: Showed up in early Garfield/Odie fights.
- Bill, Bill, Junk, Bill: Garfield, when channel surfing:
Garfield: Garbage... Junk... Garbage... Junk... Garbage... Junk... Ah! Trash!
- Black Comedy: The mass amount of pain inflicted on Jon and Odie often leans into this:
(Garfield kicks Odie off the table)
Garfield: Ooo... I bet that hurt.
(Garfield leaves and returns with a potted plant. He drops it onto Odie with a crash.)
Garfield: Get well soon!
- Blind Idiot Translation:
- Generally averted, since Jim Davis has said that he tries to avoid US-centric references or puns, so that the strip can be easily translated. He didn't always do this in the first few years, leading to dopey errors in the Spanish translation — among others, "I ate a Milk Dud and kissed a cat" becoming "I hate spoiled milk and kissing cats", or "I love it when the Good Humor man comes" with "Good Humor" translated literally, as if it were a friendly man.
- Other translation errors in the Spanish version are just inexcusable. For instance, in this strip, Garfield's dialogue was translated to something like "Pero al menos no he roto una pata" ("But at least I haven't broken a limb/leg") even though he's clearly pointing to a branch — i.e., the "sturdy limb".
- The current Spanish translators are quite skilled, to the point that they sometimes slip in their own puns (for instance, this strip [dead link] went with a pun on "sleeping bag" that works when translated back into English) and even make sure to localize. But even then, they're not infallible: in the Spanish version of this strip, they forgot to invert the words for "beef stew", thus killing the joke. Considering how well the rest of the strips are translated, this one really stands out as a glaring error.
- This one also got translated literally into Spanish, but to be fair, it was a very rare exception to Jim Davis' "no wordplay" rule.
- These two strips ended up with each other's dialogue.
- A couple of Hungarian bloopers: In this strip, the spider's line became "I can tell when I'm being fooled!". Which doesn't make the slightest of sense. In another strip, "my place" was translated litarally, as "én helyem" ("my spot"), when "nálam" ("at my place") would have been correct. Similarly, the expressions "Well, what do you know!" and "Okay, I'll bite" have also seen word-for-word translations ("Just what do you know!" and "Okay, I'll bite you"). Also, in one instance, the word "Egad" was left untranslated.
- Bowdlerise: In one farm-based strip, Garfield says "wanna swap sheep jokes?" His editor, concerned over this being misconstrued for a bestiality reference, changed it to "dirt jokes".
- Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Garfield is looking in the mirror when he says: "Oh no, a wrinkle! Oh no, a gray hair! OH NO, A WRINKLED GRAY HAIR!!!"
- Brick Joke: This dog reappeared almost a year after his original week of chaos, which itself counts as a Brick Joke considering it was not the dog's first appearance [dead link] . And of course Clive; see Not-So-Imaginary Friend below.
- Garfield "kicking Odie into next week". Odie is absent from the comic for the next 6 days, and, sure enough, he comes crashing back down (Onto Garfield.) on the seventh day.
- Briffits and Squeans: Briffits are the most common.
- Bubble Pipe: Jon uses a bubble pipe once or twice. Garfield himself once blew soap bubbles with a real pipe:
Jon: My ivory-stemmed, mother-of-pearl inlaid meerschaum!
Garfield: My blow toy.
- In one Story Arc where Garfield and Odie run away from home, Garfield describes the feeling of being on his own as "so....out-on-my-own-ish."
- An even earlier example had Garfield describe the sight of Odie begging for food as "bug-eyed and pant-y and slobbery."
- Bullet Seed: Shows up in this strip and again in this one, both times with watermelon seeds.
- The Bus Came Back: Lyman appeared one last time for the 10th Anniversary strip (although only in the logo box), 5 years after his last appearance as a regular [dead link].
- Butt Monkey: Jon is a huge one. Here's just a few of his moments.
- Burping Contest: This strip [dead link], and also this one [dead link]
- Can't Stand Them Can't Live Without Them: Garfield and Odie's relationship, to a tee.
- Cartoon Cheese: Shows up often when the mice are involved.
- Casanova Wannabe: Jon is an excellent cringeworthy example -- until his Relationship Upgrade with Liz.
- Upon reflecting on this years later, Garfield determines that Liz "became a loser with men".
- Catapult Nightmare: Here [dead link], here [dead link], here [dead link], here [dead link], here [dead link], here [dead link], here [dead link], here [dead link], and here [dead link].
- Catching Some Zs: Usually it's only a single Z in a speech bubble variation (although some early strips play it straight).
- Cats Are Snarkers: Garfield, of course.
- Cat Up a Tree: Often happens to Garfield. As he puts it, cats are the world's greatest tree climbers, but the world's worst tree climber downers.
- Christmas Episode: In the 2000s, Davis has taken to devoting the entire month of December to Christmas-themed strips.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Lyman. once it became apparent that he was The Artifact (he was originally brought in to give Jon someone to talk to).
- Almost all of the supporting cast (particularly Arlene, Nermal and Jon's family) hardly appear nowadays.
- Clip Show: June 19, 1988, the 10th anniversary strip. This strip is also the last appearance of Lyman (look at the logo box).
- Cloudcuckoolander: Irma, the eponymous diner waitress of Irma's Diner. Jon sometimes wanders into this as well, making comments such as "I think my toes are jealous of my fingers because they get to point at things."
- Clutching Hand Trap: Happened to Garfield in this [dead link] strip, but he subverts it by breaking the cookie jar on Jon's head, instead of just simply letting go of the cookie that he wanted.
- Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: Every time Garfield goes on a diet.
- Comic Book Time: A weird zig-zagging. Garfield's birthday (and occasionally Jon's) is celebrated in every year, and he complains about getting old. However, none of the characters ever age physically.
