dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
As you know, the consensus is that Lynn's long-term plan for Molly Thomas was to turn her into the victim of a plot thread slightly more retrograde than a Wes Craven movie. As I'd said before, we would have Elly as a Grade Z Mary Worthless dispensing cock-eyed wisdom to all comers, Connie and Greg anticipating their role in the Outening, Molly as the social leper everyone is forced to tolerate for appearance's sake and Gayle as the Last Girl in a slasher flick, there to remind us that Lynn fears female sexual agency almost as much as an asshole Hollywood script writer.

It would appear that I left out someone who is, if not the most important player in the drama, at the very least vital to the Very Special Episode Lynn was told to drop at once by Sensible Muse Tom Johnston: the little boy who has to endure the incoherent babbling about how someone who looks impressive is really a bad person because Mother had a bad feeling about him. Just as the slug-like zombie Anthony was 'really' the best choice for Liz because Elly liked him, Mike would have to be told that only people Elly is fond of can possibly be trusted to look out for his best interests.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
As I said the other day, it would be next to impossible to have a blizzard arc like the one we have to endure actually set in the real present day because if it were, Elly would be standing around griping at John because he sided with the silly stupid weatherman instead of trusting her 'experience' with grey days like the one they were dealing with. There wouldn't be a need to shut down his office, her library or the school pre-emptively until she managed to get herself stuck in the snow just to prove him, the city, the school board and Environment Canada wrong about what sort of day it would be.

Also, he'd be an annoying know-it-all because he ruined her day and made her look a fool because he was prepared for the power outage that came along around about ten or so in the morning because the thing with the island turned him into a prepper for some reason or another. This means that instead of being a bad man who doesn't take her seriously, the John I came up with is bad because he was smarter than she was about a situation.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Sometimes, it occurs to me that Lynn's claim that she wrote the Nichols family out of the strip because reviewing the past was too hurtful is so much hogwash. As [livejournal.com profile] howtheduck says, the real reason is that with the Martian in the mix, we didn't need to go next door in order to get the cute kid strips that Lynn loves to do. He makes this assumption because we stopped going to Gordo's place for cute kid strips when Meredith was born.

What this all means that without April fooling all of us, Lynn would have to have some other means of killing Farley and occupying Elly's time. It seems to me that both purposes could have been fulfilled by the Nichols family. We could establish Leah as another disobedient doorknob who played around streams because Anne needed a Stern Lecture about how she should watch over her own kids before lecturing Elly. That way, no Patterson would have to absorb the hatred of the monkeymass for killing Farley.
The other way the Nicholses could have helped fill the time is because Christopher was being given the Boy Next Door edit Anthony ended up with. We could have had a wonderful time had that taken place. This is because we could have seen:
  1. Steve being made out to be a disgusting freak who, even if he didn't stand against the will of God and Man by implying that Liz is not the one, would defy all that is good and pure by encouraging him to play the field before and during their marriage.

  2. Anne making Mira look like Christopher Hitchens when she suggests that Liz be stoned to death for having pre-marital sex.

  3. Christopher wailing that he has no home because his marriage to Melody Morrison isn't a damned fifties conform-to-the-norm educational film.

  4. Liz still having to be purified to become worthy of Christopher because Lynn's brain is Harlequin novels and schmaltz.

  5. Melody Morrison ending up in prison for the sort of child negligence Lynn usually treats as a great big joke.

  6. Anne trying to scuttle Chris and Liz's wedding lest God kill everyone for allowing a FALLEN WOMAN to find love.

  7. Anne and Steve dying ironically as the weathervane off of the church gets embedded in her skull while he strokes out nailing a bridesmaid.

It would have been more wonderful dumb fun than watching a Tamil action movie. Sure, no one would have the gravity punched out of them by a guy who looks like a shop teacher but it would have been a big old time.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
To expand on my comment the other day on how it would make more sense for the whole stupid "jocks versus smocks" arc be about Elly doing battle with either the forces of modern architecture or a militant historical preservation society, it seems to me that the two arcs would be a sort of foreshadowing of the "Mike doesn't have all the facts at his disposal before he becomes the public face of a misguided protest" arc. After all, they'd both have the same starting point the arc we saw had: Sue filling Elly's head with mush that has nothing to do with the real problem. As it would be later on, a Patterson would go to war against the wrong enemy because a charismatic boob shared a brain fart.

