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As we know, Lynn used the messed-up camping trip John and Phil went on as a boundary separating the Early and Middle Years of her strip owing to the fact that shortly afterward, Lizzie started attending elementary school. Personally, I think that John and Elly probably justify using September 1986 as a dividing line because they went from a 'young' family just starting out to a more mature family with two children in school and not because a few months earlier, John learned that his brother in law is a walking hazard in the wilds. The reason that I mention this is that this is probably not how Mike and Liz think the dividing line ought to be.

This is because I like to think that when the two of them look back on their childhoods, they refer to things happening either before or after Thelma Baird passed away. It seems to me that when they just happened to start attending school means rather less to them than when it became a reality that they were never going to see this person they knew and liked any longer. It also seems to me that the Elly who wanted Lizzie to stop feeling pain or sorrow because Thelma didn't suffer has no real idea that her children use what she calls a sad miracle as a reference point.
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As we know, Lynn has programmed Elly with her values....the chiefest of which is that weighing more than some arbitrary standard makes you ugly and thus unworthy of love and attention. She'll deny it to the end but the belief that anyone not 'perfect' should just settle for a lonely and unhappy life of isolation and the contempt of their betters is a living thing within the strip. The problem is that Elly seems to have married a man who actually might love her more were more of her to actually love. Based on his agreement with his grandfather's approving comment about what people who subscribe to his fetish call Big Beautiful Women, it might be that John wonders when Elly will stop worrying so much about the outer packaging and love the person inside it.

This is because the poor sap is living in denial as to the fact that Elly simply cannot associate the adverb 'pleasingly' with the adjective 'plump' but insists that any evidence that there are men who get off on the pounds that make her feel less than human is a crazy urban legend that is at war with how people actually think and act. The end result is a life of frustration for both: hers is messed up because she wants to lose pounds to please him and him because she wants to become less lovable.
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As you’re about to see, Annie is about to do something that Lynn considers to be very foolish. Said thing is to ‘sabotage’ herself by not obsessively fixating on every God-damned physical imperfection because the diseased mind writing the strip actually thinks she’s healthy. To a sane person, Anne’s lack of concern about her looks makes her a smarter and healthier person than the maniac tentpole character. To Lynn, this means that she’s shot herself in the foot by stopping worrying endlessly about the sole criterion of her worth as a human being.

This example of vintage morality would be bad enough were we not about to have our noses rubbed in the implication that her audible objection to being married to a shiftless, immature dullard is pretty much why the gormless prick made a lie of their wedding vows. Her Liography has too damned many examples of the goober moaning because his oh-so-fragile ego got bruised by a collision with the reality of his being him and Anne being too damned good for him for us to not get the message that she sort of brought her troubles on herself liking who she was and telling him to get off his lazy ass. 

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Although we’re about six or seven years from actually having to deal with an odd little habit Mike had when first registering for classes, it seems to me that we’re only a year and a half from understanding why. The habit I had in mind was that for the first week or so, Michael made a point of reminding everyone in a position of authority that his last name had two t’s in it instead of just the one. At the time, I’d thought that off-camera, he and the others had had problems with their last name that we never got to see and he was just being careful.

The reason that I mention this is that one of those times seems to me to have been the attention John was attending when Richidjit Velocityaddict came speeding around a bus to T-bone the Yellow Over-Compensation Mobile. As I recall, he had the devil’s own time trying to get a room because the clerks looked at the guest list and assured them that no Patterson, John from Milborough, Ontario was on there. My guess is that the dimwit behind the counter was wondering why Paterson, John, from Millboro, Ontario was a no-show. Somehow, this got back to John and it’s why Mike is running around reminding everyone he meets how he spells his name.

dreadedcandiru2: (Default)

Now, to get back to the fact that Lynn seems to have just plain forgot to give Liz a sleepover of her own despite giving Mike and April one, it seems to me that said affaair would be used for the same purpose the ones Lynn bothered to write: to reinforce a character trait of the birthday girl. In Mike and April’s case, we were reminded that both children have the unhappy tendency to want to test the very narrow limits of the very drab and anticsocial idiots they call parents. (What this means is that having John glower at April and her friends while congratulating himself on being able to do is an amplified version of Elly glowering at the ‘peep’ strip.)

