This strip was inspired by a number of birthday parties I went to as a kid, and the whole new experience of attending parties, again, now that I’m a parent. By any measure, children’s parties are delightful: there’s cake, there’s running, and someone always ends up in the garbage. In that sense, they’re not unlike most office, fraternity, or White House functions one might attend. …A party’s a party.
The thing that I was reminded of while doing this strip (its original inspiration, I think) was just how important parties can be to the whole childhood social-standing, popularity structure. Under the age of 3 most kids don’t remember what happened at little Timmy’s birthday, but as soon as kids are old enough to realize what brand of sock they’re wearing, the whole thing comes crashing down. Kids become “cool” or “uncool” for not having the right plates. Skippy’s party was better because his clown performed at the Super Bowl. …It’s a whole big mess.
What was once sweet and innocent becomes a blood bath similar to the chatter one might here on the sidelines of a Victoria’s Secret runway show. These rosy cheeked cherubs turn on themselves and each other, and what was once cake becomes an under-priced delivery device for everything that’s horribly wrong with you, your family, and the world. There’s too much frosting and Lumpy’s dad took some awful middle-management job across the river. No wonder all of Lumpy’s clothes come from that awful store in Mid-Town. “…This party sucks.”
I think it’s time for presents.