It seems to me that they'd both have the same ending point: Elly being chastised by John about being led astray by someone ignorant of the real stakes. The road that would have her do battle against a vandal who would take a fine old historical building, level it and replace it with a soulless glass and steel cracker box reminds me of something happening in my own life. This is because my old junior high school is in rather sorry shape because time and sloppy building practices have not been kind to it. The 2014-15 school year had them hold classes at two other local schools and there's talk of tearing it down and replacing it with a new school. Were Lynn to have pursued that angle, we'd have seen her resent the architect, the fire marshall and John for telling her that it doesn't matter how sincere she is if the ceiling falls in and kills someone.

She'd also resent the head of the local historical society for telling her that trying to shoehorn theater groups in a space not designed for it so that it might be turned into a sort of annex to the local museum because even though the arts community would probably have more money to play with if they didn't have to shell out quite so much on insurance at a more modern and suitable space, Elly would see everyone else winning as being a defeat because she couldn't weep, bully or threaten people in such a manner as she got what she wanted and damn what everyone else does.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
To continue merrily on from yesterday, I should think that there would be another after-effect of John going overseas that Elly wouldn't like. Said side effect of his actually encountering refugees who lived in war zones would be rather a nasty surprise that would tend to "lessen" his effectiveness as a proper Patterson parent in that it would tend to make him shut up about problem hair.

You see, most of the reason why he and the gang currently get away with pulling that filthy trick on the kids in order to shut them up and make them feel guilty when they just need to vent their frustrations like everyone else is that they don't actually know what they're talking about. Actual exposure to that world and actually having it explained to him that the people down there hate like fire the idea of being used as cautionary examples might tend to finally get him to admit that yes, he and his family are blessed and yes, he's a rather sort of horrid fellow for blathering on about what children owe him.

This means that when he got back home, he'd tend to say unhelpful things about how Eva Warzone should shut up about things and how maybe he was out of line acting as if the kids were freeloading off of him. Since that would clash with Elly's discontent, she'd end up thinking that she'd rather had have him step out on her than be brainwashed into being a sucker.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As you know, I've never really been a fan of the very stupid thing Lynn did when she changed Connie and Lawrence's back story. She began life as a hometown girl who married way too damned young only to have her husband Pete take off on her and leave her in the lurch and ended up as the centre-point of a God-damned soap opera about a medical mission and a romance with a dark-skinned fantasy figure who couldn't live in the white-bread world of English Canada.

I should like to point out that I'm also not a fan of the fact that when Deanna was working the evil yearning for life beyond the cozy and not at all narrow or suffocating or stultifying bounds of Suburbia, Mike spent the whole time sick with the fear that absence might make the heart go wander. This is because I don't much care for his being the personification of the intersection of Lynn's inability to trust people when she can't see them and her fear of the unfamiliar. This means that it wasn't just the need to gather data by which she can inform the kiddies that they're horrible and selfish that made her accompany Rod to somewhere sticky-hot and uncomfortable where she wasn't fawned over. It was her unswerving belief that if he were let out of her sight, he'd do the nasty with his harem.

This, as I've said before, is why her ideal version of Rod didn't have the evil impulse to leave her side and engage with an outside world that obviously wanted her to die alone and unloved because the evil children in second grade looked at her like some kind of freak because of her obsession with pairing off. What would have been interesting is watching what would have happened if John had gone to Honduras with Deanna. Watching Elly fret and fume stupidly about the less than zero possibility that he'd want his day-to-day life to change would have been a delightful way to spend the late nineties.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As [livejournal.com profile] howtheduck pointed out, for the longest time, Lynn wrote Brian's dialogue as if he were a stand-in for Lawrence. This and the fact that she had Carol wish that he'd displayed any sort of interest in girls made it easy to assume that instead of permanently derailing Lawrence's character so that he mutated into a big gay vending machine, it had been Brian who got kicked out of his house by a mother who wanted sense talked into him and a father who suddenly decided that his son was no longer his kind.

Watching her pull her punches like this is sort of a shame because we all know that if the Enjo family had been divided on the issue of whether to acknowledge Brian's existence (or whether Keith needed to be grabbed by the back of the head and have his stupid face smashed into an I-beam until his brain came back online), it would have had a hell of a lot more impact than Greg screaming about being "betrayed" by a boy he barely knew in the first place. After all, Keith and Carol have known Brian all of his life; the realization that they didn't know him as well as they thought would hit harder than Greg not knowing the side-effect of his obtaining a cook-slash-maid-slash-nanny for the teenaged girls he was playing head games with. Why, it could take months for the problem to be resolved correctly. Months in which the Pattersons would wind up actually being the family they advertise themselves as being by taking him in.

