The step from Beetle Bailey to Hi and Lois is a natural one, as Lois is actually Beetle's sister. That's right: Hi and Lois, which has run since 1954, is a spin-off strip. And like Beetle, the damn thing just keeps going and going and going.
Unfortunately, this comic has inspired dozens, if not hundreds, of other comics, and the basic situation of a suburban family with two to four kids, a dog, and humorous neighbours has taken over the comics page to such an extent that any strip not involving some sort of family is seen as dangerously different. Sure, we get variants now--single mothers, single fathers, and so on--but the base story is the same. There's usually a sullen teenager and at least one bratty and/or precocious elementary-school kid. If there are two parents and the mother works, she does something suitably feminine (Lois Flagston is a real-estate agent; that's about as high-powered as a woman stuck in the 1950s is ever allowed to be). The wife is rather more clever than her husband, who is a bit of a goof and has to be told almost constantly what to do.
Dear Syndicates: Could we have some new situations? Please? I know not everyone can identify with, say, the story of an air-traffic controller who talks to dead people,* but frankly, I can't identify with the hideous suburban nightmare in which Hi, Lois, and their eternally unaging children seem to be trapped forever. Do we always have to identify exactly with the situations in comics? Some people like reading about new things. Give us air-traffic-controlling psychics or give us death!
This particular comic is such a soul-deadening take on a creaky, ancient joke, played out by two people too bored by their own lives to move at all between panel one and panel two,** that I like to imagine it taking place in Purgatory. Repent, sinners.
P.S.: I may have cheated a bit on the grammar in panel 2, but I did check, and "doth" is a legitimate imperative. So there. And yes, I added a comma. It looks damn stupid without that comma. Maybe I have ruined the joke, but really: what joke?
*Yes, I made this situation up just now. You can probably tell.
**And using speech bubbles of completely inappropriate size. The laziness makes me cringe. I mean, seriously: I couldn't find a bigger version of this comic anywhere, and yet I got away with using 11-point font, even though my Middle English sentences are much longer than the brief, enervated originals. In that second panel, the letterer hasn't even bothered to centre Hi's text. Good. Lord.