Art via Re-appropriation: Fatal Farm’s Lasagna Cat

10 02 2010

Let’s get this out of the way up front: Garfield has never been funny. Sure, I know that newspaper comics in general aren’t that funny. But even with the bar for acceptability set so painfully, heartbreakingly low, Jim Davis manages to limbo beneath it on a daily basis.

Admittedly, I have certain fond memories of the Garfield and Friends cartoon show that ran in the early 90’s. I am able to reconcile this by remembering that Jim Davis did not write Garfield and Friends, I was a small putty-minded child at the time, and the show featured the freaking Buddy Bears (Warning: Prolonged exposure to this clip may induce madness and eyestrain).

I was thrilled when I found out about Fatal Farm’s particular brand of idiosyncratic video productions, especially their Lasagna Cat series.  Lasagna Cat is presented as a celebration of Jim Davis in all his unearthly glory. In reality, it gleefully transforms Davis’s trademark non-humor into subversive anti-humor, by doing nothing more than acting out three panels of Garfield in live action. The lack of a punchline is painful and palpable. The overall tone is somehow unsettling and surreal. Each video also includes a musical tribute to Jim Davis (the “tribute” in the linked video is one of my favorite geek-jokes of all time).

In a similar vein, Fatal Farm also has a series of “alternate” openings to old television shows. They generally bounce back and forth between funny, strange, and downright creepy. They’ve apparently run into some copyright issues with the FOX corporation in regards to their Doogie Howser, M.D. intro. It’s been taken down off of their YouTube channel, but is still available on their main site.

Lasagna Cat is a fantastic example of how even an extremely faithful recreation of another person’s work of art can forever alter our perceptions of the original.

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