Too bad that Lynn cheated. She also cheated by not making her token gay character into Rod's brother Ralph; for reasons that should be obvious, she didn't want the sort of gay culture that scared her infiltrating the strip so thus eventually paired Lawrence off with a man who makes Anthony look dynamic.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
While I have made something of a case for why Lynn didn't actually need a teenaged Patterson rattling around in the first decade of the century to achieve her goals, she still does need to scare people about the evils of the children who are going to be working three jobs to pay for their retirement. Validating their chicken-hearted decision to settle for less and marry their own personal Pornstache and scaring them about computers is not enough; she must also remind them that free will is fine for her generation but a horrible menace in the hands of people who weren't around to experience Beatlemania.

It seems to me that she already had a person like that in the strip: Kortney. Since the dull-witted antagonist was a friend's child and since Elly doesn't hang around with the naturally criminal lower orders if she can avoid it, it seems obvious that making her a thief was as unnecessary as Batiuk's decision to turn a crappy high school Lothario into a date rapist after the fact because he needed Dead Lisa to be a saint. All she needed to do was have the child ask "stupid" questions and offer "stupid" solutions. Well, there's that and actually showing us Anthony's kid sister. We could have her show up and defend E-VILE Thérèse; that oughta scratch the e-vile child itch pretty damned good. Come to think of it, we could have her fill another role: Farley's 'executioner'. More on that tomorrow.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
Of course, we don't really have to wait a century for the Pattersons to learn that Stone Season is thought of as being poorly written, overly long and horribly misogynistic. Once the reviewers realize that Mike is dead serious about the story of Harvey and Sheilagh, he will be regarded as just another man who writes books for women that hate women. Not, of course, that he wants to see this. Given that he doesn't realize that he has no real patience for gender equality, the idea that his life's work is regarded by someone as reproducing the Ike and Tina dynamic would anger him. Just as Lynn thinks that she's writing a nice little strip about a nice little family when she's actually created the story of a bad family who do bad things and get away with it, what Mike thinks is a story about a heroine who succeeds against long odds is actually the story of a passive idiot who stupidly absorbed abuse from a no-hoper because that's a woman's 'strength'. What he saw as his character's ability to endure, a sterner eye sees as a suicidal lack of common sense and self-respect. The frightful, loathesome and unneccesary image of a woman giving birth by herself in an isolated farmhouse in late 1940s Saskatchewan because her greedy, self-absorbed, negligent husband is too heartless and stupid to take her to the hospital is not the heroic thing the Delicate Genius thinks it is. It is instead abuse porn. His lack of affection for his children because they're too tiny to help pay off the mortgage is also a rather repulsive thing to see. The only worse thing to see is the lack of self-awareness on Michael's part; when he blithers on witlessly about being Harvey, he's closer to the truth than he knows.

The reason that I mentioned all of this is because at some point in the near future, someone is just going to flat out say that his labour of love, his heroic story of a heroic woman who was a hero is little more than a disgusting, implausible, poorly-written, incoherent horror story of a passive victim who stayed with a rotter until he died and she became a burnt-out wreck because that's what women have to do. My guess is that he'll be so angered that the reviewer tried to twist his words into meaning something that they didn't (or, as we say in English, scare him with the scary prospect that the scary person who wants to humiliate him might be right) that he'll do something very stupid: sue the person. This would be suicide; after all, the other person would certainly do something Mike never anticipated and find out who the dumb bastard who ran home to Mommy because his boss wanted him to clear out the deadwood is. What he is is a guy who took a puff piece about his crusty old bat landlady, changed the names and passed it off as something that came to him from the Gods of Creativity. He's also a shmuck who blithers witlessly about muses that appear to a lucky few....not to mention a whiny bitch who's destined to scream about the unfairness of having to pay the Dingles their fair share of the rights.

