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in 500 words or less

Updated: 2018-03-06T03:09:17.905-06:00


My Thoughts on the Marmaduke Movie; or, My Life in the Bush of Marmaduke; or, How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Hating Marmaduke


To paraphrase Stephen Sondheim: Hollywood used to be a breeding ground; now it is a receptacle.

Sondheim was originally talking about Broadway. At least I think he was; I can’t find any proof that he actually ever said that. Whatever, it’s a good quote. Broadway, formerly a bastion of American artistic innovation, is currently the home of Legally Blonde 2: The Musical 2, the sequel to a musical based on the film Legally Blonde 2.

Look what movies are coming out this summer: Sex and the City 2 (sequel to a movie based on a TV show based on a book based on newspaper articles), Iron Man 2 (sequel to a movie based on a 2nd-tier comic book), Jonah Hex (based on a 5th-tier comic book), The A-Team (based on a campy 80s TV action show), Macgruber (based on a series of TV comedy skits based on a campy 80s TV action show) Robin Hood (beyond being basically a Bible story in terms of freshness, it’s also for all intents and purposes a sequel to the film Gladiator), Step Up 3D (sequel to a sequel… in 3D!), Toy Story 3 (sequel to a sequel… in 3D!), Shrek Forever (sequel to the sequel to the sequel to a movie based on fairy tales and fart jokes), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (based on the sequel to a computer game), The Karate Kid (remake of an 80s movie that spawned several sequels, starring the sequel to Will Smith), Ramona and Beezuz (based on children’s books which have already inspired filmic adaptations), The Last Airbender (based on an animated TV series), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (based on a graphic novel), Nanny McPhee Returns (sequel to a movie based on a series of books), Piranha 3D (remake of a movie that was based on ripping off Jaws), Predators (you know, like the movie Predator, but plural!), Dinner for Schmucks (remake of a French film from a decade ago), Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (sequel to a movie called Cats and Dogs that I’d never heard of until I Googled it so I could write this). That’s not counting films whose plots are just lazy retreads of previous films. And that’s also not counting the Marmaduke movie.

I will say this right now: if there exists a finer metaphor for the creative bankruptcy of the Hollywood film system than a movie based on a half-century old comic strip that has been recycling the same five gags since blacks and whites had separate drinking fountains, I cannot imagine it.

I will also say this: I wish people would stop asking me about it.

Click these words to read the rest of this post.

A bright and shiny future


Thanks in part to Hollywood's refusal to pass up a terrible, terrible idea (see previous post), this is shaping up to be a busy year for me. I've got a couple of announcements I'm not quite ready to announce yet, but in the meantime didja notice the slick new layout we put together for the new Marmaduke Explained archives over at It's now much easier to navigate, and I'm working towards getting the previous installments posted there as well. Can't you already feel how much life is already improved? Food tastes better, music sounds better, laughter comes from the heart.

If you've got some perverse loyalty to (who, to be fair, have been very very good to me) and have yet to check out the new stuff, you're missing scads of important water cooler moments such as

"Marmaduke is afraid of vacuum cleaners because he is a dog and all dogs are afraid of vacuum cleaners"


"Marmaduke expressed his anal glands on some throw pillows to indicate which couch his owner-couple should purchase"


"Marmaduke is cosplaying as Natasha Henstridge's character in Species"


"Marmaduke writer/creator Brad Anderson is like totally tripping"


an emo joke at least four years past its expiration date.

I draw cartoons, too - yellow ones about dating and green ones about everything except dating. Why yes, they ARE highly derivative of the Far Side! Thank you for noticing.

The future: so bright it stings.

20th Century Fox Film Corporation is an asshole



Hit me with all you've got, Owen Wilson. I will keep fighting the good fight.

This bears mentioning


I'm still explaining Marmaduke, quite regularly. Today this happened and I figured I ought to share.

Here's a link to the new Marmaduke Explained archive again, and here's a way to find a lot of the other stuff I'm writing at Also you can just google "Joe Mathlete" any old time you want and see what pops up. I've done it before, it's neat. You should try it with your own name, too.

Marmaduke Explained running every Monday Wednesday and Friday


For the time being at least. On, a website on the internet. Check 'em out at; if you click on the tag ("Marmaduke Explained") on any given post you can get to all the previous ones pretty easily.

I've only been doing them a few weeks there and already I've hit my first "just a bunch of all-caps swearing at Brad Anderson" wall. C'est la 'duke.

Marmaduke Explained lives.


