dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
As we all know, the Mike of the Early Years acted like a real weirdo when Lawrence got dragged off to Thunder Bay because his idiot mother didn't want to face what she expected would be the derision and scorn of the masses for her self-induced plight. While a regular person would note that the beige kid had moved away, shrugged and become insta-friends forever with the kid with glasses, Mike acted like a teenaged girl moping because "You Don't UNDERSTAND, MOTHER!! You're OLD and you've forgotten what Love IS!!!!" had left for Uni and more or less declared they were on break; this off-kilter take on childhood friendships plodded mercilessly on with the two of them acting like lovers who'd almost forgotten each other after Connie moved back in with a rich husband to wave in the faces of men who'd moved on and forgotten her, thanks loads.

The reason that I mention this is that despite the fact that the Michael of 2017 still probably thinks of Lawrence as his friend instead of Liz's, the plain fact is that after Martha enters the picture, their friendship is effectively at an end. In a heart-beat, he turns into bosom pal who Mike can't live without into one of the following three things:

  1. An immature jerk trying to drag Mike back down into being a useless, irresponsible single person instead of someone good trying to make his way in the world the only acceptable way by impressing a female contemporary.
  2. A rival for Martha's affection.
  3. Mike's token gay friend who Mike is as warm to as Connie and Greg are for much the same reason.

Anyone who hurts Lynn's feelings by paying attention to continuity is probably going to note that after 1 September 1988, the role of Mike's actual best friend stops being 'beige kid from next door' Lawrence and starts being Gordon "Stumbling Idiot Wingman" Mayes because he also wants to make his mark and be a husband instead of a boy.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
Since Lynn's muse is quite obviously network television, it seems fairly obvious what Gordon was originally supposed to be: the troublemaker friend who guided poor, dumb innocent Mike into mischief. From dragging him to poorly-researched arcades to convincing him to risk arrest and-or just plain getting shot down in the streets by the police for defying society by wearing a punk rocker costume to blowing up spiders in a microwave, he's Lynn's vision of the Professional Bad Influence. The reason that I mention this is that why he's this says a lot about how Lynn is. To explain why I say this, I'd like to talk about who he's supposed to be: Eddie Haskell from Leave It To Beaver.

As we know, Eddie buttered up any adult in sight shamelessly before dropping Wally and The Beaver right into a mess. What we fail to realize is that while their other saboteur friends were far more destructive than he was, Ward and June hated him like fire while letting the others off with a "get our sons into a mess free" card because only Standards And Practices kept them from saying "Our asses are for sitting, not kissing." It's his transparent phoniness that made him The Bad Friend because the show runners hated his being a blatant fraud. The funny thing about that is that the show-runners also took special care to remind us that Ward and June weren't perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Ward could be too hasty and June was clearly too damned worried about what the neighbours might think about the daffier trends their kids adopted to really be effective sometimes. These were presented as flaws that hampered their efficiency in dealing with a younger son who never seemed to bother learning from history.

This distinguishes them from Elly and her claims of perfection. Since Elly is now The Best Mother Ever trying to get the Worst Kids Ever into shape, it stands to reason that she be hampered in her quest by an example of Uncaring Parenting. Gord's parents don't love him enough to scream at him all the time about trivialities, deny him reasonable demands out of spite and also to save face, fret endlessly about things she doesn't understand or like, be a brick wall of judgmental malice when he needs encouragement or sympathy and to dismiss his emotional concerns because nothing that happens when a child matters. Yes, since their parenting lacks the perfect absence of actual parenting, he's clearly a demon spawn come to tempt Elly's son away from fealty to someone who works tirelessly against his best interests.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
As we know, Lynn seems to have wanted Gordon to be a Very Bad Influence Indeed on Michael because she can't quite own up to the fact that the moron doesn't need help doing stupid things that aren't in his best interests. The irritating thing is having to remember that aside from his being a mad scientist this coming week, all he really does is reveal that Elly is an ignorant and panicky idiot who doesn't like or trust children much. From assuming sight unseen that a video arcade would HAVE to be a seedy dive to caterwauling about his putting Mike up to do something she convinced herself meant his arrest by getting him to dress up like what pasty little suburban kids thought a punk rocker was, Elly clearly doesn't trust her children not to embarrass her because she cannot allow herself to live in a world where they'd choose wisely without her constant input.

