Friday Funnies: Garfield and Moon Unit Zappa
Grody to the max. Gag me with a spoon. Like, no way. This Garfield and Friends short from Season 7 tells a mildly entertaining story of how Jon has to babysit his bratty niece Shannon for the day. Preteen Shannon uses Valleyspeak, which, for the viewers amusement, is translated by Dr Moonunit. Within the context of Garfield and Friends, it's fairly standard cartoon fodder, there's a joke, a set up and Garfield eventually saves the day through a mix of his rebellious streak and his cynical (but accurate,) take on human nature. And all in just over eight minutes.
However, there is some deeper satire at work here. Dr Moonunit's name is more than just an amusing joke. It's a tribute to Moon Unit Zappa, who is credited with inventing the term Valley Girl thanks to the song of the same name that she worked on with her father, Frank Zappa. But dig a little deeper into the Garfield universe and you'll also find this strip from the early 1980s:
Coincidence? Perhaps. There's also speculation among fans that Garfield creator Jim Davis used a line from a Frank Zappa album in a comic strip in 2008. It's entirely possible that Davis is a fan.
PS Shannon has never appeared in the Garfield comic strip, and nor has she appeared in any other Garfield media. It's is unknown whether or not she is the daughter of Jon's younger brother Doc Boy.