Not having grown up reading Goofus and Gallant in Highlights for Children, Mike Potemra asks a key question on The Corner:
Did American children actually admire Gallant and seek to emulate his behavior, or did they view him as an insufferable priss?
Insufferable priss, readers respond. A “socially conservative Evangelical Christian” writes that he and his daughter enjoyed laughing together at Gallant’s prissiness.
We still occasionally use it as a joking touchstone for over the top goody two shoeing.
Another compared Gallant to John Edwards:
As I remember it, both Goofus and Gallant were annoying. Goofus may have existed only for Gallant to correct, but at least he was funny sometimes. Gallant was, as you put it, insufferable. Think John Edwards minus the philandering and failed presidential bids.
Potemra links to a Goofus and Gallant parody at Yankee Pot Roast that takes them into their dating years.
At the restaurant: Goofus generously encourages his date to Biggie Size it. Gallant orders in fluent French and flirts with the waiter. At the movie: Goofus provides color commentary for the hard-of-hearing while trying to slide his hand down the back of his date’s pants. Gallant makes catty remarks about the characters’ outfits.
I was an avid Highlights for Children reader in my youth. I liked everything — except for Goofus and Gallant. Poor Goofus never caught a break. And Gallant . . . Whoever created the character must have missed the point of the odious half-brother Sid in Tom Sawyer.