The problem is that this sort of contrast can't last in a world where Mike is a too-damned-young romantic lead. It's fine for what Lynn sees as an easily-influence innocent to be led astray by a hooligan-by-definition because his dad makes less than John does. It's not fine for what she wants us to see as an in-over-his-head kid (only stunted snarker-troll fungus people see him as a repellent failure as a boyfriend) to have the old Gordon as a wingman. What she wants is a clear buffoon to contrast against Mike's confusion and earnestness. The problem is that she doesn't understand men so Gordon ends up looking like the protagonist and Mike the moron stumblebum.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As I type this, I do so in the knowledge that for some reason, John seems to see Gordon Mayes as the son he wanted all along because for some reason that is quite definitely not the fact that he drove Mike away because he is not some emotionally distant failure as a father who cannot be pleased, Michael does not share interests he was never encouraged to learn about. The reason that I mention this is that by any objective standard, the bond seems to be based on the fact that John was the person who co-signed Gord's loan, no more and no less. The reason that I mention this is that if you were to ask John why he deserves Gord's fealty, he'll point you to the fact that he was there for the younger man when he first started to realize that Gord's real parents got drunk and took out their frustrations on their son because That's Just What The Lower Ranks Do.

The problem is that The Saint Pattersons didn't actually do anything that could have been considered helping Gordon when he was dealing with abuse but act as if they did. As we all know, we start things off with Gordon assing around in Elly's new station wagon and accidentally reversing the thing because of course he does. Since there isn't a good-faith mistake that Always Angry Idiot Elly can't turn into part of the bullshit conspiracy she dreamed up to explain away her total failure as a human being, she rats him out to his parents because she doesn't actually know the Mayes family that well; this is when we learn that Gordo is a god-damned punching bag. John and Elly stood idly by wringing their hands and Brian was all about how Mike had no real say on what happens in someone else's house because of an ethnic tendency HIS kind has towards bystander syndrome. The next time this comes up, we find that Gordon has moved to an apartment because home life has become too much of a pain in the ass to bear and, well, he never really looked back. The unifying theme is that Gordon is a sort of charity case they kind of feel sorry for as well as a reminder that there are worse families than their own. This means that they believe him to Their Man because he's a Credit To His Class Background, not because they really like the young man.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
It seems to me that what I said about Gordon being tricked into following along with the plans of someone who isn't really what he seems to be is due to two factors that need to be expanded on. The first of these is that with the Gordon Mayeses of the world, there is no substantive difference between the private and public versions of his persona. Since Gordon is the same man in public that he is at home, he assumes something that he probably should not when he assumes that two-faced people like John who don't deserve the praise they get don't actually exist.

This means that it turns out that you can cheat an honest man like Gordon if you manage to present yourself properly. The same Gordon who looks at Liz and sees someone who needs to be pushed into getting what she's supposed to get because she is someone who needs to have her destiny guided because she won't do it on her own is sort of defenseless in the face of manipulators like John and Anthony who are able to hit hot buttons to make him do their bidding.

Not, of course, that they give themselves the name 'con artist' or 'charlatan' or 'suburban Machiavelli.' The second factor that must be considered is that John thinks that he's the straight-shooter salt of the earth friend to everyone that the public falsely believes him to be and Anthony looks in the mirror, sees the sunken-chested and heartless whining imbecile we see and thinks he's the go-getter he's said to be. After all, the best con men in the world always end up being their own best mark.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As we know, Elly sort of succeeded in her campaign to protect Mike from making the horrible mistake of being talked into dropping out of junior high so he could marry Martha (yes, that's what she still believes because she's as crazy as a shit-house rat) and have babies that she and John would have to care of because some old dimwit made the horrible mistake of feeding into Mike's paranoia as to how everyone he meets has a plan to only pretend to like him so they can later mock him for daring to be wanting to be happy too. Despite his aunt trying to talk something like sense into him, the sullen oaf used Gordon as a sort of proxy to tell her off for not caring only to find out that she choked because she was too intimidated by his delicate genius to dare send him a letter lest she think less of her. After Mike rushes off to apologize to her for acting like the dumbass he's always going to be, Lizzie comes in and asks Gordon why he's apologizing to someone who done him wrong; the interesting part is that Gordon does not explain the situation to Liz in the least but instead whines about how he wishes he were lucky enough to have a girl to jerk HIM around.

