May 15th, 2005

Sunday, May 15

Sigh. I don't have much to say about this strip. Just, basically, that it's sad. When you get to the point where you're reduced to getting joy out of seeing moss grow through the sidewalk...Jim is on borrowed time. :(

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Anyway, let's not dwell on that. I have the new FOOB collection, "Striking a Chord"! Let's revisit some old strips, shall we?

We start out with Mike, Dee, and newborn Merrie back from the hospital. Family and friends are visiting, yadda yadda. Then we're at the bookstore. Elly announces that she's taking off to visit her new granddaughter. Says Kortney (who has not yet revealed her evil side), "Must be nice to be able to take off whenever you want to." Moira: "Elly owns the store, Kortney. She works evenings, holidays and weekends." "That's what I mean. She works whenever she feels like it."

Here's Elly at the Pattersons Redux residence. "Well! How's my cutie-pie? How's bee-bee? You gonna give us a smile? Ooh, give us a smile. Was that a little burpie? Yes it was! Let's wipe a little mouf..." Remember this, because it parallels a later sequence.

Sunday strip: April and pals at the mall. They purchase fake bad teeth and walk around wearing them. April spots a middle-aged woman who has teeth like that for real, approaches her, pointing to her own fakes, and gets an earful that leaves her with the steam of humiliation rising from her head. Ever notice how clear the demarcation is Before Shannon and After Shannon? B.S. (ha!) April was often thoughtless, or at least careless of others' feelings, and a bit of a drama queen. Nothing terrible about that, of course; a lot of tweens are until experience expands their world. But post-Shannon, she instantly became a paragon of virtue, spreading goodness and love everywhere. No process; it was an overnight transformation.

Mike and Dee continue to learn parenting by trial and error. Lovey gives advice, not Elly, and it seems to work.

Grampa marches in the Veteran's Day parade. This was in 2002. Sigh...I'll be amazed if he makes the 2005 parade, even as a spectator.

Liz and Candace at uni. Now here's a strip that mystified me when I first saw it. They order a pizza, but only have 53 cents for a tip. The delivery guy responds with sarcastic joy, and Candace threatens to flatten his face with her psych text. Isn't that a bit out of character? Candace is supposed to be poor but proud; one wouldn't think she'd act that way towards someone who depends on tips.

Mr. B. dies. Or should I say, April witnesses a miracle. Hearing of her loss, a classmate offers Butterscotch. Very touching, but confusing to the casual reader, who later will only see a rabbit and say, "But I thought..."

Mira, Dee and Merrie at the mall. To Mira's consternation, Deanna favors medical research over old wives' tales, and refuses Mira's offer of a Christmas dress for Merrie. Granted, this makes sense, because as Dee says, "It's $85, it has to be dry cleaned, and she would only wear it once!" But, if she'd only wear it once, why get it dry cleaned? She also refuses Mira's offer of a house, because their apartment is "close to Mike's work, the rent is reasonable, and they like the neighborhood" and (thought balloon only) it's far away from her!

At a diner, Mira cuddles Merrie, exclaiming, "Hoop tee dooo! Hoop tee dooo! Gramma's little tootsie-poo! Watsa matter wif my wittle girl. Tell Gwamma, tell Gwamma!" When Merrie howls, Dee takes her away to breast-feed beneath a draped blanket. Thinks Mira, ":Tsk!: The things people do in public!" Okay, so that's supposed to mean that she was making an ass of herself. But why was Elly's babytalk okay but Mira's wasn't?

During the leadup to Christmas dinner, April asks why Mira always "wins everything. Mike an' Deanna always hafta go to her house for holidays...she gets to hold the baby more than we do...". Elly says it's not worth arguing about, because "it would just go on and on and on." Crimeny. This was only Mike and Dee's second Christmas as an officially married couple, so I don't know how "always" applies. And why shouldn't she be allowed equal time? The Pattersons Redux do get to Elly and John's on Christmas Day; it's not like Mira holds them hostage. Is Elly supposed to own Christmas or something?

No New Years' friction, since Evil Therese has not been introduced yet. And that's it for the strips that are no longer on the official site. Just two more items of note: When Mike and Weed went to Japan, there was a strip with Mike in a cafe surrounded by people jabbering on cell phones. Turns out the Japanese characters were actual dialogue. Some of which referenced Canada. And after the sequence that ends with Mr. B buried under Farley's tree, there's a sketch of the two of them frolicking in the clouds. Awwwwwww...

Monday, May 16

Badly drawn butts: Well, I have to give Lovey some slack, because, well, she's old. But my gosh, why show her in the position she's in in panel 5?

Panel 1: And what a gruesome fish face. Again, sorry, but...uchhhh.

Panel 2: Hm. Well, it looks as if Lynn's breaking her rule against anything really bad happening to a Patterson. But why is Merrie so ominously silent, after she was "AHHH WAHHHHH"ing in the last strip?

Panel 3: And that's the toy she was riding. Okay, look. I know you can't keep your eye on a kid every. single. second. And you can't always predict what a 2 1/2 year old will do either. But Merrie doesn't appear able to tell anyone what happened, so Dee must have already been aware that Merrie was riding that fish-car, or whatever it is, that does not look as if it was designed to support a little kid. So why was she allowed to do that? And why was she out in the hall after Mike told her they had to be quiet?

Panel 4: So SeaweedSpit confirms her evilness, first by rubbernecking, and now by continuing the discussion about noise. Man...This is one of the worst positions to be in. Your grievance doesn't go away just because there was an accident, but if you pursue it, you look like the most heartless person in the universe.

And how is it that Deanna's torso is facing the viewer head on, while her legs are turned at a 45-degree angle? Did she fall down the stairs, too, and put her hips out of joint?

Panel 5: Yes, that's right. How dare SeaweedSpit think of anything except this completely preventable accident. No, she's not being tactful by wanting to talk about the noise problem right then, but crimeny, the whole world does not revolve around the Pattersons and their spawn. Now they're completely off the hook because Merrie broke her arm?