1. I think you understood the joke. It’s a parody on the fact that no man is ever dressed sufficiently well to please his mate… even when they are clowns and dressing funny is part of the job.

  2. It’s not the tie. There’s nothing he could change that would be good enough.

  3. I’m with James. The article of clothing in the first panel is not relevant. Even a clown who wears ridiculous looking clothes regardless gets to hear it from his mate.

  4. It’s risky to depend on correct coloration, but I think what she’s objecting to is that his outfit is too coordinated: orange jacket, orange pants, orange shoes, orange hair. If he wants to be “funny”, he’s supposed to be more mismatched.

  5. My guess is the same as woozy’s and (I think) frosteddonut’s. But I didn’t really find that his regular orange pants made him look less clown-like – if he had polka-dot pants they would probably just distract from his distracting shirt and tie

  6. I think it’s overthinking it to try to figure out which part of his outfit is objectionable. Probably the cartoonist didn’t even have any specific part in mind. After all, the joke is that the wife’s objection doesn’t make any sense.

  7. Isn’t it the fact that she looks ridiculous too? Pot calling the kettle black (which should be filed under ‘Stupid sayings I don’t understand)

  8. Mitch4: I think the tease panel is just poorly executed, leading to your and Bill’s confusion. I think the tease panel is meant to reenforce the idea that the wife’s objection makes no sense, as Winter Wallaby says, by using the words, “guess again”. It’s the word guess I think was meant to be the take away from the tease panel, as in, there’s no logic to my objection, I just must object, therefor there is no known logical way you can come up with what my objection is other than guessing, because it is essentially random anyway.

  9. Fiona, a cast-iron pot and a cast-iron kettle are both really black.

    Of course the phrase makes less sense now that people use aluminum cookware from Wal-Mart.

  10. Gee, I’m with CIDU Bill on this. The cartoon was fine (or okay) without the intro panel. And the reading that worked in that case was basically what James and others are saying: it’s the overall impression, not anything specific.

    But then the tease about “It’s not the tie” totally rules out that reading! They are inconsistent together. They could go together, if the tie were completely obviously the one choice everybody would make first. But as it stands, the tease has to mean “It’s not that one prominent easy guess, it’s a better one but you have to figure it out.”

  11. @Andréa: Closest I can recall is the “Momus” series by Barry Longyear, in which a planet is inhabited solely by descendents of a circus troupe, formed into castes based on their ancestors’ roles. Clowns play large roles in it, but so do other circus folk.


    “All the Clowns in Clowntown” by Andrew McKiernan, a novelette, is sort of relevant; a city in the Australian outback inhabited solely by feral clowns, who have to fight off the attraction of a predatory travelling circus who seeks to kidnap them. (Hey, the Australian outback at least feels like it’s its own planet.) . .

  12. “But then the tease about “It’s not the tie” totally rules out that reading! They are inconsistent together.”

    The text in the bonus panel isn’t directed at you. It’s directed at him. It doesn’t matter what item of clothing he thought she was objecting to, he’s always wrong, not because of objective reality, but because he’s always wrong.

    The two panels work just fine, together. He could be totally put-together, and THAT wouldn’t be good enough, either. And after she questioned his choice(s), it wouldn’t matter what thing he tried to fix, it wouldn’t be good enough. (Whether, in reality, it made him look better or worse, in her eyes, it only makes him look worse.)

    The joke is, he’s trying to look goofy, and succeeding… but still not up to her standards(!)

  13. I think it might have been funnier if (having somehow made it clear that they are both clowns first, maybe keep the face makeup?) he was dressed in a normal suit.

  14. Maybe the title “The Long Term Marriage” is supposed to help. But it doesn’t for me.

  15. I considered asking for clarification from the source, but the “Rhymes with Orange” website only allows entering a comment. There doesn’t seem to be any way to read the comments already entered.

  16. That indicates it is for leaving a reply. Possibly that means feedback to the author and not publicly displayed comments.

  17. That just means there are no comments yet. They show up for me when they exist, I expect they will for you too…

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