The reason that I told you all that is that Gordon would later on repeat someone else's self-serving bullshit as to why he has nothing to fight for; what's more, he does so for much the same reason. As I've said before, it's sort of obvious that like most of the male characters, the existence of any woman who doesn't immediately turn into a baby-loving domestic angel when she gives birth is an existential threat to Gordon's existence because by her presence, Therese summons forth the grim spectre of a bunch of knuckle-dragging yokels being absogoddamnedly totally bloody clueless about fifty percent of the human race. To this end, he carefully staged event after event where the horrible menace to his world-view was ambushed by the unwelcome presence of a pallid ninny who could never get it through her thick skull that she was being used by a jackass to help his benefactor and save himself from having to admit that he doesn't have the least idea of what's going on in a woman's mind. The sad thing about this is that the stupid ape is regarded as a wonderful friend by someone who keeps from her a secret she has every right to know about the weddings for heart and for show.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
I don't quite remember where it is exactly any longer but I do remember Lynn's smug comment about Blandthony being some sort of ultra-cool dude who'd outshine the athletes and too-good-to-be-true types right about now. While you and I see the same apathetic, envious, whining, clueless, slug-like underperformer that ain't going anywhere in this life because he brays like a mule when confronted with the terrible possibility of life outside the claustrophobic suburban wasteland he calls hoooooooooooooooooooooooooome, Lynn and the Pattersons saw a real go-getter who'd be the real Big Man On Campus twenty years down the line.

At the time, it seemed to me that Lynn was simply trying to defend Anthony as a romantic lead in the face of criticism that he had all the charisma of a block of styrofoam. Rather than try to flesh the character out or make him more than a slightly slower-witted and whinier clone of John by doing something crazy, weird and unconventional by having him shrug off a doomed starter marriage like someone in the crazy, wrong and weird modern world would do, she instead made him the beneficiary of a revenge fantasy in which he (by which I mean she) was able to get revenge on all the busty brunettes she'd convinced herself were laughing in her face because pretty people want her to die alone and forgotten because that's what pretty people do in Lynn's world (by which I mean junior high) by making Evil Career Woman who was evil because she actually admitted that the maternal instinct Elly, Connie, Liz and Deanna don't have because it doesn't actually God-damned exist is a load of old cobblers.

The reason that I mention this is that he's sort of double-dipping in the revenge fantasy department because he's the hireling of another aspect of Lynn: Gordon Mayes. As history teaches us, Gordon represents Lynn when she's a person who blew off her education who, by the sweat of her brow and not because some suit was filling a niche, haters!, managed to be richer than people who actually studied and put in the work required. Since Lynn wants to believe that success comes from being a good person who does good things instead of slogging away at the bottom and climbing the ladder, Gordon's having a miracle happen because he's a good person beats all the studying in the world. The question that her need to jeer at her betters because she got God-damned lucky thus raises is why she insists her own kids work their arses off when they had miracles happen too.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
The interesting thing about watching Gordon and Lawrence interact with one another is that they're a lot like Annie and Connie: they don't really like one another all that much but do have the commonality of being friends with a Patterson. We saw this from the moment that Lawrence started wailing piteously that Mike liked Gordo best because WAHHHHMBULANCE until it became obvious that both of them got beat out by Josef Weeder.

That being said, Gordon clearly seems to have won the truly important battle: being the former friend that the sainted John and Elly prefer. This is because Gordon can do more for the two of them than a moderately successfully landscaper can hope to do. Gordon can provide for Elly after John whizzes on an electric fence and he can do something Mike never could for John: give him someone Train Man can see as a younger version of himself. Why, he can even provide Lizzie a gormless also-ran husband to care for her and never, ever outshine Michael and thus anger Elly.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
While it might look as if Elly's getting a happy ending by finally getting her children to appreciate her 'hard' work and give her the praise she wants more than anything else at the expense of their being allowed to become autonomous adults is the most repulsive thing about her colossal ineptitude as a parent, wife, mother and human being, it's not even close to being the worst thing. After all, with her piss-poor eating habits, failure to keep in shape and family history of heart problems, she doesn't have much time to enjoy having children she can actually relate to.

The reason that is is a problem is that after Elly dies, her adult children and their spouses still won't be capable of functioning on their own. Since John clearly isn't interested in being his kind of a parent to a 'child' who can 'parent back' (which is to say 'kick John's dumb ass for him if he starts acting like the belligerent tool he is'), this means that he'll have to rely on someone to keep an eye on the children because, gosh darn it, they never managed to be able to look out for themselves for some weird reason.

