1. There are five (well-ordered) dialog balloons, but only two mediocre gags: Dilbert cannot “put his money where his mouth is” (because he has no mouth), and Cathy cannot “…smell the roses” (because she has no nose). Jon is merely the annoying straight man.

  2. First of all, the five balloons three characters is because it represents a conversation. It’s more common to have speech balloons linked to each other but I suppose the panel layout doesn’t really allow it in this case.

    Dilbert: We are not always in a hurry
    Jon: Oh Yeah? Put your money where your mouth is
    Dilbert: Huh? How do you do that?
    Jon: Let’s stop and smell the roses.
    Cathy: What is this gibberish?

    Secondly, the joke is the double meaning of “expressions were lost”
    First meaning – Cathy doesn’t understand the figures of speech.
    Second meaning – Dilbert’s featureless face that doesn’t show emotion.

  3. Of course, Dilbert has a mouth and Cathy has a nose. You can see the former when he grimaces or screams; you can see the latter when she turns to profile.

  4. Pete, your careful analysis seems reasonable except that the conversation still makes zero sense to me, starting with the first line!

  5. phsiiicidu, “We are not always in a hurry” is a reply to the guy seated in the middle, who has just said “we are always in a hurry”. It is a common thing for a scene, be it in a play, a movie, (or a comic strip) to open in the middle of a conversation where the first speaker echoes the previous line.

  6. I couldn’t come up with the grammatical term for referencing the previous line by repeating the core statement, (in this case, refuting it).

  7. I think the conversation can make sense. The problem is that it’s so stilted and unnatural that it’s not very easy to parse. To translate:

    Jon, pre-panel: We’re always in a hurry
    Dilbert: We are not always in a hurry
    Jon: I disagree, prove it (put your money where your mouth is)
    Dilbert: Huh? How do you do that? (confused because he has no mouth)
    Jon: You can prove it by taking a break (let’s stop and smell the roses)
    Cathy: What is this gibberish? (confused because she has no nose to smell with)

    Or perhaps she’s confused because the conversation is actually borderline gibberish…

  8. Winter Wallaby: OK, I can see that. Boy, that’s a long road to something that, as Powers pointed out, isn’t even correct!

  9. Dilbert and Cathy may have a mouth and a nose in other strips, but not in this one, which shows them in their “standard” form.

  10. What I mean is that they, as characters, possess those body parts; they are just not drawn in most cases.

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