The reason that I mention this is that were twelve-year old Lizardbreath try to twist things around so that her aloof, standoffish nature, blank-eyed inability to pick up on or recognize social norms and sullen resentment of people who clearlt want to “steal” the friends she has are why Elly would have the devil’s own time coming up with a guest list for a slumber party, we’d probably end with the whole thing getting scrubbed because Elly had the same problem for the same reason. This means that the closest the Breath is ever going to have to one of those things is her bridal shower.

This is akin to how the closest thing to the threatened visit by the Cruikshanks in which Saint Laura would spew treacle from her mouth about how lazy, soft, entitled and ungrateful Mike and Lizzie are for not wanting to be lectured all the damned time about how they’re moral monsters for not getting all giddy about the prospect of being at the southbound end of a northbound horse in the comfort of their own home is, of course, the Settlepocalypse…..not, of course, that we got to see that either. Lynn had priorities like having Elly talk about how great it was that Liz took over the wedding like what should happen.

dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
It occurs to me that Lynn's need not to stray too far from the Pattersons had victims who aren't Molly and Gayle. This need she has combines with her need to not have too many side characters in order to force her to eliminate a slot in Mike's social circle to make room for 'love interest.' Said slot happens to be 'other Caucasian male friend' and is named Darryl Smythe.

The reason that I say this is that she did the same thing when she replaced Christopher Nichols with Anthony Caine in that the replacement has similar physical characteristics but was not really the same because of one key difference. Just as Anthony is what would happen if Christopher had eyeglasses, Martha is probably what would happen if Darryl were a girl 'cause they've both got fair hair and freckles and also, Elly doesn't really seem to like them much that I've noticed.
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Now, I think that it's pretty obvious that a horribly distorted body image such as Lynn's cannot exist in full bloom unless it's on a leafy-green background of projecting her belief that really, she is too ugly to deserve love onto the world. This is not only why we have Elly and Liz staring holes in the mirror convinced that they are too hideous to be worthy of the affection they crave, it's also why we have to deal with the very superficial Connie being praised for what Mira is an evil person for wanting WHEN she gets her bowels in an uproar because Dirk Dagger isn't conventionally handsome.

This is rather idiotic because Dirk could, despite his looking like he died ten years ago but came back for his car keys and his lack of interest in talking to older people ginned into hating him by a news media looking for the next great moral panic to scare the rubes with, be a pretty good guy and the best male bargain Molly could hope for. The problem is that raindrop shallow Connie sees ugly grandchildren who are ugly and people blaming her for the ugly children. It's also why Eric pulled much the same shit Howard Erk did but Lizardbreath doesn't want him off the planet because ugly people need to die.
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As we know, Lynn tends to have a rather conservative vision of sex. She clearly seems to believe that it should take place within marriage and be solely for outnumbering purposes. This is why April treats Becky like a cheap tart she cannot really be friends with because, having gone roadside with Jeffo, she's unclean and thus unfit company. It's also why we had to deal with the ridiculous and appalling redemption arc in the Declining Years in which Lizardbreath had to be subjected to one ludicrous trauma after the next in order to purify herself and thus be worthy of Blandthony.

The reason that I mention this is that I just realized something horrible about Molly Thomas. Said horrible thing is that if I'm right about this, we were staring down the barrel of that idiot Connie, her dolt husband Greg and that moron Elly trying to wrap their empty brains around a teen pregnancy arc. It is something of a blessing that the same person who talked Lynn out of having John cheat on Elly with Sue The Librarian seems to have done the same thing with a new audience-alienating premise but it would explain certain things: Molly's otherwise inexplicable absence and Elly's shrieking dread of an 'unplanned' pregnancy that wasn't aimed at stabilizing a marriage.
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Of course, there is a thing I overlooked last time: the very real possibility that the Mike of 2017 is probably cravenly grateful that Elly wanted to save him from Martha back when the vindictive idiot was taking her anger at being a wallflower out on a sitting duck antagonist. The same moron who blurbled witlessly about how a meaningless dalliance that wouldn't have survived past high school is a clear existential threat to his children's very existence (owing to his being the same noodlehead clod who thinks that his mother danced and sang in public with the specific intent of humiliating him) is probably right now being the same sort of punitive, panicky pinhead Elly was every time Meredith expresses interest in a boy.