This means that Gordon will end up with at least four adult foundlings to look after when Mrs Dr P dies and Dr P heads off to Florida to wait out the clock. Such is the price of accepting help from the Patterswine. Unlike a banker who will merely ruin his credit rating or a Mafia gangster who'll kick the shit out of him, Gordon has to end up wasting his life playing nursemaid to his pal from Grade Three and the rest of his siblings because he did something really stupid and accepted help from someone who thinks that someone else has to clean up his wife's mess for him.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
The very interesting thing about this arc is not that Elly once again failed to teach Mike the Very Important Lesson that his mother loves him so much that she simply has to save him from the idea that he has any sort of input into what his life is supposed to be like but that once again, one of Gordon's Evil, Selfish Parents over-rules her and makes her life worse. As [livejournal.com profile] howtheduck discovered, the Mayeses were the go-to unseen characters designed to show us by their Very Bad Example how wondrous the Pattersons are as parents. He also noticed that when Lynn sets out to make a person Just Plain Awful, she usually does the exact opposite.

The first instance was when Michael noticed that Gordon's reckless, uncaring and awful parents bought him a set of roller skates for his birthday. Naturally, this led to Elly's being oppressed by Mike's selfish and evil demands that he scare her and make her look bad by also getting him roller skates. Her solution was to put him to work to teach him that since John worked and worked and worked, he had to as well. When Gordon tried to cheat Mike out of the money he'd earned by renting them, Gordon's Evil and Selfish mother forced him to pay Michael back and thus frustrate Elly's desire to teach Mike a very good lesson. Sadly for Lynn, most people saw Mrs Mayes as having the right idea because what Elly was actually doing looked more like teaching Mike that working is a futile exercise in frustration.

The next time around, we had to deal with the fact that Mike was trying to oppress Elly by making horrible, distracting noise. Having cleverly forced him out of his home on a cold, bleak February day where there was nothing to do, she was horrified by the eventual discovery that Gordon corrupted Mike by taking him to the Evil Arcade of Noise and Depravity and Having The Quality People Look Down at Elly. Given that Mrs Mayes had no problem with Gordon watching people drug and sex themselves in front of him nor with his being stabbed, murdered and disemboweled by the sort of people who only seem to exist in Orson Scott Card's loonier apocalyptic and delusional rants, we were clearly supposed to side with Elly. Why, Mrs Mayes might even have given Gordon a key to his house so that other boys could destroy it and raise chaos and come and go as they please and other horrible things.

Finally, we have Elly trying to lovingly teach Mike the lesson that his insistence on privacy is a horrible thing to do to his poor mother who only wants to save him from the horrible idea that he has any sort of say in what happens to him. Why, if he were allowed to have the least bit of input, that would mean that Elly would never, EVER be allowed to speak again because that's just how things work. Sadly, Gordon's Evil Father noticed that Mike was foolishly ungrateful and angry at Elly for doing what was best for everything and over-ruled her. Once again, an act of malice meant to make Elly's life worse and deny her any say wound up looking like someone coming to bat for a kid being raised by a self-absorbed maniac whose fragile ego can't tolerate resistance to her insane and hateful demands.

Eventually, it must have occurred to Lynn that most people thought of Mr and Mrs Mayes as being far superior to a cranky, self-righteous, judgmental imbecile consumed by pride, besotted with vanity and twisted into an inhuman shape by a martyrdom complex. The challenge that faced her was to somehow discredit them so as to make the Pattersons look good; she did so by the subtle-as-a-landmine-in-a-bowl-of-porridge tactic of making them into hockey-loving drunken child-abusers. Since she also tried to make Mira into a homophobic ignoramus and tried to turn post-partum depression into a mortal sin, it's interesting to notice that she can do something that works if she puts some effort into it.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
The really interesting thing about the "Mike and the Super-Crazy No-Way Arcade of Sketchiness" arc is that we are left with the impression that Gordon's mother did nothing about his going there. This, as [livejournal.com profile] howtheduck speculates, has a lot to do with the fact that Lynn was in the process of leaving Lynn Lake and Elly in the process of becoming always right and never having any doubts as to her rightness or challengers to her authority. The idea seems to have been that since Elly is the best parent ever, it only stood to reason that Mrs Mayes would fail her son by being asleep at the switch.

