April 13th, 2005

Wednesday, April 13

I'm not sure of the progression here. In panel 1, Elly says her dad doesn't complain about aging. Well, if she admires that so much, why doesn't she emulate him?

In panel 2, Jim looks like he's being suffocated by the giant talk balloon containing all his ailments that he supposedly never talks about.

In panel 3, Iris appears when her name is invoked, and looks like she's holding up the picture on the wall over the mantle.

Then in panel 4, Jim is totally busted, while Elly doesn't even have the smug, closed-eyes smile, because she has no eyes at all.

Now, how does that work? We've been shown (several years ago) that Jim doesn't appreciate Iris infantilizing him. So why does he gripe to her? Maybe he's just in that old-person stage where he has no ability to self-censor.

Okay, here's a strip that really lays it on the line.

This is from, I think, 2000. Previously in FOOB, April had visited Jeremy in the hospital after the car hit him. John put his model train set in the yard on Halloween, and thought he could leave it there overnight because Milborough is such an idyllic community. Instead, three masked thugs smashed it up. Now Jeremy has given April the names of the guys who did it, and Jim has informed the local constabulary. They are now giving John the rundown.

Panel 1:
Jim: So, it turns out that two of the boys who did all the damage on Hallowe'en are nice kids from good homes.

John: Really.

Okay, so in their case it's supposed to be an aberration? Because we know that good homes, which are defined by how much the parents earn, not how they parent, only produce perfect children. And if they pulled a stunt like this, can they still be called nice kids?

Panel 2:

April: Then why did they do it?

Jim: Well, I guess the 3rd [sic] boy got them all revved up and talked them into it!

Whoa there. Does Jim know this for a fact? Heard their confessions? And even if he did, what they say still might not be the absolute truth. It could just as easily be that Mike Trailerpark was going along with Joe and Frank Richkids because he's a wannabe and they impressed him with their arrogance. And they let him take the fall because their parents can afford legal representation, and people automatically suspect the hick.

Panel 3:

April: But they knew it was wrong!

John: Some people don't think for themselves. They just do what other people tell them to do.

People aren't always thinking in terms of right and wrong when they perform criminal acts. I'm not going into detail about my wayward youth, but suffice to say, what motivated me was anger, and a sense that people on a pedestal, proclaiming absolute right and absolute wrong, didn't know what I was going through.

And yes, some people are followers. I'm just not sure which kids really were the followers here.

Panel 4:

Jim: That's the way the world is, April...People are always willing to follow a leader.

Panel 5:

April: [who incidentally, though she's addressing Jim, is not looking at him, but off into the distance] If people need to follow a leader, Grampa...Why don't they choose a good one?

Well, because not everything's cut-and-dried if you're not a Patterson, darling. Not everyone was coddled and encouraged and indulged since birth like you were.

And it's a fallacy that well-to-do, conservative kids are always supportive of and kind to each other, and welcome needy outsiders. Sometimes the "bad" kids are more loyal to each other than the preps.

Thursday, April 14

Gratuitous "quotes": One, in panel 1.

Badly drawn butts: Panel 4, if hips count. Elly looks like she's wearing jodphurs.

Woohoo! Jim lays the smackdown on Elly! Look at those bolds and underlines!

In panel 1, Elly demonstrates her maturity by glaring and pouting.

But what's the deal in panel 2? Her attention should already have been caught: when did she have time to exchange the cookie for the teacup so she could get caught in a fish-face instead of taking a sip?

And in panel 3, she still won't give it up. And meanwhile, Jim's dunking his cookie in her tea, which to me indicates that he's having some trouble chewing. See what he means? No, of course you don't; you can't see anything from way up there on that cross.

So in panel 4, she's off to find an enabler. Bye, El! Don't let the door hit ya...well, you'd have to move pretty fast to save that yard-wide butt. Anyway, toodles!

ETA: But one thing I wonder about. What is it with these people, that anyone younger than you is a "baby"? Yes, I know you'll theoretically always be your parent's baby, but right after he says that, Jim goes on to list all of Elly's adult responsibilities and accomplishments. That just really grates on me. The only baby in the strip is Robin.