What's really going to hurt is that his home life and the lives of the rest of the family will come under the microscope once someone does to him what he did to poor Divala. Once an outraged public learns about the Big Fat Sham Wedding, The Coming After, The Housening and the Settlepocalypse, Mike and the other Foobs will really take it up the ass. Worse, he'll have to be confronted with something he's wanted to avoid having to see all his life: the Mike Patterson other people see. He'll see the indifferent student who thought his teachers were trying to trick him in humiliating himself, the pathetic shlub who was always up for a dare because he never realized that he was being tricked into humiliating himself, the jerk boyfriend who made a whiny bitch of himself because his girlfriend du jour demonstrated the free will girls weren't supposed to have, the pompous twit who takes potshots at people who offend him, the stuffed shirt employer who did jack-all when in charge and had to be chased out, the sullen dork older brother who fears being replaced by someone cuter, the lazy, inattentive father, the husband who thinks of his wife as his slave and finally, the asshole kid who resents the idea that his mother wants to be more than his servant.

Granted, he isn't going to learn anything from having his nose rubbed in the truth but we can take comfort in the fact that the catalogue of his sins will make him immortal.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
The last phase of the fantasy strip would a damned sight less annoying than the one we're familiar with. Instead of the endless battle of a group of troglodytes against the forces of not letting them eat every meal and drink every drink because John and Elly couldn't shout everyone in the world down, we'd have the rather bland and happy tale of a woman, her second husband, her child from that marriage and their tidy and mildly comic misadventures. Every so often, her children from her first marriage would appear and allude to exciting adventures we never got to see.

The reason I say this is that there'd be drama enough in just dealing with Elly and Tom's daily lives without the imbecilic soap opera and the need to jam it to Mira and Therese for trying to win all the time. More people could identify with Elly wondering what the most diplomatic way to sack a doltish, thieving subordinate was than they would her squealing about cash bars at christenings.

The ending of the saga would thus not be Elizabeth's wedding to a clammy cipher whose selling point is that John can totally own him, Elly squealing about quitting motherhood and Mike's getting a crazy, no-way fantasy career but Robyn's graduation from high school, Jim's passing away quietly in his sleep after a brief illness and an ultra-awkward reconciliation between Lawrence and the Pattersons. That way, we could finally find out what John and Connie's deals were. The one would be all about having a twisted sort of empathy that made him so afraid of being weak that he hated people less sturdy than he was and the other would be still be the angry child pissed off at Daddy because he wanted a son.

The last month would be a parade of characters as we looked back at Elly's life up until her retirement. She'd admit to having made grave mistakes but for better or for worse, her life was what it was.
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As I say from time to time, some of what's wrong with Elly is that she became a wife and mother before she was really ready to do so. Her need to gain the approval of someone whose opinion might be charitably described as absolutely useless made her marry an immature clod-hopper sight unseen and it made her have a child before she had her act together. It's why she sits there and takes verbal abuse from John and why she instincively pushes Mike and Lizzie away. Removing John from the equation would, as I've said, allow her to focus on building up her self-image to the point where she was finally able to find someone who would play to her strengths. For the sake of the experiment, let's give this new character the name Tom Gregory; what would happen is a sort of foreshadowing of the current arc in Stone Soup wherein the two of them would sort of circle for a while before finally marrying. The source of humor and conflict would thus have become comparing him with the old and inferior model with the train fixation and his evolving from cool grown-up to authority figure.

The next major plot development would be Elly becoming pregnant with his child. We could compare notes about what a basket-case John was with Tom being less inclined to whine about how awkward he felt while ignoring Elly's confusion and discomfort. We could also have avoided the desperation-measure name of April with the more modern-sounding Robyn because the only voice running his or her mouth about tradition would be shouted down by her husband. (Marian, there are people dying in the streets and you're worried about trendy names? Get a life!)

Speaking of Marian, her and Farley's deaths would still be the boundary posts between the Middle and Later Years. Instead of the treacle we had about sunshine and shadows on the one hand and the cut scene from Apaches on the other, we'd have had Elly finally getting some sort of closure on the one hand and the last time John would be an important factor on the other. This is because in the first instance, Elly's taking care of someone who seemed terrified of her happiness might finally get the old bat to see what she did wrong and in the second, trying to figure out how to make an old dog's last days comfortable might finally get a train-obsessed man-child to see what he threw away.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
There is something odd that I have noticed about Elly: she seems to be far happier by herself than dealing with other people on a sustained basis. The reason that makes the most sense to yours truly is that she misses the feeling of autonomy she had before she met John. On the rare occasions when she is on her own, she's a lot happier than she is with Train Man siphoning the life out of her. The reason that I mention this is that one of the first things we would have noticed about a post-1983 divorce Elly is that she'd be a lot happier than the downtrodden idiot we see now. Granted, what this means is that the strip would have mutated into a foreshadowing of Jan Eliot's "Stone Soup" in that we'd have a single mother landed with two kids and a goofy dog she'd rather her idiot husband not have. Heck, we could even set the thing in Vancouver to keep the whole left coast vibe going.

