It is more than a little surprising to see Leroy playing chess, although I can't think of a specific example offhand, I'm fairly sure Loretta made jokes in the past about Leroy not having the intellectual acumen to even play it let alone be engaged in marathon strategic duels with Kasparov-esque looking gentlemen in tan colored voids. Undeterred by Leroy's sudden, uncharacteristic, display of culture and intelligence, Loretta still manages to trash his skills. Loretta goes up 1-0.
On the surface Loretta is obviously joking that Leroy is so lazy about his daily "To Do" list obligations that they might as well take the rest of his lift to accomplish. On another level, I just think she wants Leroy to be terminally ill. In defense of Leroy, it's hard to knock off items on a "To Do" list when they are written in invisible ink. Loretta still manages to get her zinger in within earshot of Leroy and takes a controlling 2-0 lead.
I sort of feel like I've walked into bizarro world version of the Lockhorns. Leroy has masterfully managed to switch roles with Loretta and is gabbing about and insulting Loretta over the phone with his BFF, Herb. On top of getting a solid burn on Loretta, it seems that she has totally obliged Leroy's birthday request for "peace and quiet" by storming out of the house. What a happy birthday indeed. Leroy stays alive with the point, it's still 2-1 Loretta.
Nearly a full month into the new year and we finally get our first cameo by Loretta's Victorian era mother; always a treat. I do particularly love it when Leroy essentially calls Loretta's living fossil of a mother a bitch, especially right in front of her. While this brazen act all but assures Leroy the worst car ride of all time, it was more than worth it for the insult and the points. Leroy climbs back up to even things at 2.
Once again, Leroy puts together a mad comeback effort that ultimately falls short in the final panel. This time, Loretta makes her last stand at the old marriage counselor's office. Calling Leroy childish and immature is not the most devastating of disses but it certainly gets the job done. She even opted for the classic backhanded compliment; basically her version of the "Skyhook". Loretta takes another close Sunday Showdown, 3-2.
The sight of Loretta's euphoric expression as she fondles what appears to be her right foot (or possibly a large ear of corn) is a bit too close to a scene from a foot fetish video for my liking. Judging by Leroy's completely disgusted reaction, he wholeheartedly agrees. Although the TSA's passenger screening methods have come under heavy criticism as of late, I think the security official's suspicion here is quite justified. Can you imagine the amount of explosive materials that could be smuggled in via the Lockhorns' massive clodhoppers? Scary. Loretta gets the point for grossing everybody out.
Poor Leroy really can't catch a break. Going by his angry, hurried appearance, it seems he has gotten the Lockhorns kicked out of another party; but this time over some sort of misunderstanding involving children and spelling. We all normally expect Leroy to have been abruptly booted from a shindig for insulting others or getting into heated exchanges or making a drunken ass of himself, but getting punted for pulling a Dan Quayle seems pretty weak. I'm going to assume he got into a stubborn argument with the kid and punched him/her. Loretta take advantage of the situation, like she always does, and finds herself up 2-0.
I'm not totally sure about the joke in this panel. I think the punchline is that Loretta's terrible cooking left such a foul impression on the resort the previous time that now they want a double deposit by the Lockhorns. There is also the possibility that Leroy is over exaggerating to mock Loretta's cooking. Either way I'm pretty sure Loretta is the victim here, so I'm going to give the point to Leroy. Loretta is still ahead 2-1.
I would have also accepted a response by Leroy stating Loretta is living increasingly "foot to mouth". Leroy's clever jab at Loretta's excessive hand phone use may take a far darker turn if the Lockhorns' mounting debts (mostly accumulated by Loretta) begin to really overwhelm them and they are actually forced to live an increasingly "hand to mouth" existence. Another amazing Sunday comeback by Leroy ties it at 2, but can he finally finish one out?
To Leroy's defense it's hard not too come off as a constantly leering creep when your height always puts you at boob level with all the bimbos of the world. Speaking of boobs, the fact that Leroy's nose is about as big as our featured buxom bimbo's entire chest is quite disturbing; even more disturbing than her freakishly thin ankles that thin out to the point of nothingness. Of course where there's bimbo ogling there is an angry Loretta with a point, and she manages to end this Sunday Showdown happily ever after with another close 3-2 win.
It seems that after countless years of conflicts with the IRS over their returns, the Lockhorns are turning to some actual tax professionals for help (although how much confidence can one get from a firm called "H&R Blockhead"; personally I would've gone with Tax Masters). The Lockhorns' bespectacled tax expert does manage to give the Lockhorns some useful advice, namely not to factor in their insults when filling out their returns. Will these new developments help the Lockhorns avoid another half dozen awkward trips to the IRS office this year? Doubtful. However there is no ambiguity about Loretta's solid score to start off this showdown, 1-0.
Classic Loretta: simple, elegant, and mean. Leroy can only dream of putting together swift insults like this (his is more of the, still quite effective, brute force approach). Loretta wastes no time in putting together a devastating one-two combination, going for both Leroy's advancing age and declining physique. Even the weird, white void they're standing in sort of goes along with the clean, surgical efficiency of Loretta's zinger. Loretta takes control 2-0.
