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U.S. Acres was a strip created by Jim Davis, far better known for his role as the creator of Garfield.
The strip centralized on a cast of Talking Animals who lived together on an unnamed farm:
- Orson, a pig with an overactive imagination and fondness for books
- Roy, a prankster rooster
- Booker, a yellow chick
- Sheldon, a partially-hatched chick
- Wade, a paranoid duck who is afraid of everything
- Lanolin, a really mean sheep
- Bo, her really kind (but not too smart) brother
- Cody and Blue, a cat and dog, respectively
While the strip lasted for three years (1986-1989), it is perhaps better-known in its Animated Adaptation in the form of Garfield and Friends. There, it existed for seven years as the "B" in that series's A-B-A format -- that's right, the animated version lasted more than twice as long as the strip did!
Also known as "Orson's Farm" outside the US.
Tropes present in the strip:
- Acrophobic Bird: Wade.
- Adults Are Useless: ...and so are all other humans. The only humans who appear in the strip are a farmer and his daughter, who picks up a young Orson. They are only seen from the waist down, and never appear again afterward.
- Art Evolution: The art goes from round and cutesy to very loose and frenetic, a radical departure from Garfield either way.
- Ascended Extra: Brett Koth gained a co-writer's credit in the strip's last couple years, even though he did no more work on the strip than he had in Garfield at that point.
- Brand X: Orson is driven off in a "Furd" truck.
- Catching Some Zs: Yes, they look like they do in Garfield, and yes, they also play with them sometimes.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Cody and Blue mysteriously disappear sometime around the strip's final year. Perhaps done in order to avoid comparisons to Jim Davis's more famous cat and dog.
- Closer to Earth: Booker and Sheldon in the later strips.
- Clown Car Base: Sheldon's eggshell.
- Contest Winner Cameo: The contest instigated here, and the winning submission was "Max, the Skateboarding Bird". He only lasted one week, but he seemed to be intended as a recurring character.
- Cowardly Lion: Wade, who's afraid of everything.
- Debut Queue: The entire cast was introduced one at a time, starting with Orson, followed by Roy, then Booker and Sheldon, then Wade, then Bo and Lanolin, and finally Cody and Blue.
- Disembodied Eyebrows: Wade.
- Down on the Farm: Played straight. Jim Davis is from just outside of Muncie, Indiana.
- Duck: Occurs in this strip.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Bo and Lanolin appear to offer a one-liner in a Sunday comic long before their "official" introduction.
- Eggshell Clothing: Sheldon
- Evil Roy
- Expressive Accessory: The duck head on Wade's innertube, which looks exactly like his actual face and often mirrors the expression on his actual face.
- Frivolous Lawsuit: When Orson read the tale of Goldilocks and the three bears and asked if any of the listeners knew what she did after trying the too hot and the too cold bowls of porridge, Lanolin suggested she sued the bears.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: When Orson explains to Booker that he's named that because he loves books, his response is "I'm just glad you don't love kumquats". While this was probably just a use of Inherently Funny Words, Fundamentally Funny Fruit, or both, he may have been implying his name would be "Kummer". Say that out loud.
- Hartman Hips: Parodied here when a female worm who only has eyelashes eats a peanut and gains the appearance of having broad shoulders and hips.
- Head Desk: Booker's reaction here when he realises he'd been tricked by a worm.
- Her Codename Was Mary Sue: Orson sometimes played the role of "Power Pig."
- Hypno Fool: Wade gets hypnotized to calm his fears and Hilarity Ensues when the hypnotism ends up performing a total 180° on his personality.
- I Know You Know I Know:
Wade: Who's in there?
Max: You don't know me.
Wade: Are you sure I don't know you?
Max: I don't know.
Wade: You don't know what?
Max: I don't know that you don't know that you know me.
Wade: But how do I know that?!?
- Instant Cosplay Surprise: Done on Roy here.
- Insult Backfire: Roy Rooster decided it was time for Booker to start rooster training.
Roy: Okay, Booker. It's time you started rooster training.
Roy: Because you need to practice if you want to be like me.
Booker: I'd rather drink pond scum!
Roy: Good! You've got the Obnoxious part down!
- Imagine Spot: Two concerning Sheldon's future.
- Jerkass: Roy and Lanolin, both of whom often tried to one-up the other.
- Market-Based Title: The strip was known as Orson's Farm outside the U.S.
- Meaningful Name: Orson gave Booker that name because he (Orson) likes to read. Lanolin is named for a type of wax secreted by sheep.
- And Sheldon is called Sheldon because he's just an egg shell with legs.
- Mr. Imagination: Orson.
- No Fourth Wall: After passing a sign reading "The end is near," Orson smacks into the end of the (truncated) last panel. This strip also addresses the strip's end quite literally.
- The whole last week and final Sunday comic were about the strip ending in one way or another.
- OOC Is Serious Business: In the strips final week, Wade finally conquers is fear of everything, which causes Orson, Roy, and Booker to run off screaming.
- Portable Hole: Booker ripped one from the ground so the worm he was chasing would be stuck underground.
- Punny Name: U.S. Acres was supposed to be a pun on "U.S.A."
- Shout-Out: The Animated Adaptation is directly addressed in this strip.
- Also, Binky the Clown makes a cameo in a thought balloon in one strip.
- Shown Their Work: Orson is abandoned at the beginning of the strip's life because he's the runt, just like pigs do in real life.
- Sneeze of Doom: Occurs here.
- Sphere Eyes
- Spit Take: March 22, 1989, and again on April 2.
- Spy Speak: Bo takes it literally.
- Talking Animal: Unlike in Garfield, the cast of U.S. Acres actually talks. (This might also be the reason for why Cody and Blue weren't in the cartoon.)
- Team Mom (occasionally a Team Dad): Orson.
- That's All Folks: The last strip.
- Too Dumb to Live: Bo.
- You Wouldn't Hit a Guy with Glasses: A worm invoked the trope to avoid a beating from Booker. Booker was initially proud to have shown "chickens do have hearts" but later banged his head on a tree out of frustration once he remembered "worms don't have eyes".
- Your Head Asplode: June 9, 1987.
- Your Mom: One strip featured Booker plugging a hole and then yelling that the worm's mother was a garden hose. When the worm tried to return to the surface, it hit the head on the cork.
- A later strip had a worm telling Booker his mother swam after garbage scows. Guess what Booker's "Mom", Orson, was ready to do at the end of the strip?
- Feeling bored, Wade told Cody his mother had fleas so Cody would chase him away.