What this would do, of course, is to make Elly's daily life look like the one a person would assume it was if "Farley follows his nose" was his or her introduction to the characters. The distinct impression I got when I looked at it is to think that a person new to the Foobiverse would assume that Elly was a single parent who had made her kid brother into a sort of family retainer. Thus would post-John life be like for the first few years; we'd have Michael being the moody mild antagonist and Liz the precocious and protected favourite and Jim standing in for Evie.

As for the antagonist who occasionally emerges to threaten the new status quo, we'd have a ready-made rat bastard idiot: John. Every so often, he'd crawl out from under his rock and try to mess with Elly because he'd convinced himself that she simply cannot survive without a pompous ass telling her that thinking about her feelings is anti-family. We'd spend the months after Mike and Lizzie's visits with Daddy having to deprogram them and every so often, Elly would end up in a court room trying to fend off John's attempts to screw her over.

This would mean that instead of John and Phil damned near dying in order to separate the Early and Middle Years, we'd have to deal with John marrying his ally in the fight to harsh Elly's mellow: Connie. That's right. I went there and I brought back souvenirs. Connie's reaction to the idea that Elly no longer needed her as a failed Jiminy Cricket would be to act like a rejected suitor. The resolution would come when Lawrence told Mike that no, the problem wasn't that he didn't have a 'normal' life, the problem was John being an ass. Once Mike finally got it through his thick skull that Mom and Phil and Grandpa Jim were right about what a clod Dad was, we could thus proceed to the next phase: Elly deciding to re-enter the dating scene.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
The problem, of course, with trying to get John to see any point that might make him look in the mirror and see the sullen, childish, cruel, entitled, arrogant, whiny, spoiled and repulsive jackass he really is is that he'd have to be hit over the head so damned hard with the fact that he cannot use any of his favorite means of twisting things around so as to pin the blame for his own hateful stupidity on his victims. What this would entail in the present day would be to have him be outraged by someone pulling the same sort of malicious stunt he did during the Housening and end up having someone like Jean ask him how he's any better than the jerk he's hacked off at. Since John is all about how people think about him, the realization that most people think of him as being anything but the straight shooter he believes that they think he is might be the only thing that might make him reconsider his course of action.

That being said, there's another thing that might make him actually take stock of himself instead of running away from asking the horrible question (with its terrifying implication that the answer might actually be "Because I'm a selfish and heartless coward who's no better than some punk hustling weaker classmates for lunch money.") "Why do I do what I do?" is having to deal with Elly's new friend Great Big Jerk Divorce Lawyer. The reason that I mention this possibility is that a recent post on Coffee Talk made some of us consider what would have happened if Elly's reaction to his oafish attempt to twist things around so that his refusal to consider other people's feelings (because, CHEE!!!, that would completely unman him, don'tchaknow?) into her being too sensitive was to realize that no, she (unlike Savage and Hyneman) cannot actually polish the turd she married and thus must leave before she turns into some sort of gloomy, shrieking horror freak who can't take pleasure in anything.

The first immediate consequence of this would, I should think, to be to turn her parents against one another. Jim might be a grumbling old codger who fears social change and loves respectability almost as much as Marian but he has one advantage over his wife: he's always wanted her to be happy. This tells me that while he wouldn't like the idea of any marriage disintegrating, he could be persuaded to see that Elly and the kids would be far better off without John Patterson being a destructive factor in their lives. Insert a mildly oafish joke about trading up and another one about how maybe they shoulda shacked up first so she coulda backed out later and we'd have a mildly reluctant support system.

We'd need him because you just know that the woman from whom Elly derives her habit of getting in a frenzy about the nonsensical and irrelevant would be all about what old sweats who weren't worth powder and shot when they were alive and are of even less importance in the here and now would think. Any comments from Jim about how this wouldn't have been a problem if it were happening to Phil would fall on deaf ears because Marian would never spontaneously admit that when respectability and decency class, the concept that has more syllables in it must give way.