Mind you, he won't actually come out and make the same fool of himself Elly might have and chanted "TOO FAST!!! TOO FAST!!!!" every time she displayed any hint that she was maturing but he wouldn't have to. He has a smug know-nothing know-it-all wife to simper about how Meredith can't know what love is yet for him. This allows him to have his cake and eat it to because he can be the good guy and the overweening nitwit at the same time.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
The interesting thing about the real Cruikshank family is that they have three daughters. The other interesting fact is that they're much the same age as Kate and Aaron are. This is why whenever Cousin Laura appeared, she seemed to be just a little older than the Patterson child she was calling a clodhopper. What this tells us is that something entertaining is happening that the Patterson family are too dim to realize: Bev and Danny also have three daughters. For the sake of convenience, let's call them Karen, Laura and Melanie. They look similar enough that someone not especially familiar with their family would confuse them with one another and none of the three of them especially loved playing baby-sitter because their idiot uncle from the big city was too big of a girl's blouse to deal with the alleged out-of-control behaviour of his slug-like imbecile offspring.

This led the three of them to formulate a plan to prank the moron city folk; said plan involves their conceit that whatever 'Laura' stuck Foob-sitting is an only child. Since idiot Mike and clueless Liz are almost attentive as their moron parents, the gag is a viable one and since by the time the Martian showed up, Karen and the real Laura had moved elsewhere, it seemed appropriate to just let the idiots from the city go right on being ignorant. It should be noted that John was probably as big an asshole as an older brother as he is a father and husband so it's easy to see why Bev and Danny would get in on the fun. After all, there's nothing farm people love better than putting one over on city folk. The success of the Letters From Wingfield Farms series of plays is testament to that.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
The interesting thing about people like the Pattersons is that like almost everyone, they're a mixture of nature and nurture. While there might be a genetic tendency towards swinishness and envy that hampers them, we have to remember that at some point, one of them must have been exposed to that abomination known as the sore winner.

We've all met up with this nasty anthropoid irritant at some point in our lives and can all attest to having to find a way to deal with the fact that he or she exults not in victory itself but the anguish and self-doubt it inspires in the loser. While most people deal with that sort of nastiness in a constructive manner, the Pattersons seem quite incapable of dealing with negative emotions in a positive way. This leads to a build-up of the envy and jealousy that they're told they can't have because it's a bad thing that makes them bad. The result is acrimony and suffering as innocents become the victims of the emotional equivalent of vandalism.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As we know, Lynn seems to be rather overweeningly proud of regarding a wedding ceremony as simply another great big party and going out of her way to pretty much elope. The ideal, perfect wedding in her mind is what Deanna referred to as the wedding for heart in which only she, Mike, the minister and the Mayeses bore witness to their commitment. The wedding for family and show that they threw as a sop to someone whose opinion should not have mattered worth a photon in a solar wind was seen as a gaudy, vulgar display meant to placate an annoying interference who wanted to marginalize Deanna for the sake of her own vanity and also in order to deny the reality that her dockside wedding to Wilf meant more because fewer irrelevant people who weren't getting married, MOTHER, were around to distract from the centrality of the bride.

Why this might be is something that we've often speculated about but the current arc and Deanna's public wedding hint at the problem. Given that we're to congratulate the Pattersons for saving Georgia from a decorated car and given that the dress Mira wanted Deanna to wear seemed to be designed with the audience in mind first and Deanna never and given that Lynn fears and hates toasting the bride, we can safely draw a conclusion. Said conclusion is that it seems highly likely that Lynn sees most wedding customs as being intentionally designed to humiliate and debase the bride as a means of reinforcing her status as an inferior. Toasting the bride is in Lynn's eyes a means of reminding her that she's dirt under men's heels, filling the car with newspaper is a means of robbing her of her dignity, letting the mother plan things means that the bride is simply property to be traded and so on and so forth. Every little touch most people see as being romantic seems to look to the artist like part of a plot to destroy the bride's reputation in order to keep her chained to the stove or some such prattle.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
The odd thing about this arc is that it's the last arc in which incidental character Darryl Smythe can be said to appear. While he's a face in the crowd when Mike's fifth-grade teacher talks about the grave mistake the school board made of not breaking up a solid group of friends in order to serve what an Elly Patterson might call "expanding my child's family of friends" but actually means "making sure that cliques don't form in order to more effectively control the always chaotic evil monsters we call our children", it seems to me that he might have come in handy later on instead of being consigned to oblivion because Lynn believes she has an excess of characters.