- One should also note that after the 25th anniversary, they stopped listing Garfield's age every year. Possibly because of the fact that a real cat typically only lives within half the time that Garfield's been around.
- Comically Missing the Point:
Jon: This morning I had a bowl of cereal with strawberries. When I turned my back, a mouse ate them. What do you say to that, Garfield?!
Garfield: We have strawberries?
- In another one, Jon mocked Garfield by commenting Garfield must be missing the time he could see his feet. Garfield then asked himself if he had feet.
- The Comically Serious:
- Continuity Nod: "Ah-HA! I knew I still had those old rubber arms!"
- Contrived Coincidence: Jon gets his head caught in a wastebasket and his hands caught in pickle jars right before his date, then worries what to do because his date is coming at any moment. Turns out she had the same thing happen to her.
- Cool Cat
- Cool Old Lady: Jon's grandma, who rides a motorcycle, boogies down on the piano, and is just an out-and-out badass grandma. (Ironically, her daughter is much more old-fashioned.)
- Cut and Paste Comic: It's not, but the remarkably regular art style gives this impression.
- The strip began using digital artwork in November 2011, and thus artwork is often reused and modified, pushing it into this trope.
- Cut a Slice, Take the Rest: One logo box pictures Jon holding a single slice of pizza, and Garfield holding the entire rest of the unsliced pizza over his mouth.
- Cute Kitten: Nermal, the world's cutest kitten.
- Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: One of Jim Davis's favorite gags.
- Dagwood Sandwich: These things can be dangerous!
- Deadpan Snarker: Pretty much everyone at some point, though Garfield is the most prominent. Special mention must be given to the bathroom scale ("You know those two pounds you lost last week? They are back with reinforcements"; "Let me put it this way... Have you ever considered a career as a river barge?").
- Deconstruction: Of Zipperiffic, bizarrely enough. Jon wears a suit with an absurd amount of zippered pockets, then forgets which pocket he put his keys in. Cue Garfield giving an Oh Crap face and exclaiming, "This could take months!"
- Deep-Fried Whatever: "If it ain't deep-fried, it ain't worth eating."
- Defictionalization: Being a teddy bear, Pooky gets this occasionally.
- Depending on the Artist: Ever since the strip went to being in color every day, there's been little to no consistency on the palette of Jon's house, wardrobe, etc. This also applies to the older strips, which were colored retroactively with just as little regard for consistency.
- Desert Skull: In one sequence, Jon brings home one of these [dead link], which Garfield then puts on Odie [dead link], while Jon is talking to his mother on the phone about it [dead link].
- Diet Episode: There are numerous strips about Garfield being put on a diet by Jon (or occasionally Liz).
- A Dog Named "Dog": Discussed in an early strip, where Lyman said that he grew up with four cats all named Cat... because there's no point in naming an animal that won't come when you call it.
- Doing It for the Art: Garfield's performances on the fence, which always have a hostile reception. The strip itself is an inversion of this trope.
- Don't Answer That: Garfield says this to his mirror after asking it who's the cutest cat and then seeing Nermal walk in.
- Don't Explain the Joke: In April 26,2012, a spider about to be swatted said it was okay as long as Garfield didn't sit on it and then explained he said it because Garfield was fat.
- Doom It Yourself: This occurred in one strip when Jon and Doc tried setting up some Christmas lights when Jon visited the family farm for the holidays. They ended up both getting entangled in the lights:
Jon's Dad: What am I going to do with you two?
Garfield: Why don't you plug them in?
- The Door Slams You: Has occurred to Garfield at least once. Not surprisingly, on a Monday.
- Double Take: Garfield jumped out of Jon's sock drawer to scare him. Jon just continued to dress normally for two panels until finally screaming.
- Dope Slap: Garfield does these frequently to Jon.
- Dripping Disturbance: Garfield faces this occasionally. First he turns the shower head upside down to stop the dripping, only for it to keep dripping even upside-down [dead link], then he notices it as one of the sounds commonly heard at night [dead link] and then he stops the faucet from dripping by using Jon's toe [dead link].
- Edible Smelling Salts: This trope happens too many times with the titular cat.
- Efficient Displacement: Garfield has done this to Nermal a few times, through both doors and walls.
- Eleventy-Zillion: From the aforementioned zipper strip: "Take a gander at this outfit. It has six gajillion zippers!"
- Embarrassing Nickname: Doc, Jon's farmhand brother, whom Jon always calls "Doc Boy". Still better than "Iguana Gums".
- Epic Fail: Garfield attempts to kill a spider by closing a window on it [dead link]. It doesn't go well.
- Everybody's Dead, Dave: Used in the Halloween 1989 story arc.
- Everything's Better with Bob: Garfield once met a rat named Bob, because that was the sound his head makes when it hits walls.
- Everything's Better with Chickens: Garfield's rubber chicken, Stretch.
- Everything's Even Worse with Sharks: Jon, reading the warning on Garfield's new flea collar: "While this collar will repel fleas, it has been known to attract sharks."
- Exact Words: "We'll be back after a word from our sponsor." "Sasquatch." "And we're back."
- Exposed Animal Bellybutton: Subverted in one strip. Garfield notices a black spot on his belly in the mirror and remarks "I didn't know I had a belly button". Said spot turns out to be a bug, which promptly flies away.
- Though played straight with some animal characters who appeared in some strips of this comic, especially bigger ones.
- Eye Poke: This strip features a televised face-slapping tournament that ends with one of these from one of the athletes.
- Eyes Always Shut: Jon's mom.
- Face Fault: "Hey, Garfield, I lost a button...Garfield?"
- Failed a Spot Check: Happens to Jon here [dead link], that's right he's so wrapped up Breaking the Fourth Wall, that he doesn't notice Garfield taking off with the refrigerator
- Failure Is the Only Option: Jon getting a girlfriend, until recently.
- Fake Rabies: Garfield and Odie have had fun with Jon's shaving cream.