The only way I can see her realizing that most of why Elly did so many things that were not in her own best interests would be at the trial itself. Having to hear the litany of John's sins as well as his boasting about "saving" Elly from the unnecessary horror of autonomy would finally open her eyes as to how big a jerk she'd been. As for John, I should think that being lectured to by the judge about what a pathetic little dictator he's been would be mildly less traumatic than being told off by his Mom and Dad. His very public ruin and the permanent loss of any chance reconciliation with Elly RICHARDS would be the only thing in the world that would get through his thick skull.
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In her latest notes, Lynn reminds us that Rod was and is far more outgoing than she can hope to be; with the exception of this particular arc, that seems to be the case for their avatars as well. That's because there are a lot of strips that depict Elly being more or less content to hover around the kitchen rather than make conversation or confront the social anxiety that cripples her model. What this tells me is that John should have been the one to be all gung-ho about a celebration Elly didn't want. Were that the case, he'd be cast as the same oblivious jerk who thought that an abandoned shanty in the woods was Ted's bachelor pad blithely ignoring Elly's concerns that she'd end up feeling very awkward and silly in a crowd setting. We could then see her "be made a fool of" and thus have a reason for her to be angry at John.

That being said, we'd still have the same side-effect: Mike thinking that whatever was wrong was his fault. Lynn might dress it up by saying that kids think that the world rotates around them but what's really going on is that Mommy and Daddy are yelling about something that they won't tell Mike about. Since the only thing that he can think of when they dummy up is that he's done something that enrages them to the point of silence and since neither of them have the brains to reassure him, he must have done or said something that made them mad at each other.
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As we all know, it's been almost eleven years since Mike and Deanna had what she called "her wedding for heart" so that she and Michael could live together before the wedding for show to appease her "unreasonable" mother. The annoying thing about it is not only that it's what Lynn would have done were she in Deanna's shoes. If it were just Lynn's way of fixing history by avenging herself on her mother for telling her hateful, cruel lying lies of hateful cruelty about how she needed to have limits on her behavior, it would be bad enough. What makes it all the worse is that the device is completely unnecessary. After all, having Mira go berserk trying to provide her daughter with a fancy wedding in the hopes that it would make for a good marriage would be sufficient a source of drama to drive the plot forward without taunting the fanbase with some sort of super-crazy meltdown when she'd realized that she'd been tricked and not having a secret to keep wouldn't make the Pattersons look like stooges to a con job.

What should have happened is that Deanna, having told Michael that she couldn't be a good whatever and simply live together, would then move in with her aunt until the big day. Said unseen aunt would be able to provide us with a bit of insight into what was eating Mira that she was so caught up in the process that she'd missed the point; instead of April telling her that Dee and Mike were living in Toronto, not Sin, we'd have Mystery Aunt trying her damnedest to get Mira to meet her daughter halfway instead of messing up by trying to have the wedding she wanted by proxy.

We could also avoid making Mike look like a clueless dick who can't understand why anyone would take anyone else's feelings into consideration. After all, Deanna is at least trying on some level to make Mira happy and thinks that she's doing so. Lynn probably didn't intend it that way but she makes it clear that Mike cannot even begin to understand that anyone who isn't him deserves that consideration; if a thing conflicts with his needs, the idiotic sociopath thinks that he's being enslaved.
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Now that I’ve successfully altered the Divala and Howard Bunt incidents so that they make sense in the real world, I’d like to take yet another run at the stupid way in which Lynn addressed the whole Farley incident. As we know, one of Deanna’s first acts as Mistress of the fabled Pattermanse was to buy and install a secure lock to the back gate because she didn’t plan on having a heroic dog to cover her arse in case the children put themselves at risk so that she could be like her idol and cower in fear at the prospect of children demanding attention she never had within her to give. I couldn’t actually quite take it in when I first read that because not only did it seem to me that the only reason she took such a basic, no-brainer precaution was that she never planned on getting a dog, it seemed to me that she faithfully parroted Elly’s statement that April simply toppled into the river as if human agency were not involved.