Lookit lookit lookit the first post over here at I'm totally doing these on a regular basis again. They've got RSS feeds and other web two point oh things I honest to god still don't understand, if that makes it easier on you. Also, like I said in my last post I'm writing other stuff (this week is Funniest British and/or Jewish Comedy and/or Music Trios Week, for some reason. I'm also reviewing The Godfather Part III - again, for some reason).

I'm probably one step closer to getting sued. Break out the champagne! - a few words about a thing/future of Marmaduke Explained



I'm writing for a new website, like on an everyday-type basis. It's called and it's based out of Houston, my hometown. They've got most of my stuff in the "Time Suck" section, on account it's SO ADDICTIVE IT LITERALLY SUCKS AWAY YOUR SPARE TIME LIKE A VAMPIRE. So far it's a couple of crudely-drawn comic strips, "Sauce Policy" and "Dating is Hard," as well as a work in a similar vein to my Great American Blog stuff. Some highlights:

Now: I know a lot of you never cared too much about the other stuff I've done, and that's cool; I always thought it was silly when the host on SNL wanted to sing a song, regardless of their background or interests or whatever. I mention this here rather than on my other blog for three reasons:

1. It stands to reason this blog just gets more traffic, even when it hasn't been updated in forever (which is often lately)
2. I did mention it on my other blog, in more depth
3. Starting sometime in the next few weeks, I will be doing Joe Mathlete Explains Today's Marmaduke on 29-95 on a regular basis OH SNAP ASHTON!

Still working out some specifics, but yes, after over a year I will be back on a regular schedule explaining Marmaduke. Stay "tuned" for more information; I'll let you know what I know when I know it. For now, if you'd like to read some more in-depth thoughts about the new site, please read 'em here.


Joe Mathlete


Marmaduke's owner-man can justify it however he wants, but there is only one explanation: he lets Marmaduke dig because he is a big pussy.


Marmaduke tipped a cab driver with a bone. But presumably he paid the actual fare with cash, which honestly seems much weirder to me...

Sometimes I find myself thinking about these things for too long and it's never good for my health.


(image) Marmaduke creator Brad Anderson has a dim awareness that something significant is going on in the news lately with economics, and he might as well try to write a comic strip about it.


(image) Marmaduke is so big and humongous, it would take a whole entire tow truck just to pull him off the sofa!


Marmaduke is about to sodomize a banker into signing his owner-man's loan papers.

And yes, before I get any emails, Marmaduke will probably eat the banker after he sodomizes him. What else would he do?


Marmaduke vomited the contents of a child's toybox and a couple of femurs onto an old lady.


Taaaaaaaake... Onnnnnn... Meeeeeee...


Marmaduke is yellow on Sundays and brown the rest of the week.

(I don't read the Sunday Marmadukes very often, and with good reason. I don't know what it is but the dialogue reads like it was translated from some another language. A CONFLICT OVER WHO IS THE BOSS isn't exactly A WINNER IS YOU or ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US, but I think a copyeditor couldn't hurt here. Also maybe somebody to come up with a joke every now and then.)


Marmaduke is dirty and neither his owner-man nor his owner-lady wants to wash him, both preferring to wash their minivan instead. As I personally would rather wash a car than any large dog, and as this scenario thusly seems to amount to little more than a mundane slice of life, I am concluding that today's Marmaduke has been ghostwritten by American Splendor creator Harvey Pekar, slumming it and floundering accordingly.


Marmaduke is colored by a lazy hack.

And, for that matter, written by a lazy hack.

And drawn by what appears to me to be a rotating team of lazy hacks.

Let me start over: Marmaduke is colored by an industry professional performing at precisely the appropriate level his assignment calls for.


Marmaduke broke his owner-family's heater in order to lure them into his cozy rapecabin (like a doghouse but with a chimney, and rape).


Marmaduke misses his testicles.


1. Marmaduke has been given a pet frog, despite being a pet himself.
2. Marmaduke takes this pet frog on walks, complete with tiny collar and leash.
3. These walks are conducted when Marmaduke himself is taken for a walk (by his owner-man).
4. As a frog travels via hopping (rather than walking), Marmaduke is seen hopping (rather than walking) during this particular walk/hop, most likely to mimic his pet's movement rather than out of necessity.
5. Marmaduke's owner-man is seen hopping as well, despite the fact that such hopping is embarrassing (explicitly) and unnecessary/inconvenient (implicitly).
6. Marmaduke is now published in color, even on weekdays.

All of this is absurd.


Marmaduke has passed out from huffing a carbon monoxide leak.


Sperm joke.


Marmaduke is dead.


Marmaduke's owner-man offers up a fatalistic zen-like aphorism on the futility of 21st century life that doubles as an explanation of his huge stupid dog's behavior.


Marmaduke is bi-curious. And not the least bit shy about it.