- FanGame: A fan made a non-profit Adventure Game based on the comic, named Attack of the Mutant Lasagna. He made the mistake of contacting Universal Press Syndicate to ask whether they liked it, and was promptly Screwed by the Lawyers.
- Fat Cat
- First Gray Hair: Garfield finds a gray hair, panics, and tries to dye it. It doesn't go well. [dead link]
- First Name Ultimatum: "Gaaaaaaaaaaaaarfield!"
- 555: This strip.
- Flanderization: While certain character and story elements were present in the strip almost from the very beginning (Garfield's love of lasagna, for example), the early strips might come as a surprise to readers born after 1980 or so. When the strip was starting out, many things were different: Jon wasn't overtly a nerd, although he did have trouble getting dates; Odie was stupid, but not to the extreme degree he was later portrayed; and Garfield himself was less a cool-as-ice Deadpan Snarker than a genuinely mean-spirited (and at times sadistic) misanthrope. (The mean streak remains, of course, although the outright sadism has now softened into Comedic Sociopathy.) Also, the stories were originally slightly more based in reality; the madcap surreality that the strip has become famous for didn't truly get under way until the mid-1980s.
- Flushing Toilet, Screaming Shower: Garfield once turned on the hot water in the sink to show Odie that all the pipes were connected. Of course, Jon's shower went ice cold.
- Follow the Leader: Jim Davis developed a book format for the first Garfield compilation, which featured very wide pages to accommodate the three-panel strip horizontally as it appeared in the paper, as opposed to being vertically stacked like most comic strip trade books of the day. This wide-page format came to be known as the "Garfield format". Many other comic strips soon followed suit with their own books, including The Far Side and FoxTrot. Ironically, since 2001, Garfield itself no longer uses the Garfield format for its compilations, and the earlier "Garfield format" compilations have been republished in a more standard style.
- Food and Animal Attraction: Used in this [dead link] strip.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: This strip during a week involving Garfield's conscience.
- Fourth Wall Mail Slot: A few early strips had Garfield answering letters. (Also, this 2007 strip did too.)
- Flower Pot Drop: The strip has used this a few times:
- Odie crashes into a piece of furniture and the flowerpot on it falls off and crashes onto Odie's head.
- One of Garfield's audience members throws a flowerpot at Garfield before he can get on the fence.
- A flowerpot is thrown at Garfield, along with many other things, during his fence act.
- A mouse drops a flowerpot on Garfield for taunting him.
- Garfield drops a flowerpot on Odie after he kicks him off the table.
- Funny Answering Machine: This trope is used several times by any woman Jon tries to call for a date.
Suzy: Hi, this is Suzy. I'm not at home, but please leave a message at the tone... Unless you're Jon Arbuckle, in which case the machine will automatically hung up. ...Beep!
Jon: This is, uh, Ed Smith. (machine hangs up)
Garfield: Just amazing.
- A 2008 strip had Liz listening to Jon's answering machine message, commenting on it being 'funny'. Jon was being pounded by Garfield while he recorded the message.
- Funny Background Event: Happens in this strip [dead link] and this one
- Furry Ear Dissonance: Garfield has very round ears for a cat.
- Garden Hose Squirt Surprise: Happens to Odie in this strip.
- The Ghost: Ellen, until she finally appeared onscreen. And had amnesia.
- Glass-Shattering Sound: Parodied here. (So he's literally breaking the fourth wall?)
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: Until he ate them. Also, here.
- A Good Old-Fashioned Paint-Watching: Occasionally used to show how boring a life Jon's family has on the countryside, since the most mundane things excite them (watching the washing machine instead of the TV ("Here comes the red sock again!"), counting every brick in the wall of the house, taking a trip to see the new water tower, going to the airport to watch the planes take off etc.)
- There's an actual in-universe TV show called Watching Paint Dry.
- Greasy Spoon: Irma's Diner. You have two kinds of coffee (regular and decaf), pickle brine as a choice of beverage, and a five-pound "he-man" burger. Jon has found dry-cleaning slips and false eyelashes in his food. Irma thinks that letting cheese age means keeping it in the back of her truck, and her idea of a "special treat" is a scoop of mashed potatoes in an ice cream cone. Garfield once found a hoof in a burger there.
- Groundhog Day Loop: In a Story Arc in July 1986, Garfield gets stuck in a week of Mondays.
- Guilty Pleasures: In-universe, everything Garfield catches on TV.
- Hash House Lingo: Jon asks for a hamburger with extra onions. Irma then turns to the kitchen and yells "BURN A COW AND MAKE HER CRY!" which causes Jon and Garfield to lose their appetites.
- Hates the Job, Loves the Limelight: Binky the Clown:
Binky (on TV): Heeeey, kids! Wanna see Binky do a magic trick? Well, forget it! I'm not spending another minute in this stupid clown suit! I am an actor! But, noooo... Too short, they said!
Garfield: Third time this week. He's lost it.
- Hating On Mondays: Garfield may just as well be the Trope Codifier. He hates Mondays due to all the bad luck and trouble that keep happening to him.
- Heads-Tails-Edge: Garfield flips a coin to decide whether to stay in bed or watch TV. The coin lands on its edge, so he watches TV in bed.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Garfield displays tendencies of this.
- Hiccup Hijinks: One arc from 1998 featured Garfield "freestyle hiccuping," with the downright silly Written Sound Effects of "hickety," "huc huc" and "hickey" (no, not that kind of hickey).
- High on Catnip: Used several times [dead link].
- Homage: Some of the barn animals in this strip may be familiar: among them are Booker, Orson and Roy from U.S. Acres.
- Homemade Sweater From Hell: An early strip (1981-12-27) shows the cat tying a loose end to a post and running to unravel his way out of one.