What infuriates me the most is not what led up to the incident. While it is sort of enraging to see that Elly knew that the gate was a problem and that she thought that her solution would actually work despite a four-year old thinking that if you can ask anyone if you can leave the back yard, that means exactly that instead of ‘Ask me or Daddy’ like Elly expected it to mean, that isn’t what bothers me the most. Elly’s blowing off warning after warning about how dangerous the river was and the need to keep a close eye on small children who can’t look out for themselves is also not what bothers me the most; after all, paying attention to children is something that Elly simply cannot do without bleating about turning into one herself. The "Don’t-blame-me" act she did afterwards, however, points the way to what gets me angered about this whole thing: Elly was never held directly accountable for her incompetence, neglect and stupidity in a court of law.

Imagine then, dear friends, what a trial would be like. Imagine, for instance, John getting in the Crown Attorney’s face because since Elly never meant for April to almost die, the whole trial should have been over in fifteen minutes only to be named as a material witness. Imagine also Elly on the stand making an incoherent fool of herself because of her inability to follow the evil male linear logic that assumes something she thinks is unfair, evil and meant to turn April into her boss; watching her bellow that paying attention to what a child is doing is part of a plot to keep her down and have that child usurp her authority would, at the very least, be fascinating. At the very most, it would assure that Elly spent a largish amount of time as the guest of Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth at one of Her Maj’s finer resorts for the incurably stupid as well as finally give her the public identity of her own she wanted more than anything. Granted, that identity would be that of ‘self-centered arsebucket parent’ but at least people would know her name. As for April herself, she'd probably have been sent off to live with Phil and Georgia who would probably be delighted to have the child their infertility denied them and who'd raise her far better than his idiot older sister and moron brother-in-law could.

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As you might have heard by now, Lynn hedged her bets back when she had Mira go into hysterics because she'd discovered that Lawrence is gay. That's because the backlash from his being outed scared the crap out of her and, since she didn't want to have to deal with its like again, gave papers the alternative of running a series of strips in which Mira got in Lawrence's face because the floral arrangements she'd paid for were not to her liking. The upshot is that the subscribers to those papers got to look at Deanna simper and moan not because Mira was a bigot but because, well, her tastes were mired in the sixties. Since Mira's being a homophobe came straight out of the blue, contradicted the semi-positive spin she'd been given in Lives Behind The Lines and never appeared again, what makes the most sense is for the banal, pointless argument that occurred in the alternate strips to be what really happened. What this meant is that Mira started getting into a scrap with everyone's favorite two-for-one token about a non-issue that Deanna misinterpreted as being a slam against him for being gay; now that it's been almost ten years since she'd been suckered into all of this, Mira is still trying to figure out what happened. Were I a fly on her wall, I might well hear her ask Wilfred "Hey, hon! Remember back when I got into a bit of a tiff with Mike and Dee's best man because he tried to palm off a bunch a wilted flowers on us? Is it just me or did Deanna think I was channeling Anita Bryant?"
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As we've seen so far, the Mira in my little thought-experiment doesn't much care for the Pattersons and the hateful way that they're celebrating the fact that Liz has been beaten down into believing that it's too hard to think for herself so it's a great and glorious thing that she's become the marker in some sort of business deal. Before she concludes her exercise in entertaining futilty, there's someone with a functioning conscience in the room she can actually reach. Join me as I show her trying to stage an intervention for a Martian princess:

"Of course, the ugliest thing about this wedding is not the eye-searing color scheme that was Liz's sole contribution nor the sort of carny prize floral arrangements that we had to endure or even the fact that the wedding cake is dripping oil; the ugliest thing is that Françoise is being treated like she's radioactive because she's a reminder that the idiots and poltroons gathered together to sanctify this farce conspired to ruin Thérèse's life; it's almost as appalling as the sure knowledge that the "tragedy" she and her mother represent is the "horror" of Liz defining herself as a human being in her own right instead of a machine meant to glorify how great John and Elly are and how they should be rewarded for the performance of needful tasks. I mean, seriously!! Elly can't even be bothered to remember her name because that would mean that she had a right to exist or something; since she's pretty much a living reminder of the cruel, hateful, unfair truth that reality is not up for grabs just because it makes life easier for the Pattersaints, her life is going to be sheer Hell until she gets out of this stain on the map. This, of course, reminds me of another child who's regarded as a burden because she "rebels" against her "destiny" and cannot provide John and Elly services before they die; I'm, of course, talking about April. My advice to you, young lady, is to get the Hell away from these freaks before you become as big a jerk as the rest of them. And don't just do it for yourself; your nephews and nieces are going to need an escape route from this glorified kindergarten where the immature twerp is king and if you can get yourself to a place where you can be an adult, you'd be doing God's work. Don't dawdle either; you're in danger of getting sucked in and being assimilated; they've already got Eva Warzone and Luis Refugee making you half-convinced that venting about a problem is counter-revolutionary. The next step is making the Continental over there into Anthony 2.0; nobody but a Patterson wants that to happen."
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As Mira continues on explaining exactly why it is that the Pattersons bother her, Liz looks as if she wants to run very far away from her ugly brother's 'rude' mother-in-law; let's continue on and see why that is:

