Sunday Weepies: The Most Depressed Cartoon Characters
By Cory Cavin

Cathy-AckAs a wee child I remember spending every Sunday poring over the lively colored newspaper, reading up on my kid comedy that was ‘the funny papers’. As an obsessive compulsive lad I forced myself to read all the hilarity laden newsprint, (and still in my childhood mind wondered why I was reading every episode of the Family Circus…possibly the most uneventful comic on the planet). Still those stories stick in my mind today and color the fabric of our society more than we know - how many Dilbert calendars have you seen posted in an office to boost morale? Wow, his life really is like ours. Oh man, how booooring! Water cooler anyone?

But just as we’ve lauged with these cartoon characters in their lives, so we must cry with the reality that they live in in their little watercolored worlds. (Or waterCOOLERED worlds - Dilbert again anyone?) So we here at BWE.tv present to you our SHORT LIST OF DEPRESSED COMIC CHARACTERS:

Cartoon 2.jpg5. Andy Capp

Andy Capp is not so much depressed as he is a drunk. That is actually the entire concept of this comic strip. Andy, who is Irish of course, is a lovable old drunk who misses appointments, falls down, steals drinks from friends, and ends up being a loveable screw up. Just like that show Intervention but a little more kid friendly. The only way Andy can possibly keep up this life of drinking, burping, and wandering about with stars circling his head is by the residuals that his Andy Capp’s Hot Fries fortune must be generating in snack machines all over 1987.

Cartoon 3.jpg4. The Lockhorns

Continuing the Sunday laugh ride is colored newsprints’ most disfunctional couple. I remember wondering when to laugh as I read through their trainwreck relationship as Leroy would smugly comment on how Loretta “burned the roast again” and then eye a blonde at the bar who had no eyes because her bangs were drawn over them. Comically frumpy Loretta would scour Leroy with burning looks as they openly talked about divorce and how marriage is a better option because it’s cheaper. Wow can I go out and play baseball? And never get married when I grow up to avoid this sadness?

Cartoon 7.jpg3. Ziggy

Ziggy is on the other side of depression and probably on some sort of anti-depressant. He hangs out with a dog and goes from confusion to tame smile. In some comics he was even visited by aliens. Clearly this was all in his lithium soaked mind. Also, he looks like Uncle Fester. Or a young Matt Pinfield. Clearly, crazy.

Cartoon 6.jpg2. Cathy

Poor woman. Cathy is an early 30’s single cat-lady, addicted to chocolate, and a knack for screaming her frustrated catchphrase, “Ack!” Probably best portrayed by Tina Fey as Liz Lemon on 30 Rock, Cathy would be seen today sprucing up her Facebook page with self descriptions like “crazy!”, and “random”, but not “prone to falling asleep face down in a bag of Hershey’s Pot o’ Gold”.

JonArbuckle1. John Arbuckle

Maybe the worst of the list, Arbuckle spends most of his time in his home suffering through failed relationships, a dead end job, and moaning to his two closest friends, a dim dog and the world’s snarkiest cat, Garfield (Garfield could possibly win his own spot on the list for his massive addiction to comfort food). Arbuckle is the scariest on the list because he represents what lurks in apartments all over America - the young defeated single male. It’s like Edward Norton in Fight Club - except instead of talking to and slugging it out with a soap making Brad Pitt, Jon is arguing with and losing to a fat lasagna throwing cat. I’m sorry, Jon. See the depths of a crazed and alone Jon Arbuckle at Garfield Minus Garfield - a genius blog that removes Garfield and leaves Jon on his own to show how crazy he can look. And leave us any other emotionally wrecked comic strip characters in the comments!

61 Responses to “Sunday Weepies: The Most Depressed Cartoon Characters”

Jamie Noir says:

Andy Capp isn’t Irish. He’s from Hartlepool (Not in Ireland).

Olivia says:

WEIRD!! I was a totally OCD kid & forced myself to read every comic. It was torture — especially with Broom Hilda & Beetle Bailey. I hated that shit.

Cory Cavin says:

My mistake Jamie, you are in fact correct. Did I mention I’m nationalist against cartoon characters?

Jenn says:

More importantly, who the hell is Corey Cavin?

Lex says:

Ack, I like Hot Fries.

Alex33016 says:

Not to mention…that Cathy is also a shopaholic…

And how can we mention dysfunction, without mentioning those “Peanuts” kids…Peppermint Patty…suffering from gender dysphoria…Marcy, closeted lesbian…Lucy, manic depressive…Linus, detachment issues…Charlie Brown, self-esteem issues…Snoopy, grandiose sense of self…they were all a big bag of crazies.

my new favorite euphemism says:

Prince Valiant was the worst. I would make myself read it, but never knew what was going on.

oh and he has stupid hair.

meridith says:

Cathy is not only a crazy dog lady, she’s also been married to her long-suffering husband Irving for three years now. They will, of course, be the Lockhorns in twenty years.