- Honest John's Dealership: Invoked in a 1987 Story Arc where Jon buys a new car:
Jon: Honest Ed seems nice enough, Garfield, but there's something about him I don't trust.
Garfield: Maybe it's the fact his office is in a pickup truck with the engine running.
- Also appears in an early 1990s strip where Jon buys a Christmas tree from "Honest Frosty's."
- Horrible Camping Trip: Garfield has been forced to go an a few of these (though from his perspective, a camping trip can only be horrible).
- Humanlike Foot Anatomy: Strangely, Garfield's feet are still shown to be digitigrade when he's laying down, but turn into humanlike feet when he stands up. They've also gotten progressively bigger over time, as demonstrated in Square Root of Minus Garfield.
- I Ate What?: This strip [dead link], and before that there was, this one [dead link].
- Idea Bulb: Sometimes played straight; parodied here and here.
- Identity Amnesia: In the arc beginning February 2nd, 1987. Eventually, Jon starts missing the old Garfield.
- If You Die, I Call Your Stuff:
Garfield: How about a nice little game of “Stomp The Spider”?
Spider: I'm warning you... You'd better not pick on me, cat!
Garfield: And what happens if I do?
Spider: I'll tell my big brother!
Garfield: Fine! Bring him on!
Spider: Hey, Rusty! C'mere!
Spider: This big, stupid cat says he's gonna stomp me.
Rusty: Can I have your CDs?
- I Have to Go Iron My Dog: After Jon heard some noise, Garfield claimed Odie tripped and then he presented a piece of paper with some animal paw prints he claimed to be a sworn testimony claiming he was in Bolivia at the time.
- I Have to Wash My Hair: A prominent Running Gag regarding Jon, with most of the lines overlapping with I Have to Go Iron My Dog. (Or "I have to stay home to floss my otter.")
- I Know You Know I Know:
Garfield: (holding a rolled-up newspaper) Come a little closer.
Spider: Make me.
Garfield: Make me make you.
Spider: Make me make you make me.
Garfield: Make me make you make me make you.
Spider: Make me make you make me make you make me.
Garfield: Make me make you make me make you make me make you.
Spider: Make me make you make me make... um... ummm... Wait a minute. I forgot what we were talking about.
Garfield: Come a little closer, and I'll tell you.
Spider: Make me.
- Illogical Safe: Done to Odie in one Sunday Strip.
- The Intern: Biff, Garfield's college intern, appeared in one 1998 arc. He's sent off to scare Jon (unsuccessfully) then never heard from again.
- Intellectual Animal: Garfield has been seen sucessfully dialing a phone number [dead link], writing on a typewriter [dead link], and using a computer [dead link].
- In the Style Of: This strip [dead link]'s logo box, as confirmed in a compilation, was done in the style of Big Daddy Roth.
- Ironic Echo: "(Insert question about phone), anyway?" [dead link] and "Fall out of X again, Y?" "This is really embarrassing." [dead link]
- I Take Offense to That Last One:
Arlene: Garfield, I just don't know what I see in you. You're rude, obnoxious, fat, selfish, egotistical, and totally devoid of any charm.
Garfield: I am not egotistical.
- Another time too, but Garfield takes it positively.
Old Lady: You are the ugliest little boy I've ever seen.
(Garfield looks surprised and glances at the audience)
Garfield: You think I'm little?
- It Came From the Fridge: Several times, Jon's leftovers have become sentient. One even left the fridge because it was no longer wanted.
- It's All About Me: Garfield's standard outlook on life.
- I Want Grandkids: Now that Liz is offically his girlfriend, Jon's mother has been expressing this desire [dead link].
- I Was Quite a Looker: Jon's aunt Gussie. Also Garfield's grandmother, who had a "body that wouldn't quit." Until it did.
- Jon's mother, as you can see here, around the 4:07 mark.
- Jaw Drop: Lampshaded here.
- Jaywalking Will Ruin Your Life: In one strip, it was implied that the police were after Jon for trying to redeem expired coupons at the supermarket.
- Jumping Out of a Cake: Garfield is not amused to find a mouse jumping out of his birthday cake.
- Kent Brockman News: "The weatherman is losing it."
- "Here's the news! ...Uh! Gee, this is small print! Unfortunately, I can't see a thing without my glasses. So here's a song! Feeeeliiiiings..."
- "Kick Me" Prank: Jon came home looking dirty and beaten up, because someone apparently stuck a "Bury Me Alive" sign on his back.
- Kick the Dog: Garfield does this quite literally, and on a regular basis.
- Klatchian Coffee: Garfield's favorite kind.
- Laborious Laziness: Garfield is prone to this sort of thing. In the comic that provides the page quote [dead link], the lazy cat nails the TV to the ceiling above his cat bed so he can watch it without getting up. Think about how much effort it would've taken to hoist that television up there and then keep it in place while he nailed it there, and then think about how much effort it would've taken simply to get up and walk over to where the TV was.
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Parodied here with "Grafield".
- Laxative Prank: Jon mentions this as one of the mean things that Garfield does to Mrs. Feeny.
- Least Rhymable Word: In one strip, Jon is trying to write a love poem. After a Beat Panel, he asks Garfield, "What rhymes with 'wolverine'?" and Garfield suggests "loser".
- Changed to "skunk" in the Spanish translation.
- Let's See You Do Better: There are many Garfield Comic Creators. Here's two of them.
- Limited Wardrobe: Jon almost always wore a "powder blue oxford shirt", as one strip put it. Averted nowadays both by the colorists being unable to make up their minds, and Jim and co. occasionally drawing Jon in a different style of shirt.
- Literal Junk Food: Garfield eats an apple from a trash bag in this [dead link] strip.
- Loads and Loads of Loading: Garfield encounters this in a Christmas strip.
- It happened once before that in this strip.
- Logging Onto the Fourth Wall: Dingleball.com and coffeequick.com.
- Subversion here.