The reason he'd come in handy is that instead of completely ruining Connie and Greg as characters (as opposed to the partial ruin inflicted on her by reacting as if she's some sort of victim because her unrealistic expectations of an instant family collapse) by turning them into angry, bitter jerks because Lawrence turned out gay, she could ruin people we never met before by having DARRYL turn out gay. We don't know the Smythes so they could be ruined and we could also have Connie express her discontent that her son's first marriage ended in a bitter divorce that was totally not the result of her constant interference and talking shit about his wife, AARON!!
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As we all know, there was a week a few years ago right after John and Elly's first kid-free vacation in the Sun that went missing somehow. Lynn made an arch claim that the sled dog died or something and they were forced to show a week of older strips instead of continuing on with John's parents talking about how they thought that a little of him and the others went a very long way.

As I said at the time, I'm convinced that the missing strips might have tried to humanize John to an extent. What would happen is that we'd get Will or Carrie alluding to the fact that their son had a rough go of it as a kid when he first got eyeglasses and it turned him into a defensive, thin-skinned jerk. We'd also get a bit of talking about how Carrie really didn't think all that much of the crazy, short-tempered idiot John married. You can readily see why Lynn didn't mind losing them. On the one hand, we'd have a back-story for John and on the other, another reminder that older people don't like Elly.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
The interesting thing about Candace is that when she first appears in 1989, she looks a Hell of a lot like Paula from first grade. Oh, sure, she's got the goofy teeth of being a yokel but otherwise, she could pretty much be an older version of the irritating little girl boasting to Lizzie about all the stuff her mother lets her wear and not caring overly much when Lizzie tries to explain that Mommy is scared that she's losing her childhood. The next time we see Candace, it's a year and a half later and she's pretty much established herself as sort of an avatar for peer pressure and why it's just awful that some child or some designer have an opinion on what Lizzie should look like when it's obvious as all Hell to Lynn and her followers that only authority figures like mothers who are still angry that they lacked the body and the language and principals whose commentary about air conditioning reveals a hidden prurience who are allowed to decide that sort of thing.

Given the odd similarity between the characters, either one of two things could be happening. The first thing is what eventually happened to April when Lynn wanted to start bleating about how awful it is that children pass through teenaged years and pretty much make her look like Molly Thomaas. In that case, Lynn is simply using dark hair/fashion plate as a sort of shorthand for why it's bad that little children follow the advice of someone who isn't their mother when it comes to what to look like. The second possibility is that she forgot she named the character Paula and wanted to give a tip of the Fooby felt tip to a friend.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As the new creative team like to point out, Archie is a physically awkward and somewhat inattentive young man who gets into an endless number of pointless disasters because he seems to lack an awareness of where his limbs are. Jughead's his best friend in the world and, as I've said, has a small army of people trying to keep the maladroit from committing suicide by stupidity. While the ex-rich kid might tell Arch that he needs ten fingers instead of ten thumbs more than he needs money, what our friend loses sight of is that Archie plays guitar really well because he's allowed to actually use his left hand for once.

That's right. I went there. He impresses me as being an example of a rather common phenomenon: a left-hander who was 'converted' to right handedness at some point in his life. For cultural, religious and (in some places) practical reasons, people are trained to not use their dominant had in order to fit in well in a right-handed world full of conformists. The problem is that every so often, an Archie Andrews is created in the process. What I mean by that is that sometimes, I think that we're dealing with someone whose hidden rebellious side rebels against using the hand he's supposed to use instead of the hand his subconscious tells him to use and acts up by falling on his face.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
The odd thing is that before the trip, John gave off the impression that he was this big, important dude who couldn't be bothered with the odd, baffling demands his family made of him. He could never quite wrap his head around why Elly thought the home he provided her was a stifling trap any more than he could understand why his children didn't give him the automatic deference he clearly deserved. Given that the point of the strip is to hammer home the fact that John is an inept buffoon who suffered the humiliating revelation that he's the sort of absurd, cowardly imbecile who damned near starved to death thirty minutes away from civilization.