"Well, Mrs Caine, the reason I do know that the pilot and police constable you dated feel grateful to see your fat hind end is that I, unlike you, don't walk around in a stupor. Then again, I'm not the daughter of a simpleton who avoided the woman providing the grease-laden catering because of her idiotic misapprehension that Mrs Nichols is capable of forgiveness. My GOD!! The woman is still ranting because her husband gave their eldest a cookie 25 years ago or so. That, of course, isn't the stupidest thing that you clowns believe; only a corn-fed rube who can't tell his jacksie from a hole in the ground would look at the skeevy little drone you're marrying and call him funny, witty, charming and above all, sympathetic."

Having mentioned Anthony, let's see her rip him a new one:

"I thought that'd get your intention, you repulsive moral pygmy. You, sir, are not my idea of what belongs in a house; what you are is a carbon copy of the rigid, humorless, dismally dull-witted, unimaginative, misogynistic, self-absorbed, entitled and immature dunderhead called "Father of the Bride". I still remember hearing about you whining that you didn't have a home to wreck; what you, of course, meant was that you didn't have to sort of home Deanna envies: one in which the wife is an inert, grinning little doll-woman that doesn’t have an opinion of her own (or an IQ higher than room temperature) and who signs off on every stupid decision her idiot husband makes. What really hurts to think about is how everyone curses Therese for being an obstacle to this ugliness and, worse still, invoking the presence of the Big Picky-Face In The Sky who's a big meanie that tells them that they can't have what they want when they want it. As for your 'rescuing' her from the jerk who assaulted her, it was not especially brave or intelligent of you to take Liz to a park and browbeat her into waiting for you to destroy you marriage instead of waiting for the police to arrest the guy. Another thing that isn't especially all that nice is that you sniveling infants presume to look down on Therese for ‘daring’ to complain about something instead of suffering in silence so that you don’t have to face the ‘unfair’ horror of having to consider needs that are not their own. I will commend you on your choice of idiot trophy wife, though; since she's stupid and vain enough to not question how she's the only thing worth your time despite having a wife and child at home, you won't have to worry about losing any more arguments."
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We continue on with Mira's angry reaction to John's stupid remark about needing to be repaid with interest for the horrible crime of having to care about someone who is not himself; having told him, Elly, Mike and Deanna what she thought of them, she now sets her sights on the idiot in the bridal gown:

"What I said just now doesn't imply that I don't feel sorry for you, dear; having dished it out and taken in, I know how tough it is to deal with the horrible sort of blackmail Michael subjected you to. That's not to say that I don't hate being party to weddings based on that sort of thing....which brings us to the young woman at the center of all this madness. You, Liz, pretty much deserve to be in the fix you're in right now; it's not just because you're a needy, passive lush who'd do anything to please two people who just aren't worth powder and shot, it's that your gutless inability to shut your trap is what set Operation "Super Tasteless Cash-In Fake Wedding" in motion. I know that none of you dullards are going to believe this but I would have preferred that all of us to be in the dark about the real wedding; that way I wouldn't have had to push people's buttons to figure out which of you jerks set it in motion. I also wouldn't have had to listen to you childish, spineless whimperers talking about how you don't want to have any sort of conversation that would involve having to apologize. One thing I've noticed is that Mike gets being a insensitive clod who gets all defensive when cornered from John, you get a martyrdom complex, self-loathing and need to evade personal responsibility from Elly and you both get the idea that having to apologize means a permanent loss of face from both of them. It is thus a sort of justice that you've willed her own ruination by marrying a clone of John; it's what you deserve for your selfishness, immaturity, moral cowardice and refusal to admit that people who criticize you aren't extra-bad people. And don't think that I'm enjoying this; it sickens me that you and Mike are too arrogant, immature and dumb to know that the people that didn't submit to his blackmail and your stringing them along dodged a damn bullet."


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