- Logic Bomb:
Garfield: Today's the day I do nothing. Unless I'm mistaken. Though being mistaken would be something, not nothing. So if today's the day I do nothing, I can't be mistaken. Unless I'm mistaken.
- Loophole Abuse:
- Jon once scolded Garfield for burying Odie in sand at the beach. Garfield defended himself by pointing out that "I only buried him up to his knees." Which would be fine....if he hadn't been buried upside-down.
- "Ah, it says here carrots are on my diet. And his is a carrot cake. A loophole!"
- Jon tried to teach Garfield self-control. He left a box of kitty treats in the room Garfield was in, telling him not to take the kitty treats. He left the room, then reentered a short while later. Garfield took everything except the box.
- Even more audacious when Garfield was on another diet and Jon told him "You may have a salad." Garfield promptly helped himself to some pork chops, and when Jon called him out he claimed that no one had ever told him that pork chops were not a salad!
- And once again: "This salad needs something. I think I'll garnish it. With a ham!" *wham*
- Lost in Character: Parodied.
General on TV: Holy bovines, Corporal! There's a giant monster invading the city!
Soldier on TV: That's not a monster, sir.
General: What are you talking about? Call out the artillery!
Soldier: It's just a bad actor in a rubber suit.
General: Oh, it is not! It's a monster!
Soldier: Come on... I can see the zipper.
General: Egad! A zipper monster! That's the worst kind!
Soldier: And that's not a real city.
General: Insolence! I'll have you court-martialed!!
Soldier: These are just tiny little model buildings.
Garfield: General Cordwood seems to have buried himself in the part.
General: PUT MY HOUSE DOWN!!
- Masochist's Meal: Occurs in a strip where Jon and Liz are at a restaurant:
Jon: Is your chili spicy?
Waiter: Not really.
Guest (offscreen): GAAAHH! MY THROAT! MILK! ICE WATER! ALOE VERA!!!
Waiter: Unless you're a weenie...
Jon: Bring it on!
- Meat-O-Vision: Frequently during Garfield's diets.
- Medium Awareness: All the time.
- Shortly before his 26th birthday: "Is it just my imagination, or is this strip getting longer?"
- After being hit in the head with a shoe, the Written Sound Effect "SPLUT!" appears over Garfield's head. He looks off-panel and says, "Wait a minute! Shoes don't go 'splut'!"
- After getting a cold in a very early strip: "Loog, eben my thoughts are stuffed ub."
- Davis also has fun with the "Z" bubbles that he uses to indicate sleeping:
- One time, Garfield said that he couldn't seem to wake up, until he realized that the large "Z" was still over his head. He popped the "Z" and promptly woke up.
- Lampshaded at least once: "I eat, I sleep. That's all I do. Do I look like I'm sleeping? Do you see a 'Z' floating over my head?!"
- Garfield, unable to sleep, stole the "Z" from above a sleeping Jon's head and placed it over his own.
- Megaton Punch: Garfield has done this to Odie and Nermal, socking - or, more often, kicking both (figuratively) to the moon.
- And literally, Garfield once actually kicked Odie into next week: "I have this nagging feeling I'm forgetting something... (Odie falls on him) ... Oh yes, I forgot I kicked Odie into next week, last week."
- Merchandise-Driven: The strip itself is designed solely to make money. And boy has it
- "Boy, am I bored. I'm so bored I have nothing better to do than lie here flat as a pancake. A big fluffy pancake dripping with butter and maple syrup... Boy, am I hungry."
- "Life is like a birdbath. It's made of concrete, filled with water, and uh... birds like to splash in it. Boy, that was dumb. Life isn't anything like a birdbath. Life... is like a sock monkey..."
- Midnight Snack: Often.
Garfield: I wonder if it's time for my midnight snack? (looks at clock) Hmmm... Eight P.M. Close enough.
- Mind Screw:
- Milestone Celebration: Every June 19 (the date the strip debuted) celebrates Garfield's 'birthday'. It's the only comic to celebrate its anniversary every year.
- Motionless Makeover: In the February 27, 1996 strip [dead link], Jon's back gives out and Garfield puts a cloth and potted plant on Jon.
- Mouse Hole: Mice in this comic have these.
- Mushroom Samba: One censored comic which only appears as a rough sketch in the 25th anniversary book, features a half asleep Garfield as he watches a periscope emerge from his water dish, followed by a tentacle. Garfield then smiles and says, "Man, that was some gooooooood catnip!"
- Must Have Caffeine: Garfield sure likes coffee. (and he likes it strong)
- Negative Continuity: To some extent.
- Never My Fault: Garfield's typical form of "self-chastisement". Quite amusing some of the time.
- No Fourth Wall: The fourth wall came crashing down on the first day and never went back up:
Jon: Our only thought is to entertain you.
Garfield: Feed me.
- One time (in the 1980s) Jon decided Garfield should go on a diet because his weight was causing the comic strip box to dip where he walked.
- The fourth wall is sometimes AWOL in-universe as well:
Woman on TV: Come closer... closer...
(Jon moves closer to the TV)
Woman on TV: Uh... that's close enough, dork boy.
Garfield: Et tu, TV?
- Another time, a television host yelled at a sleeping Garfield to turn the set off after signing off for the night.
- Noir Episode: Babes and Bullets, one of the segments in Garfield His 9 Lives. Wasn't included in the animated version but was adapted into a stand-alone TV special the following year.
- Parodied here.
- No Mouth: Garfield's teddy bear Pooky had one, but as per Art Evolution he lost it (10-6-1981 and 2-7-1982 being the last strips to depict him with a mouth). Since then, at least two strips relied on the fact that Pooky had no mouth.
- No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: In-universe, Odie loves any kind of attention as long as it's attention.
- Noodle Incident: Anything that Garfield himself does to Mrs. Feeny.
- Garfield's New Years Eve parties.