Facing a two points to none deficit and just coming off a straight execution style loss, Leroy circles the wagons by turning to his most trusted standby: Loretta's cooking. It would also appear from Loretta's serving of "steak", seemingly two charred pancakes that Leroy has to eat with a spoon, that she is more than willing to help Leroy get back in the game. Loretta has often shown in previous showdowns a tendency to dominate early but then struggle to close things out. Leroy cuts the lead down to 2-1.
To my memory, this is the first time I have seen the Lockhorns actually attending church. I have to admit, the sight of Leroy and Loretta coming back from their sermon with matching tan bibles in hands is a a bit jarring (I also for some reason thought they were Jewish). Despite the startling change in surroundings, it's comforting to know that the Lockhorns are still their usual miserable selves even at Sunday services. Loretta nags incessantly and Leroy mocks her for her incessant nagging. Leroy ties it up 2-2.
In continuing with the sudden religious direction of this showdown, Loretta paraphrases a famous bible verse (possibly the topic of the last panel's Sunday service?) to diss on Leroy's boring fishing tales in front of their depressed, dead-eyed, friends. Leroy really must be a terrible raconteur as the whole room looks like a suicide risk. With that last panel effort, Loretta manages to save herself from a biblical comeback victory from Leroy and takes the day, 3-2.
Call me crazy, but I would classify Leroy's wild party behavior to be a bit more outrageous than mere clowning around, but I suppose Leroy's high school isn't likely to give out an award for "Most Out-Of-Control Binge Drinker" in his honor. Since Loretta really has her pick of the litter when the lampshade makes its inevitable appearance, I expected something a bit more cutting; but in the end a simple layup and a thunderous slam dunk are worth the same in the end. Loretta goes up 1-0.
When I first scanned over this panel, I thought it originally had Loretta telling the doctor that he wouldn't find anything in Leroy (I guess it would be in reference to his head or heart), but I guess this one works too. I wonder what sort of ailments and maladies was Loretta so confident that Leroy had? Knowing Loretta she probably had some hand in actually causing them. Loretta takes control with a 2-0 lead.
Leroy's sharp jab works on two levels: first, it could be a dig at how Loretta cakes on so much makeup that she resembles a camouflaged commando ready to storm a fort or, second, Leroy could just be saying that Loretta is so hideous that she is some sort of fort attacking monster. It all works well either way. I assume that Loretta is subtly wiping a sad tear from her eye after that one. Well played Leroy, 2-1.
Why would any couple ever go to either Lockhorn for advice on a happy marriage? When have the Lockhorns ever projected any indication that they were the least bit happy or content with each other or even themselves? Are these young lovers just intentionally goading Leroy into going off on a rant about the horrors of marriage for their own sick pleasure? Are they just blind? In any case, Leroy should watch out, it look like Loretta is dead set on smashing those mugs of hot coffee in his face. A furious comeback by Leroy ties it up at 2.
What should have been a thrilling last panel win for Loretta now gets downgraded to a anticlimactic tie. So disappointing. Everything is here for a classic: a sardonic Loretta, the clever insult, the dead eyed friend as an audience; all except Leroy. If only Loretta could have waited for Leroy to wander into the room or have come within a visible distance. Unfortunately the "presence rule" is clear "no other Lockhorn no insult". A swell effort but the day ends in a push.
Loretta kicks off the first Sunday Showdown of the year with a devastating critique of Leroy's nonexistent fashion sense. With such a patently ridiculous ensemble, there was no doubt that it would be a slam dunk for Loretta. The only real question was what route she was going to take in mocking Leroy's attire. While she went with the "only a crazy person would dress like that" path, she could have also gone with mocking the loudness of the colors or the outdatedness of the styles, to name a few options. Loretta goes up 1-0.
I'm pretty tempted to give Leroy the point here since it looks like Loretta's stunned realization that she almost agreed with him is about to give her a massive fatal aneurysm. If there was ever a way to earn a point, shocking the other Lockhorn to death would be one. However, I'm going to give Loretta the benefit of the doubt that she is exaggerating her reaction even more to insult Leroy. Although that sort of blank terror is pretty hard to fake. Loretta takes a commanding 2-0 lead.
I'm not quite sure if this poster for the surname-less Tommy "The Kid" is for a boxing movie or a boxing match. Either way, it's impressive how Leroy can work any random prop into another, Loretta annoying, jab at the institution of marriage. I wonder if there is any truth to Leroy's statement and some correlation exists between singledom and boxing success. There is still the long running belief in boxing that one shouldn't have sex during training. Leroy closes in 2-1.
Instead of building upon the momentum of his victory in the third panel, Leroy squanders his chance at a comeback by breaking out a totally lame joke about the high cost of gasoline. If he wants to finally claim a year for himself, he really has cut down on these missed opportunities. Besides, when was "price changer at a gas station" ever a real job? Is there any gas station in existence that requires someone to specifically just change the prices? Push, Loretta still leads 2-1.
Ever the ice cold closer, Loretta drives the nail in the coffin with a solid dig at Leroy's sedentary, couch potato, lifestyle. I really enjoyed this insult, it hit all the right notes with the image of Leroy planning his entire day around the detailed TV listings of the TV Guide being oddly plausible and suitably pathetic. Maybe Leroy really should get a day planner, if today was indicative of the kind of sloppy effort he's going to give all year, he'll need to start getting things in order quick. Loretta takes the point and the day with a 3-1 win.