I used to be a fan of Garfield. I thought it was a funny strip, and a funny Saturday morning cartoon. Unfortunately, over the years my enjoyment of this comic strip has waned. How Jim Davis can take these two-dimensional characters and somehow make them one-dimensional is beyond me, but he does it everyday. I'm not exactly sure when Garfield "jumped the shark", or even if such a thing is possible with a comic strip. Maybe it is when his cartoon voice, Lorenzo Music, passed away. Maybe it is when Garfield went CGI in his two atrocious motion pictures. At any rate, it is now almost impossible to enjoy Garfield in it's current form.
The problem is, Garfield has been completely explored at this point. Everybody knows that Garfield loves lasagna just as much as he hates Mondays. He refuses to chase mice, but he enjoys killing spiders. Jon is a lovable loser, and Odie is dumb. This ground has been covered umpteen million times, and there is just nothing new under the sun. Garfield just isn't funny anymore, and drastic steps need to be taken to make it funny.
I'm not the only one with this impression. The folks behind garfield minus garfield take a stab at making Garfield funny. The concept is simple: they simply remove Garfield and his thought balloons from the strip, so basically it is a strip about Jon, Garfield's owner. They actually do a great job of salvaging the strip, although it goes into a creepy direction. Jon comes across as mentally ill and pathetically lonely, which in retrospect isn't that different from the regular Garfield comic.
The Garfield Randomizer is also available for those who want to attempt to make Garfield funny. The concept is simple: Garfield comics make just as much sense, and are just as funny, if you throw random panels together. In fact, sometimes they are even funnier than the original strips.. The original programmer got a cease and desist letter from the Garfield legal team so the original site is gone, but as with anything on the Internet, the "cat" is already out of the bag. Get it? Cat? Garfield? Anyway, he made the code available for people who wanted to try it for themselves.
I created some strips using the original Random Garfield Generator. I think they work just as well as any other Garfield strip.
Of course, you can always create your own Garfield strip at this site. Sure, you only have a few characters and items to choose from (a surprising number of them inexplicably sleep-related), and everyone seems a little too "happy", but you can still play around.
It's obvious that Jim Davis is phoning it in, and if Garfield is to be funny again, it is up to us. Good luck, fellow Garfield humor vigilantes.