- Nose Nuggets: Garfield spends the first panel picking his nose. After a Beat Panel, he looks out to the viewer and says, "I'm on, aren't I?"
- Nothing Is the Same Anymore: In July 2006, after 27 years of constant failures, Jon finally managed to get together with Liz. They're in a relationship since then.
- Not-So-Imaginary Friend: Clive. This is also an example of a Brick Joke, as it came seven years after the week-long arc that introduced Clive.
- Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep: One strip shows Jon starting the prayer, but he stops because he hears Garfield open the refrigerator door.
- Obvious Object Could Be Anything: In this strip, Odie is shown shaking a wrapped bone, then wondering what it could be.
- Off-Model: From about September 2000 to January 2001, the art was a little more jagged and pointy (look at Garfield's ears and mouth in particular).
- Offstage Villainy: Garfield's constant harassment of his neighbors.
- Oh Crap: Garfield gives this facial expression a lot. See the "zippers" strip above as an example.
- Overly Long Gag: Many Sunday strips are padded out to the maximum seven panels, when they could just as easily work in three.
- Overly Long Scream: Jon does one in this [dead link] strip.
- Painting the Fourth Wall: Bugs "speak" in smaller letters, except in Sunday strips.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: In the educational webtoons, Garfield's Professor G disguise just consists of him putting on glasses.
- After getting caught trying to eat a pizza, Garfield disguised himself as the pizza. Jon didn't fall for it.
- Paranoia Gambit: "Just playing with your paranoia."
- Paying Their Dues: Garfield says this is what his fence act is.
- The Picture Came with the Frame: "Only Jon would carry around the picture of the girl that came with the wallet."
- Pie in the Face: The "Splut!" pies, which make that noise when they hit Garfield.
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Those who have been around long enough will know that Jon is supposedly a cartoonist. It was mentioned in the first strip, and his drawing board was seen in some early strips. The only times it's been mentioned after that is the storyline in 1984, where Jon goes to a cartoonists' convention and Liz describing Jon to her parents in the May 2, 2010 strip. That's right; his job went unmentioned in the strip for twenty-six years.
- Pluto Is Expendable: "The planetarium called... Your stomach is replacing Pluto as the ninth planet!"
- Posthumous Collaboration: The calendar and merchandise line Garfield Visits Rockwell, which adds Garfield to some of Norman Rockwell's Saturday Evening Post covers.
- Pounds Are Animal Prisons: A 1981 story arc [dead link] had Garfield being sent to the city pound, which was portrayed this way. (He escapes when Fluffy, another cat there, smashes him through the wall) It was even parodied in one of the strips:
(the gate slams)
Garfield: How did I get into this fix? One minute I'm free as a bird, then I'm in the city pound. Where did I go wrong? I'm just a number here, I've almost forgotten what it's like on the outside. It's not right to cage a wild animal! These four walls are closing in on me! I can't take it anymore!
Cat: You've only been here two minutes.
Garfield: I know, but this is my first shot at a prison scene.
- Precision F-Strike: Davis got a lot of letters for having Garfield say "sucked" in this strip; this was the only time that word ever appeared in it.
- Produce Pelting: Happens frequently to Garfield when he's singing on the fence. He once had a watermelon thrown at him.
- A watermelon? Psh. Remember Booga-Booga's wonderful scout troop? Only bloody currency is GIANT STONE WHEELS.
- Projectile Toast: Seen quite often:
- November 19, 1982, as the result of Garfield hating the toaster.
- August 21, 1994, as the result of Jon "fixing" the toaster...
- October 28, 2003 gives us a toaster that hates Jon. And it turns out to be possessed by an evil spirit.
- Inverted Trope on August 10, 1986, where Jon turns the toaster upside-down to prevent Garfield from stealing the toast. The toaster becomes projectile and smacks Garfield in the head.
- Relationship Upgrade: Liz has gone from occasionally and begrudgingly dating Jon to his full-fledged (and willing) girlfriend.
- Relax-O-Vision: This strip.
- Remember the New Guy?: Jon's aunt Gussie. Also most of Garfield's family, who appeared only in one week of strips and Here Comes Garfield without ever being mentioned again (except for his mom, who showed up in one other strip).
- Repeat After Me: Garfield uses Odie as a ventriloquist's dummy to make this exchange.
- Repeating So the Audience Can Hear: Often done with Jon's phone conversations with Ellen.
- Retcon: Two big ones. Odie was originally Lyman's dog, and Nermal was originally Jon's parents' kitten. Now the former is treated as if he were Jon's all along, and the latter is just a neighborhood cat who wanders in to torment Garfield.
- Ridiculously Loud Commercial: This strip, which includes a Snuggie reference.
- Road Trip Episode: Garfield and Jon (and sometimes Odie) often embark on Type 1s and 2s.
- Rodents of Unusual Size: Garfield has, more than once, faced a mouse bigger than he was.
- Rouge Angles of Satin: Every now and then.
- July 19, 1990 contains the Egregious spelling error of "Garfied."
- May 11, 2003 "Everybody" has the E and R reversed.
- Only one week later, Davis and co. left out the first E in "loneliness."
- February 22, 1990 misspelled Pooky's name as "Pookie."
- Played for Laughs: September 30, 1990 with Garfield and Odie as Pat Sajak and Vanna White, respectively, on the Wheel of Fortune set. The puzzle board reads "GARFIEDL."
- Rubber Man: "I forgot how far cats can stretch."
- Running Gag: Kicking Odie, Mondays, spiders, Spluts. Although the Spluts haven't appeared since the mid-1990s. Later years have 'beware of dog' signs.
- At least in the 1980s, Garfield would hide in a fern and the first two panels would appear the same, delivering a different punchline every time.
Jon: Garfield, I know you're in my fern. I can see your tail. What do you have to say for yourself?
