(Original Publication Date, 28 February 1991)
Panel 1: We have Michael, Lawrence and silhouette man observing as Gordon gets ready to publicly humiliate himself. Oddly enough, silhouette man is going to make just as many appearances in this comic strip as Michael. As the week goes on, we will learn that silhouette man is actually no one, not even Brian Enjo. I take that back. Silhouette man is… Lynn Johnston saying she doesn’t want to have to draw Lawrence over and over again.
Panel 2: Gordon yells, “Hormone Attack!!” and throws himself backwards with his crotch pointed straight at his victim in a comic strip that would never work in a #Meetoo world, even with a woman writing the comic strip. However, As Chris Farley used to say, “Fatty fall down, make funny.” Lynn Johnston seems to be following that comedy paradigm.
Panel 3: Gordon lies on the floor while Allyson Creemore walks away saying, “Gordon you are a complete idiot.” Gordon says, “Allyson! Allyson! …is that you?!!” as if the hormone attack also causes blindness. The last time we saw Allyson Creemore, this is what she thought of Gordon Mayes. Gordon is definitely taking a giant step back from this:
However if you go back to Allyson’s first appearance, this is what she thought of Gordon Mayes. Gordon is taking a slight step forward from this.
Panel 4: Gordon says, “I’m getting somewhere, guys! She spoke to me.” That’s not real progress. What is real progress is that Mike and his buddies are uninvolved in this nonsense and are no longer trying to restrain Gordon from attacking Allyson. Gordon has made his bed on the floor and they are content to let him lie in it.
Summary: This sort of “Forget the recent past and start the story over again” aspect of Lynn Johnston’s writing is very frustrating and she does it a lot. Why does she do it?
- If the story was funny the first time, it will be even funnier the second time – the law of increasing returns.
- As Farley Mowat would say, “Never let the truth about how it’s good not to repeat a story get in the way of repeating a story.”
- It’s the way really bad sitcom writers do it, so why not imitate the worst?
- Comic strip readers like repetition. Garfield likes lasagna and hates Monday. Gordon has a hormone attack.
- Repetition is the sincerest form of writer’s block.