In the simultaneously overcomplicated and unambitious world of Pet Force (which takes place in a comic book in Garfield’s world), there’s a parallel dimension ruled over by Emperor Jon Arbuckle (Garfield’s owner) and protected by the Pet Force. Peace is being threatened by Vetvix, the parallel universe’s version of Liz, the veterinarian that Jon has been sexually harassing for years.
Garfield becomes super-strong Garzooka, Odie turns into the also super-strong Odious, Arlene becomes Starlena and gains singing powers, Nermal gets freezing and forcefield powers as Abnermal, and Pookie becomes a cyborg teddy bear called Compooky. If Jim Davis molested a can of alphabet soup, its subsequent testimony would spell out the plot to Garfield’s Pet Force.
Despite being an idea that would seem like a stretch for a piece of fanfiction, the saga of Garfield’s Pet Force unfolded over the course of six goddamn novels. Not comics – novels. And it played the premise much more seriously than it deserved, sometimes going to legitimately dark places.
The last book was published in 1999, and the casual reader would have been justified in thinking that Jim Davis had sobered up and moved on. But no, in 2009 Pet Force came screaming back to hideous life in the form of a feature-length CGI movie that, despite being distributed by 20th Century Fox, looked like a cutscene from a mid-90s PlayStation game.
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s dressing room is literally a bedroom, albeit a very small one. The kinetic 28-year-old star and composer of In the Heights, the new pan-Latino pop opera that celebrates the Inwood-Washington Heights neighborhood Mr. Miranda grew up in, has outfitted his room at stage right like an 8-year-old boy’s, with items that speak to his own affinities, not his characters’. There are Transformers sheets for the bunk bed that’s above his dressing table, a television set and PlayStation 2, and a G.I. Joe Cobra Commander poster on the door. The stuffed monkey next to his pillow isn’t a transitional object, he said. It’s a prize from a claw machine in Times Square. “I’m only good at two things,” Mr. Miranda said, “writing music and the claw. And I’m unbelievably good at the claw.” He proffered his guest book, which has been signed by his parents, his grammar school music teacher and his director, Thomas Kail, who wrote, “You are all hype.”
Besides the bunk bed, the other notable feature of this closetlike room is its grass cloth walls, put there, as the bed was, for Joel Grey when he played Amos Hart in Chicago in 1996.
She [Marlene] is brave, beautiful, loyal, kind and generous. She is never boring and is as lovely looking in the morning in a G.I. shirt, pants and combat boots as she is at night or on the screen. She has an honesty and a comic and tragic sense of life that never let her be truly happy unless she loves… If she had nothing more than her voice she could break your heart with it. But she has that beautiful body and the timeless loveliness of her face. It makes no difference how she breaks your heart if she is there to mend it.