- Also, a number of 1980s strips [dead link] had Jon saying some variation of "I wouldn't say you're fat Garfield, but...", followed by an extremely insulting joke about Garfield's fatness. Garfield usually attacked Jon in some way after that.
- In the final strip that had the gag, it was Subverted Trope. Jon says the line, but Garfield stuffs his food bowl in Jon's mouth before Jon can finish the insult and Garfield says "Then don't."
- Garfield's uncles [dead link] and aunts [dead link].
- Also, a number of 1980s strips [dead link] had Jon saying some variation of "I wouldn't say you're fat Garfield, but...", followed by an extremely insulting joke about Garfield's fatness. Garfield usually attacked Jon in some way after that.
- Rule of Three: After finding the Italian restaurant where he was born: "It's all gone! Where's the pasta? The people? The pasta? The excitement? The pasta?"
- Also: "Decorations, presents, caroling, presents, mistletoe and presents. Six things I love about Christmas."
- Sadist Show: Almost all of the humor in the strip comes from inflicted pain on the characters (usually Jon):
Garfield: Life is funny.
(Garfield laughs at Jon, who has fallen down the stairs and is lying in a heap.)
Garfield: For some of us.
- Santa Claus: He occasionally appears during Christmas.
- Say My Name: These [dead link] two [dead link].
- Shame If Something Happened: Garfield uses this as extortion.
- Shaped Like Itself: "The more you learn… [dead link] the more you, um… learn."
- Shout-Out: The logo boxes in Sunday strips featured many, including ones to Star Trek (here), The Honeymooners (here), The Wizard of Oz (here), Star Wars (here), The Three Musketeers (here), The Flintstones (here), The Phantom of the Opera (here), Laurel and Hardy (here), Fantastic Four (here) and The Andy Griffith Show (here [dead link]).
- The logo box to this strip depicts the American Express "do you know me?" ad in which Jim Davis appeared.
- How many comic book kids can you recognize in the title box of this strip?
- Also does who does Garfield remind you of in the last panel?
- Quite a few to Peanuts.
- There is a Krazy Kat background image on the wall in this strip.
- In the April 25, 1983 strip, Garfield says Old Yeller is his all-time favorite movie, because "I love movies with happy endings."
- In February 2, 2011, Garfield said Odie needed to look more menancing. Odie then put on a hockey mask.
- In May 13, 2012's logo box, Garfield was chasing one of the Angry Birds.
- Show, Don't Tell: Averted pretty hard. Davis has a tendency to set up elaborate gags which are only expressed verbally. This strip is a particularly Egregious example of telling instead of showing.
- Show Within a Show: Garfield's fence act.
- Side Effects Include: Parodied in this strip.
- Sound Defect: Every so often. For example, in this strip, the doorbell only goes "ding-". The person at the door? A man from Ed's Dong Repair.
- The Speechless: Odie, most of the time. Once, he spoke through a thought bubble like Garfield, and in Garfield and Friends, he sometimes "barked" short words.
- Another exception of note is this strip, even if it was just a dream.
- Sphere Eyes: Suprisingly, they were gained through Art Evolution.
- Squirrels in My Pants: In this strip, Jon gets a gopher in his pants. Again.
- Stealth Pun: This strip has Garfield sleeping on a music staff. On a panel that has a rest in it.
- Stout Strength: Subverted by Garfield. In one strip, while Jon is flexing in front of the mirror and complementing himself on his muscles, Garfield immediately flexes what looks like his own immensely powerful muscles. Jon stares at him in shock as Garfield walks away, explaining that he simply "flexed his fat".
- Garfield did it again in another strip when he ran into Arlene. She continued to stand and watch in amusement, as Garfield struggled to keep up his flexing:
Garfield: Uh...don't you have somewhere you gotta be?
Arlene: And miss seeing how long you can hold that pose?
- Played straight in another strip where Jon and Garfield begin poking each other with sticks and ordering each other to do things. The sticks keep getting bigger until Garfield finally uproots an entire tree and brings it into the kitchen to try and poke Jon with, until he finally tires out and the tree squishes him.
- Strip Archive: Every single strip ever is available to read for free on their website. In addition, a website also allows people to search through Garfield strips before 2008, where the images for the strips are hosted at images.ucomics.com.
- Stuffed Into a Trashcan: Nermal, at least once.
- Suddenly Shouting: In an early strip:
Jon: Be careful there, Garfield. Hanging on the drapes can be very painful. 'CAUSE I'M GONNA BREAK YOUR LEGS IF YOU DON'T GET OFF THEM THIS INSTANT!
Jon: Some dirty, rotten, low-down, slimy, filthy, disgusting, gluttonous, hog STOLE MY SUPPER!
- Surprise Creepy: A series of comic strips starting on October 23, 1989. Pretty well explained here. After an unsuspicious Sunday strip on October 22, Garfield awakens on Monday morning in a cold, dark, empty home full of decay and gets a taste of the silence of death. And how does he get back out of this scary situation? By using his fantasy...
- Surprise Jump: This happens to Jon several times, usually when Garfield scares him.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: "Fib alert! You can't believe Odie! No matter what he says, I did not paint him green! And it wasn't with a two inch horsehair brush!"
- Talking Animal: Although the animals only think.
- Tastes Like Diabetes: This strip. [dead link] Parodied.
Garfield: Woah, that's even too much for me...
- Temporal Paradox: To celebrate the strip's 25th anniversary, they ran an arc where 1978!Garfield meets 2003!Garfield. 1978!Jon and 1978!Odie also show up alongside their 2003 counterparts at the end.
- That Cloud Looks Like...:
- Garfield once found one that resembled Odie: the same ears, the same stupid expression. When it started to rain, he commented that it also had "the same slobber."
- There's No B in Movie: Most films that Garfield watches.
