Why The Post pulled “Get Fuzzy”


Fuzzy
November 5, 2013

“Have the ferrets gotten to you?”

So wondered one of the many “Get Fuzzy” fans lamenting the comic strip’s removal from The Washington Post’s funny pages. By the time I came in to work Tuesday morning, others had left a few choice words for whichever idiot made the decision to drop “Get Fuzzy.”

So, the main idiot involved thought she’d try to explain.

First, and unsurprisingly for fans of a wordplay-loving strip, you’re an articulate bunch. And many of you lamented our bypassing the “zombie” strips — reruns of classics such as “Peanuts” — for “Fuzzy.” “It’s especially irksome that you would axe one of the best-drawn & -written strips when you allow so many utterly indefensible Bland-X nothing strips to live on and on,” wrote one of the more thoughtful e-mails.

Second, you wondered about the alleged “poll” that showed that “Fuzzy” had dropped in popularity. Poll? What poll? I wasn’t polled! was the main sentiment.

Third, why “Fuzzy” instead of, [your loathed entry here]?

So, herewith, my attempt at synopsizing the many strands that went into the “Fuzzy” decision:

At this point, “Fuzzy” seems to be entering a zombie territory all its own. Out of the past 44 weeks up until we dropped it, 27 had been reruns.

These are not reruns such as “Classic Peanuts” (a frequent target of ire but in the top five of daily and Sunday readership in our poll). This is the equivalent of paying a lot of money to watch “Friends” on HBO. That doesn’t seem right when there are new cartoonists eager for a spot on the page. “Get Fuzzy” is a very pricey strip.

As for that accursed poll, it was conducted by our Research and Analytics department in September as an online invitation to print subscribers. There were 813 responses, and it was as much of a representative sampling as we could get. And in that poll, “Fuzzy” dropped a full 10 points in popularity from the year before.

“But polls aren’t everything!” many cry. This is true. If polls were everything, we would have chosen from the lowest-rated comics. But those tend to be newer strips that haven’t had as many years as “Fuzzy” had to establish themselves, or reflect a needed diversity. “Fuzzy” was definitely in the bottom 10 of our daily readership.

In many ways, I feel your pain, “Fuzzy” fans. While not sold at first, “Fuzzy” grew on me. And when I got a dog, it grew on me some more. But I don’t get to include the strips that are my favorites (I will forever mourn the loss of “Zippy the Pinhead”), and I countenance strips I wish we’d drop (looking at you, “Beetle Bailey”) because they’re hugely popular. I have but one vote in these matters, although in this particular case, this was my bad, if you’re a “Fuzzy” fan, or my good call, if you’re some of the others I’ve heard from. And remember, “Get Fuzzy” is still at your fingertips on washingtonpost.com.

Thank you all for your feedback, even those who expressed themselves with more Bucky than Satchel in their hearts.

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