What this means is that instead of trying to see off challengers to his beneficial but stern reign, we're now dealing with a man defending against loss. Everything that he does from now on is predicated on the assumption that people who still see him as a stern disciplinarian will also realize what a churlish, craven and incompetent imbecile he is and set his worthless opinion at naught. This, I think, is why the kids' attitudes needed adjusting. We see normal kids developing normally. John thought "Holy Damnit Christmas! They're starting to realize I'm a fraud! Gotta get'em off balance before they think things through!!"
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As we now know, the 2016 wall calendar is going to be devoted to Lynn's hatred of the noisy toys that she would have found distracting as all Hell as a parent. From her wanting to straight-up murder the lovely person who gave her the plastic middle finger called a corn-popper to her baying at the moon about the havoc Evil Mira wreaked with her evil bouncy ball of beeping, we're going to get a lot of passive-aggressive sniping at children. Given that the current year's effort is devoted to her active hatred of being subjected to the same bullshit she made her parents suffer when she was a teenager, it seems only natural to assume that 2017 would be a means of reminding who ever still cares about the Pattersons that there's something she hates and by Damn, they are going to hear about it.

An upcoming Sunday strip in which Farley is bad and wrong and selfish because for some reason, he behaves as if he doesn't understand the English language provides me with an idea of what that subject matter will be: a year of Elly getting slowly unglued because she's an inept pet owner who won't admit that the creature she wasted years of her life screaming at or bargaining with had no idea what she was saying and never could. What shines through all of her interaction with the poor animal is that he had to be tormented not only by stupid children who thought he was a toy but also by a stupid woman who never understood that no matter how sincere she was, she was always going to be pounding sand in a rathole trying to talk her way into getting Farley to do what he wanted. Even in the kid's book that had him look for the bone, it was made obvious that while John, Lizzie and Mike understood how he behaved, Elly had no idea and didn't care to learn. Since we're supposed to be on the side of the ignorant idiot doing something futile, the poor pooch is in for another posthumous scraping.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As you know, it's always sort of bothered me that we never get to learn Georgia's birth name. The subject never comes up in the strip archives nor does what Lynn would refer to as a maiden name appear in Phil's Liography. It would thus appear that neither Lynn nor Elly ever seem to have realized that Geo actually needed a surname in the first place. It's very odd but very telling that the same woman who spent all twenty-nine years bristling at the notion of being thought of as an extension of a man would idly consign Georgia to the same fate but it seems to me that while Elly lived in a nightmare world where she wasn't a person in her own right but just either Jim's daughter, John's wife, Mike's mother or Robin's grandmother and not Elly the individual with an identity all her own, she had no problem with consigning Georgia to that same state of depersonalization.

It seems to me that when they were introduced, Elly might have heard a surname but her mind forgot that unimportant detail because she saw Georgia as "Georgia, girlfriend of Phil." This changed to "Georgia, that poor girl my asshole brother selfishly refuses to marry and my parents won't make him either" once they moved in together. Once Phil proposed, she became "Georgia, fiancee of Phil" only to become "Georgia, wife of Phil" after their marriage. If she lives long enough, Elly will end up thinking of her sister in law not as the former Georgia whatever-her-surname-was but as "Georgia, widow of Phil." This leaves us living in an indeterminate world wherein John is the one who actually remembers what Georgia's last name used to be.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As we all know, the Michael of the Early and Middle Years seemed to yearn for a world wherein he didn't have to do the stupid, boring and confusing math homework he HATES because it's all nonsense designed for the sole purpose of either making him feel miserable or getting him in trouble. While this attitude moderated, his incapacity at doing basic mental arithmetic was a glaring flaw that John commented on even unto the latter days of the strip. It seems to me that aside from the more obvious factor, there's a hidden one that makes it rather easy to see what his real problem is.

The obvious factor that I've mentioned before is that certain easy-to-understand principles simply seem to confuse Michael and probably always will. As we see here, he seems to be incapable of realizing that half of something will ALWAYS be half of something while all of something will always be all of something. It doesn't matter if you use the words "percent" or "half" and "all" to describe it, he seems to want to believe that there might be a case where half of something is NOT half of something just to prove that he isn't stupid and that math IS a boring waste of time he should never have been asked to do.

This, as I've also mentioned before, makes of him another iteration of Lynn's very real need not to be asked to do things that bore her lest she be proven wrong about how hard they really are and suffer the painful humiliation of having authority figures spent years making her feel like shit by ranting about how wrong she was about being painfully humiliated. As we see in these example of Mike wanting to not make the best of the bad situations his pissy attitude kept landing him in, our hero thinks that he shouldn't be asked to actually find out that math actually is easy lest he suffer the defeat of proving his asshole parents who never shut their ugly gobs when they win right. Simply put, Elly's overweening need to inform Michael that he isn't allowed to be right about anything because that's bad and wrong is why to this day, our boy has to take his shoes off to count to twenty.

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