(Original Publication Date, 19 February 1991)
Panel 1: When a hen is broody, that means she wants to hatch her eggs and raise chicks. Consequently, I find a pregnant Elly using the word “brooding” to describe John as a little amusing. We get no indication of why Elly thinks John is “brooding”. He appears to be taking off his shirt in front of the closet. Is that what Lynn Johnston thinks men do when they are “brooding”? John has to respond with a full-up description of what happened in last Saturday’s comic strip, because it happened in the comic strip all the way back to last Saturday and the readers may have forgotten Michael’s horrible offense in the intervening three days.
His complaint is that Michael kissed Martha in front of him. What does this mean?:
- At younger ages, boys and girls are supposed to do their kissing in private and not in front of their parents
- Kissing your girlfriend in front of a parent is a declaration that the boy has become a man
- Public displays of affection are considered to be the actions of the lower social class and Michael has been raised better than that
- Boys’ and girls’ kissing is forbidden and is only allowed when both partners have passed the age of consent or are engaged or at least married and possibly have had a few children.
Panel 2: John picks up an electric razor and says, “He’s shaving more than one a week, El.” This is confusing. Does John normally shave before going to bed? Do John and Michael use the same electric razor and John has been checking for extra beard stubble? Does John use his electric razor to channel his thoughts into Mike’s electric razor in order to monitor its use?
Has Elly noticed how tall Michael is getting? I believe the answer to that is: Yes.
Panel 3: Elly says that Michael still has to take orders from his father as she slips her bathrobe onto the bed in order to get in bed? Don’t you normally slip your bathrobe off before you go to bed and not in the bed itself? While the topic of conversation is Michael, it appears the real theme of the comic strip is “Weird things the Pattersons do before going to bed.”
Does Michael take orders from John? I believe the answer to that is: No.
Panel 4: John then delivers both the straight line and the punchline in one big speech balloon. First you have to relate “keep one step ahead of someone” to “take orders from his father,” which does not really work. John has been talking about Michael’s demonstrated maturity by kissing, shaving and height; but not by speed. Also, Michael has probably been faster than John since he was 6. You should just skip those first three panels because they seem to have nothing to do with the final one. Most times Lynn Johnston takes three panels to lead to a punchline in the fourth, but not this time.
Summary: Martha is done until May, so back to the dreadedcandiru2.