Meg (mamegmeg) says:

thanks for bringing Garfield without Garfield into my life, Corey

JHop says:

Hi Cory. I don’t believe we’ve met. I’m JHop and these are my friends, the Commentors.

Commentors, this is Cory. He seems nice.

mello_tactics says:

My nomination goes to LuAnn. That chick needs to take a chill pill before her friends ditch her to hang out at another lunchtable like mine did during high school for saying things like “chill pill.”

Is it a coincidence that Corey Cavin came in the day Michelle is feeling sick? Do I smell a power-play involving food poisoning?…Eh, probably not. As John McClain would say “Welcome to the party, pal” (That sounds corny,right?…I’m leaving it in anyway).

Meg (mamegmeg) says:

err minus.

and i spelled cory’s name wrong. i’m a reaaalll whore.

Alex Blagg says:

There was supposed to be a brief introduction to Cory, but I think it was lost when the blog was overtaken by the robots. Anyway, he’s one the editors for Best Night Ever and a generally funny guy, so he might pop up from time to time. Be nice to him.

Mia says:

Jon is less depressing now because Jim Davis gave him a girlfriend (Liz, the vet).
And as someone mentioned above, Cathy’s married now - also less depressing.

ljkelly says:

The Garfield minus Garfield site just made my day.

coldsake says:

It’s like an AA meeting up in here. “Hi, my name is Cory and I’m a blogger.”

“Hi, Corey!”

Not that I would know anything about AA meetings. I can quit sake at any time.

JCizzle says:

Ah, thanks for clearing that up Blaggster. I, like the other regulars, am angered and confused by new things and “change.”

We may welcome you Cory Cavin, but remember, we have our EYES on you… mostly cause the name alliteration is sorta creepy and super-villianish…

Manny Mota says:

Andy Capp used to beat his wife back in the 80s when that was okay.

Manny Mota says:

Andy Capp’s has been beating Flo since the 60’s. Here’s a classic beat down:
Oh that Andy. He loves her so much it hurts.

Captain Reprehensible says:

Mary Worth is a real bringdown. Funky Winkerbean had that long cancer plotline. Every word balloon was “cancer cancer cancer cancer.” Gasoline Alley fills me with ennui. Why the hell did I read these? Good list.

Burnables says:

Beetle Bailey was about two frames away from getting fragged by his platoon.

Ezra says:

Jon Arbuckle at his best.


Kara says:

mello_tactics: i was totally about to rep-ruh-zent on that Luann tip! does anyone remember the thing where you could vote for who Luann would ask to the prom?

My brother was ADDICTED to Calvin and Hobbes.

Curtis!…anyone, anyone? (neither of those are really depressed though.)

“It’s like Edward Norton in Fight Club - except instead of talking to and slugging it out with a soap making Brad Pitt, Jon is arguing with and losing to a fat lasagna throwing cat”
this made me uncomfortable, like is it hilarious? (yes) or do i just wanto to give J.Ar-bu a big hug and tell him its ok? (yes) so conclicted.

renni says:

OMG Kara, I LOVE Calvin and Hobbes!!!

Also, most depressing has to be the “Love Is” cartoon. When will they finally make up their minds? (and put some damn clothes on!)

MaggiSaar says:

Man, Calvin and Hobbes was the BEST comic in it’s day. Followed very, very closely by The Far Side.

I always felt bad for Ms. Wormwood, Calvin’s teacher. You know she was a hard core wino because of that kid.

Meghan says:

Agreeing with the Calvin and Hobbes love, as well as the Prince Valiant hate. What the hell went on in that “comic strip” I’ll never know.

Meg (mamegmeg) says:

calvin taught us all that you can put anything (a paper that refers to bats as bugs, for example) in a “clear, plastic binder” and it automatically becomes an award winning report.

marah says:

perhaps you don’t read enough crankshaft. that dude hates his life.

Buffy Freak says:

Anyone remeber Dondi? Man that kid had a tough life!

Calvin & Hobbes was simply the best. The Far Side had some classic moments.

But man did I ever want a cartoon Charlie Canson get a hold of that Family Circus family.

Buffy Freak says:

Oops! That should be Charlie MANSON not Canson! D’oh!

lurker number 5 says:

Umm…so at the risk of dating myself. No one has mentioned Bloom County. Seriously? Bill the Cat? Opus? And in defense of being off topic, you know that guy in the wheel chair had his moments of despair. Not to mention Opus’ philosophical desperation.

Cory Cavin says:

Hey everyone, thank you for your gentle welcoming. I can feel the bonding. Internet hugs all around.

I forgot to mention “serial” cartoons like Rex Morgan, M.D. The only section I could skip as a kid. Never. Drawn. To. Them.

PassionateZephyr says:

Whoa, Cory’s kinda hot -> http://www.vimeo.com/corycavin

My life is very, very sad.

*runs away weeping.

Johnny Bean says:

What about the hamburger dude from Popeye? I though for sure he’d be on the list.


nm says:

I think you decided that Garfield’s dad was the most depressed before you started the list. Clearly he has the least responsibilities and is not fighting what ails. Lazy top 5 list…

McIntyre says:

What about charlie brown?

seo says:

What is that late night English cartoon called about a grumpy couple? You should have included them as well.