Too bad for Lynn that what we see doesn't support her hypothesis. While I'm pretty sure that the strip in her brain has Elly being a super-mom, the facts tell a different story. The first fact is that Mrs Mayes told Gordon to give back the money he cheated Mike out of renting the roller skates she bought him free and clear. She didn't set Gord impossible tasks in a doomed and counterproductive effort to teach him work was cool and she didn't stand for his taking advantage of a stupid kid. That says better mother to me right off the bat. Also, none of us have any real idea of how she reacted to his going to Crazy Eddy's Seedy Dive Of Implausibility. It could well be that she told the manager to turn him away at the door so as to prevent him from wasting his time there and, better yet, having to listen to the ill-informed ranting of the crazy-ass idiot that the dentist married. I mean, we do eventually learn that his dad is filled with drunken perfectionism and tends to respond to errors on Gordon's part with cursing and punching; that implies some level of awareness and a perverted need to do and be right. All Mike gets is lectures and exile.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
As we're seeing right now, Gordon wasn't always the beloved figure he is in the Later and Declining Years of the strip. In the early to mid-eighties, Gordon was the 'bad' friend that Elly believed to be leading Mike to perdition. While it seems likely that we were allowed a look at Gordon's dad when we saw that one strip with an aggressive loon hockey dad yelling at "Gordie", we never once saw Mrs Mayes during the strip's run. What little we do know about her suggests that she's the sort of weak mother that never seems to be able to defend her children from the rages of the angry, self-absorbed, entitled horror freak patriarch that seems to haunt the Liographies. When last heard of, she was attending the same AA meetings as Mayes Senior so as to atone for falling into a bottle while watching her idiot husband take out his disappointments on his son.

Of course, you could reduce what I said just now into a soundbite about how she's a stereotype failed parent from an Afterschool Special about the Plight of The Lower Orders. She thus joins Jeremy Jones's mother in being a fantasy projection of someone who likes to look down on those who are of lower social status than she is. Mrs Jones's Royal Road to Failure seems to stem from not being physically there and thus not being able to prevent the boy from following the innate tendency all children have towards thuggery.

Not, of course, that Lynn would do something crazy like admit to being filled with snobbery despite her Lynnsights dripping with a sort of contempt for those who have less. She'd as soon admit that she still yearns for that crush back from third grade.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
Now that we're leaving the Elly-gets-a-paying-job arc behind us, I'd like to take a moment to talk about another way in which the Pattersons' inability to remember the past properly makes chumps of them. As we all know, John and Elly claim to have always loved Gordon and thought him a capital fellow. John sees him as the get-up-and-go type he wishes Mike was and Elly loves how he's given wonderful Anthony a place to work. The problem is that for the longest time, Elly thought of him as something of a hoodlum. We're about to see Gordon 'corrupt' Michael by taking him down to the Scary, Evil, Alarmist Bullshit Arcade of Doom so that he can learn swears and play murder simulator noise machines that aren't evil merely because Lynn lacks the patience and coordination to be good at them.

This, I think, is because Lynn was trying in her own way to be an attentive parent. She might not know who Aaron's friends were or what they were like but she could at least warn him to stay away from the wrong sort. The problem was that by doing so, she might have made it hard for him to actually keep friends. No child wants to have hundreds of people tell him what a bad kid he is just so some unworldly child-woman can misuse a national forum to nag her family.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
As the retcons and the strip itself teach us, John has no real use for any literature that isn't some form or another of an instruction manual. The reason that he doesn't like to read novels is, as I've said before, the same one that makes essay questions into a horrible and unfair ordeal his sadistic teachers used to humiliate and confuse him. The reason that he thinks of Elly's interests as being impractical is, of course, his fear of having to devote any sort of thought into what he believes and why he believes it. To do that is to risk the shame and eternal humiliation of having to realize that some of the things that he believes to be universal truths are not fit to be believed and his need to shape his world accordingly has made an ugly fool of him. Reflection also places him in the dire peril of having to see that his pursuit of ludicrous, destructive and self-serving phantasms that he was wrong to ever have even considered have made his decisions witlessly arbitrary and himself to an insensitive ogre who delights in the cruelties he maliciously inflicts thereby putting him in the terrifying position of having to apologize to people. Since he's as smart as a sack of hair, he assumes that if he apologizes, he won't be allowed to stop.

Since he'd rather not admit that having to ask himself why he believes what he believes and if what he believes is worth believing in terrifies him, he dismisses the whole scary phenomenon as being impractical and people who write fiction as pretty much making their money doing nothing much at all. It is thus that he tends to be a lot more fatherly to Gordon Mayes who works with machines and is thus sensible than to Mike who somehow or other isn't quite manly enough to work with engines like he should.

