(Strip Number 1377, Original Publication Date, 29 November 1988)
Panel 1: As we saw last week, Janet believes Michael’s screaming reaction to Martha’s note was due to her failing to use the word “love” instead of the word “like”. Janet writes “Martha really, really likes you and that’s the truth.” While Janet is not willing to stretch all the way to “love”, she is willing to stretch to “really, really like”.
Artwise, I think we are supposed to get that the person who sent the note is featured in the background of each panel in silhouette as the person in the foreground is reading the note. While this is a nice idea is theory, in practice we are dealing with the artistic abilities of Lynn Johnston, who appears to be unable to keep the head shapes the same even though they are repeated just two panels away from where they were last featured. Consequently the silhouettes look likes 4 different persons. Panels 1 and 3 have silhouette Janet who loses the rattail off her hair in Panel 3 that is obvious in Panel 1. Likewise, Panels 2 and 4 have silhouette Michael who goes from having an obvious back part in his hair in Panel 2 to no part and a flatter head in Panel 4.
Panel 2: Michael decides to prints his response, so we don’t see his cursive and get confused thinking that Janet writes like Michael and is responding to herself as Michael. Michael plays off the “really, really” and communicates he no longer cares what Martha thinks. I am really, really not sure why this doesn’t end things right here.
Panel 3: Now Janet sets up Martha for an exercise in public humiliation. Meet Michael by the trophy case, so Mike can make a winner / loser joke in two more days. Come on, Lynn. Was it really, really necessary to put Martha by a trophy case for that terrible joke?
Panel 4: Mike tells Janet to tell Martha to take a chair if she is going to wait for him by the trophy case because he plans to make her wait there so long, she will need a chair to sit on. I am really, really not sure why this doesn’t end things right here, except Lynn Johnston decided she really, really needed that trophy case joke. As she has done many times before, Lynn Johnston often throws story continuity out the window in order to make a bad joke.
Summary: Michael hates Martha and Janet gives him the perfect opportunity to revenge himself on her. After all, “revenge” is a dish best served cold (and with a terrible joke).