Google Game says:

Never was a fan of Garfield.


Brittany says:

I just spent about 20 minutes writing a thesis on why Charlie Brown was the most depressed cartoon character, complete with quotes and citations, and the freaking page timed out! AAAARRGGGHHHH! (To quote CB)

Oh well, just look at this article: http://www.time.com/time/sampler/article/0,8599,93141,00.html

Anyways, I am horrified by this unbelievable oversight! This half-assed list was probably NOT the best way to usher-in a new contributer…. sorry Cory, I really wanted to like you….especially after that humorless horror show “Jenna” person came on the scene.

mistuhmatt says:

LMAO at the garfield minus garfield site… but did Charlie Brown enter anyones mind? that poor kid is the joke of his neighborhood!

mistuhmatt says:

LMAO at the garfield minus garfield site… but did Charlie Brown enter anyones mind? that poor kid is the joke of his neighborhood!

mistuhmatt says:

LMAO at the garfield minus garfield site… but did Charlie Brown enter anyones mind? that poor kid is the joke of his neighborhood!

vafer says:

Charlie Brown. Schultz really screwed him over.

TB says:

Ugh, now Hollywood is drafting a script with Tina Fey as Cathy - coming 2011.

Mr.Dandy says:

The Fusco Brothers.. their open hostilities towards each other clearly were meant to hide their own abysmal self loathing. Even the dog. The strips always ended in some sort of impasse, with someone sprouting a batch of giant question marks over his head.

Quote: “Woa, Carl is kind of hot”

You know what fiction character is hot. Jaina Solo from starwars, chocolate brown eyes and best hand-drawn face ever.

Mark H Wilkinson says:

Ah, Hartlepool, that auld Oirish province.

Dominic says:

Andy Capp is Northern English, get your stereotypes right

kurt says:

Charlie Brown was a little kid who felt compelled to see another little kid (Lucy) who passed herself off as a psychiatrist. How depressed do you have to be to pay a nickel to see someone who is obviously not a psychiatrist? The omission of Charlie Brown renders the rest of your list invalid.

WTF says:

I too, am surprised that no mention of anyone from Peanuts was made. That comic strip is practically it’s own support group!

Nope says:

You guys are idiots. Charlie Brown is by far the most depressing. Cathy? What crack were you smoking?

jon says:

John Arbuckle has a girlfriend now, i dont know if any of you guys still read comics

sean says:

Andy Capp is English you gobshite.

Dan says:

lmao, John Arbuckle is so creepy the way you put it! hahaha

anniedawg25 says:

I gotta say……my boy Charlie Brown was the most depressing.
His own dog didn’t even like him half the time, and Lucy was ALWAYS on his ass

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jokyr says:

I’m shocked that Charlie Brown didn’t make the list. Peanuts always depressed the
**** out of me when reading it. :/

jokyr says:

I’m shocked that Charlie Brown didn’t make the list. Peanuts always depressed the
**** out of me when reading it. :/

gokarm says:

Now that I look at it, MOST comics are quite depressing. Funky Winkerbean, Doonsbury, Momma, Opus (my favorite), Pearls before Swine, Non Sequiter, peanuts, For Better or Worse (the daughter liz is getting married early so her dying grandfather can attend, hopefully)…That said, I quite agree with your list, though charlie brown IS quite an oversite…particularly when you included ziggy…blows my mind, I have trouble thinking of any NON-depressed or depressing comic strips besides dick tracy. I’m depressed now.

Okay, you’ve mentioned five comics that do have their depressing sides, and while people have mentioned Charlie Brown (a character that was as depressed as his creator), what about Born Loser? This was a guy who could never catch a break and, unlike Andy Capp and the Lockhorns, he was too nice of a guy to get into domestic abuse (even when his family deserved it).

Funky Winkerbean and For Better or For Worse I tend not to count simply because they have depressing moments (just like in real life), but they back away from that and return to comedy now and again. Funky much less so than For Better….

And kudos to the people who mentioned Curtis. I actually got to meet Ray Billingsley and got a lot of insight into the comic strip and how hard it is to get a book published. And while some people don’t like Beetle Bailey, they did make the one character in the strip apologize for being sexist, and the guy is still doing his thing with the strip (and I have the autograph to prove it).

Keep in mind that this is all fodder for my PhD (not kidding), so I wish I had run across this sooner.

I loved Bloom County as a child and didn’t quite get into Calvin and Hobbes because I would miss too many strips to get what was going on, but I think Bloom County should’ve gotten an honorable mention for the most depressing ending to a strip.

And since both Cathy and Jon have significant others, that should’ve bumped both of them down a peg for being less depressing than they used to be.

And hello, Cory. There’s a long shot that you’ll actually read this, but I’m always going to be interested in posts dealing with comic strips or cartoons, so good job on this list. I just wish it had been longer.

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