This unbelievable belief is as misguided and silly as all of the other delusions that bedizen the fatuous clot. Gordon, as a for instance, isn't animated by the same need John and Mike share to demean people to show them who's boss nor does he tell people that they need to lose the bothersome tendency to resent being called names. He also doesn't call the need to think of the feelings of those around him before opening his fat yap 'being muzzled' because he's not a spoiled brat. Since John sees things on a very superficial level, he can't see that Mike is far more like him that Gordon.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)

The reason I mentioned all of Lynn’s excuses yesterday was owing to something we all remarked on: the fact that the Gordon of 1983 probably wasn’t the child of an abusive, drunken father and a mother who worked two jobs to put food on the table. After all, he was able to bribe Mike and could easily afford new skates so it was fairly likely that he too had an upper-middle class background like Mike and Lawrence. It could well have been that Lynn had originally decided to make him into an Eddie Haskell clone; what was supposed to have happened was that he’d be a conniving jerk to his fellow children and an obsequious doormat to adults. The only parents who’d fall for his Uriah Heep act would have been fairly clueless. The clueless parent that I have in mind thought that she was ten pounds overweight when she came out of Marian’s womb, has no sense of humor and jabs her finger into the air like a lunatic while lecturing about things that she sees in the worst possible light. For some reason or other, she’d either decided to scrap the plan or been told by a relative of the person the character was based on to cut the monkey business because this was her boy’s life she was ruining.

The problem is that Lynn doesn’t want to admit to this because it would, as I said, mean that she could no longer be able to tell her fans that everything was set in stone all the way back in 1983. She’d also have to admit that repurposing Gordon was sort of stupid because she didn’t, after all, have too many characters. As a for instance, she could have remembered that Daryl Smythe existed and given him most of Gordo’s tragic past. That would free Gordon to be a sort of prototype for Jo Weeder. We could thus have seen the Pattersons praise him for not letting his distant patriarch define his life with his money power and build something on his own.

What we got started out as Lynn's nitwit moralizing about the inevitable effects of people actively stating that they'd like to separate and eventually divorce. After all, ALL children of broken homes (or of single parents) inevitably become delinquents who tempt good children like Mike with the evils of playing Space Invaders and using profanity; if they didn't, Lynn's ideas about the world would be revealed to be empty platitudes spouted by someone who only rebelled against parental authority to get attention.

dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
Now that we're at the end of the Vacation From Hell and at the beginning of the Ted-Connie-Phil debacle, it behooves me to leave the Pattersons behind again; I part by showing you how it is that the people the Pattersons think that they've supported over the years filled up the Favor Bank. We start, of course, with Gordon; as we know, he's a self-made man who allows the Pattersons to think that they had a hand in things because they've convinced themselves that they did something about his abusive parents other than make stupid aphorisms about dark houses. Since they think that they've been there for him, he has to cough up limos on demand. Next comes Lawrence; since he allows them to pose as being tolerant and progressive when they're actually close-minded throwbacks, he has to provide floral arrangements. Iris comes off the worst; for agreeing to take the burdensome old man off their hands, she has to suffer the torments of the damned in grinning silence.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
As we know, this is the year in which Gordon Mayes first appears in the strip; what is interesting about his first appearance is that Lawrence's original reluctance to his presence cannot be understood without reminding ourselves of the Ted-Connie debacle. The first time he appeared, you see, Mike and Lawrence tried to give him the brush-off only to have Mike be more accepting of him; Gordon explained that even though he was a bit older, he was sort of an outcast and needed friends. Suffice to say, Lawrence did not take Mike's ready acceptance of the new kid at all well because he thought that Mike was trying to ditch him and presented him with a stupid ultimatum. Since Mike didn't react to emotional blackmail from a kid his age the way Lawrence had hoped, our future Sraight Gay Icon pouted about what a rat-face-fink that meanie Mike was for not knuckling under to passive-aggressive bitchery. This led to one of the first instances of Elly playing deus ex machina by telling Connie that her over-attention to Ted made Lawrence feel unwanted so it made sense that he'd be a bit oversensitive. Her response was to remind him that he wasn't after all being neglected; that being said, it would have been more in character to remind Lawrence that she was trying to get him a Daddy so he could be like all the other kids. Once she'd given him the reassurance he craved, he'd stopped questioning the third man in the trio. What we can take away from this, of course, is that Mike is as sensitive as he is smart; five bucks says that he still has no idea why Lawrence and Gordon got off to such a rocky start. That's because even though Lawrence told him to his face that he can't see why Connie needs to change something that works, Michael never understands that his pal feels like a fifth wheel by times. At least when he's reacting negatively to Phil's unwanted presence, he confronts the source of his discomfort directly instead of taking it out on targets of opportunity.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
As Shaenon Garrity mentioned in her essay "Why I hate Anthony", most of the things Elly believes about him are bullshit. He hasn't aged well at all, he isn't funny, smart, ambitious or especially nice. If things were to go on now as they have in the past, we could expect him to plod along doing much the same job he's done since high school all the while moaning about how everyone but him is going places. Things, however, are not going to go on as they have been. Despite what Lynn might believe, the market for hovercars is about to take a sharp downturn leaving Gordon with used cars almost no one will buy. As the age of peak oil comes upon us, the suburban dream itself is increasingly at risk meaning that, as an anonymous poster said, few people will go to a gas station/car dealership for cinnabuns and coffee. As the need to survive grows, Gordon will have to start jettisoning sidelines and people that aren't necessary. This, despite what John or Elly might think, means that he'll have to downsize Anthony. Not even their angry bleating about the grandkids he would leave without a means of support would save the man as Gordo has long since grown tired of the Patterson's attempts to own his horses. Using their daughter as a Trojan horse to disallow changes they don't like would be the last straw.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
Here's an interesting question that howtheduck asked: "Why is Gordon Mayes such a bland person?" It's sort of obvious in retrospect that a guy cannot change from a humble, goofy guy who's good with a wrench to the owner-operator of a financial empire without severe change to his personality. Only a woman who'd had everything handed to her like Lynn would fail to see that he'd have become the same sort of venal, callous, foul-tempered, smug, braying jerk that Tom Batiuk turned Funky Winkerbean into. What we should have spent the past few years seeing is the Pattersons wringing their hands about the Frankenstein monster they'd unleashed upon the world. He'd also be the devil with whom they'd have to consort in tight situations. If Lynn had had her head in the game, she could have created a classic antagonist. She could also have made Anthony far more interesting. We could have, for instance, seen more of his background, seen his with his family to know who he really is. I'll bet you if she were to think about it, she'd have realized that some rich kid who spends his days plotting to stab his boss in the back because of his working-class origins is way more compelling than a whining cypher.
dreadedcandiru2: (Angry Candiru)
We now come to what I hope is the end of the 'Liz Patterson: Insta-Mom' story arc. As predicted, we had the following annoyances that spoiled the intended moral:

1. Inept wordplay as evidenced by Liz's thought bubble.

2. Behavior contrary to normal human motivations. Not only did Thérèse apologize to Liz for intruding, Françoise ran to the woman who replaced the mother she was pining for. That never happens in real life.

3. The exposition of a bizarre philosophy by an idiot. Not only is Liz's notion that she's the better mother merely because she's physically present absurd, she's setting herself up for a lifetime of disappointment because this child will always resent her for destroying her real parents' marriage.

There's a fourth, more fundamental, thing that sullies the happy ending: even after all this, we still know next to nothing about Thérèse. That's because we only have the word of people who regard her as an enemy because they fell threatened by her. Her sin, as far as I can see it, is destroying some inane fantasy that two high-school 'sweethearts', who barely had a romance to start with, would settle down and have a happy life together. If it wasn't bad enough that she got in the way of a nothing that that Elly Patterson convinced herself and everyone else was a something, she actively expressed doubts about Elizabeth's intentions, not to mention about the suburban lifestyle. That was enough to turn Gord and Tracey Mayes against her. They have no interest in being fair-minded to her and they are not. Everything they are makes them rally around a man they see as a victim of circumstance: Anthony. The problem with that, of course, is that they're willfully embracing a viper to their bosom. Awfulny, as we all know, is a manipulative little petty tyrant who, by the use of whining and playing the victim card, bullied his way from victory to victory, all the while maligning the hapless recipient of his hatefulness. We cannot, should not, trust anything that comes out of his mouth. Was the divorce civilized? We don't know? Did he deny her visitation rights? Who's to say? What really went on behind closed doors? He'll never tell us the truth and she's too ashamed to come forward because she knows she'll never be believed.


dreadedcandiru2: (Default)

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