- This Is My Human: Garfield refers to Jon as "his cartoonist" in the very first strip and considers himself to be superior to Jon in every way imaginable (and thus treats Jon accordingly).
- This Loser Is You: Jon, although this wasn't a big part of the comic until the nineties.
- Thought Bubble Speech
- The Three Certainties in Life: One strip had a variant, "Death, taxes, and teddy bears. Three things you can always count on."
- Tongue on the Flagpole: A variation. Odie gets his tongue stuck on a frozen fire hydrant. The strip then shows six panels' worth of outstretched Odie tongue, leading to Garfield saying, "We need a blow dryer and a really, really long extension cord."
- Jon once got his tongue stuck on the mailbox, but it wasn't seen.
- Too Close for Comfort: Jim Davis appears As Himself in one episode.
- The Tonsillitis Episode: April 1988 [dead link].
- Trademark Favorite Food: Garfield eats everything except raisins and spinach, but he prefers lasagna. He's also very found of pizza, to the point that he considers the pizza delivery boy his best friend.
- Trapped in TV Land: The Garfield and Friends episodes "The Lasagna Zone" and "T.V. of Tomorrow", the video game Garfield: Caught in the Act, and The Garfield Show episode "Virtualodeon".
- Tremor Trampoline: In this strip [dead link], and this strip here [dead link].
Jon: Diet time.
- Uncatty Resemblance: Jon and Garfield commented on this trope, with pets who look increasingly (and more absurdly) like their owners. This culminated with some guy who looked like a man in a bird suit and his pet canary. Another strip had Jon sitting down to eat dinner with Garfield, which they both began gobbling up in perfect sync. The strip ends with Jon realizing he has to get away from Garfield when they eat.
- Unnamed Parent: Jon's parents. Also, Garfield's mother, who appeared in a series of strips in 1984.
- Unsound Effect: For a rather unconventional example, whenever a hammer is being used, the sound effect is usually "hammer" instead of "bang." Others include "unscrew" for the top of a saltshaker being unscrewed, and "plug" for Christmas lights being plugged in.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Garfield is all over this trope.
- Vaudeville Hook: Garfield has been hooked off the fence a few times. Once, during a Christmas week, an oversized candy cane was used as one.
- Verb This: Jon had to free-float this [dead link] and forget that [dead link].
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Garfield's reaction to finding out that he had eaten octopus was to spit it all back out (on Jon, no less) and then remark that it wasn't half bad.
- Wanting Is Better Than Having: Garfield on the pursuit of mice: "It's not the having, it's the getting."
- Went to the Great X In the Sky: A spider wants to take revenge for his grandfather whom, as he says, Garfield sent to "that big web in the sky".
- What Happened to the Mouse?: This [dead link] strip has a blind date of Jon's named Gwen, who dresses as absurdly as he does on dates and finds him cute. Garfield even says "God made two of them!" Although she would have been a good recurring character, perhaps as a Distaff Counterpart of Jon, she was never mentioned again.
- What's a Henway?:
Jon: Garfield, do you know there's a mouse in the garbage?
Garfield: I think so... (singing) Oh, there's a mouse in the garbage, and I don't care...
Garfield: What's a girl like you doing in a place like this?
Arlene: But this is a nice place.
Garfield: Like I said... What's a girl like YOU doing in a place like THIS?
- William Telling: The protagonist being the glutton that he is misses intentionally so that he can eat the apple afterwards.
- Wire Dilemma: Parodied:
Woman on TV: Bob, we've only got 3 seconds before the bomb explodes! Cut the red wire, not the green one!
Man on TV: Bernice, there's something I've always wanted to tell you…
Woman on TV: Yes?
Man on TV: I'm color-blind.
- Word Schmord: Labor Day, Shmabor Day, and Ming, Shming.
- World of Snark: Garfield's the most prominent snarker, but just about everyone gets plenty of turns.
- A Worldwide Punomenon: They are very, VERY, rare, but they are there. Davis stopped doing them because he wanted the strip to translate internationally.
- Written Sound Effect: "SPLUT!" is the sound that a pie makes when it hits Garfield's face, although some other foods go "SPLOT!" instead. "Dingle" is also used for Odie's toy balls with bells in them. Also, "GOOSH!" [dead link] is quite commonly used for wet splats.
- Yawn and Reach: Jon tries doing this with Liz at the movies, only for her to "ahem" him away. He then leans on Garfield, who also gives him an "ahem."
- You All Look Familiar: Non-video-game example; the Recurring Character Squeak looks just like any other mouse in the strip, and it's not often that he's explicitly named as such. Currently,[when?] the last strip in which he is named is on June 16, 1997.
- He reappears on September 7, 2011.
- You Didn't See That: These two strips [dead link].
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: This strip features a pink haired girl, and this one has a purple haired one.
- Your Brain Won't Be Much of a Meal: In one strip, Garfield pretends to be The Igor, wandering around saying "A brain! I need a brain for my master!" He pauses to take a look at Odie, and then moves on, repeating "A brain! I need a brain for my master!"
- Your Mom: G-rated versions show up several times:
- When Garfield stands on the talking scale:
Scale: Let me put it this way... Have you ever considered a career as a river barge?
Garfield: Your mother was a blender!
Scale: That hurt.
- In another strip, when he does his act on the fence, he tells his audience: "All your mothers wear army boots!"
- Yet another strip, Jon tries to train Garfield to be an "attack cat", and makes a dummy from him to practice. When he orders "Attack!", Garfield tells the dummy: "Your mother wears combat boots!"
- In another strip, when Garfield is a bad mood, he shouts to a bunch of dogs: "All your mothers wear flea collars!" which gets him beaten up.
- A spider says this to Garfield in this strip.
- You Talk Too Much: Said by an old lady here, even though no one else spoke while she was babbling. Garfield also said this to Jon once.
- (in most Spanish cultures, cats are said to have seven lives instead of nine)