June 9th, 2006


Saturday, June 10, 2006

Panel 1: I just noticed an interesting trend. The last 2 weeks, the background artist took a vacation on Thursday and Saturday. Someone spilled something on the table, as we see John Patterson get cheaper and cheaper with each succeeding strip. It’s hard to believe this is the same guy who dropped a small fortune for a new car recently. Where is he going with this? Will Monday’s strip involve shopping for larger and larger urns in the hope that everyone in the family will agree to get cremated and share the same urn? John will say, “Look April, Elly and I will only take up 1 litre, so with the 5 litre urn, there will be enough space for you, your husband, your children and maybe even a grandchild or two.” And I must say, this newspaper advertisement has a lot of information in it on burial options. The conversation is disturbing April so much, you can see her pants dropping and exposing her navel in rebellion. Or possibly she is disturbed by the fact that if her mother didn’t have that bun, there would be no way to tell the difference between her mom and dad.

Panel 2: A sudden pull of gravity takes April’s pants down even further and also drags her pony tail down to brush across her left shoulder, when previously it was elevated above her neck line. The gravity also takes Elly’s left arm that was holding the newspaper in the previous panel, completely off panel. April crosses the table from the previous panel to address John directly, but you will notice that John does not say one more word on the subject. Elly responds for him in this panel and all the panels that follow and she does not look at April even once while she is responding.

Panel 3: Elly delivers the moral of the strip and really the moral for this entire week of strips. John watches April close her eyes and stalk off, perhaps worried she will run into something, or perhaps he is surprised her pony tail has returned back to its original position. He should be a little surprised that April is having this strong a reaction. It seems a little excessive to me with the “Aagh!” and the 3 exclamation marks-shouting that will occur in the next panel.

Panel 4: April goes to silhouette. John has a very odd expression on his face, like he is befuddled and bemused at the same time. Neither he nor the suddenly taller Elly is looking at the departing April, nor are they looking at each other. April delivers the straight line and the joke comes from Elly who is trying to say, people don’t make burial plans because they don’t like to talk about it. And this is a joke because… I am drawing blanks again. This is, in fact, the exact reason why people don’t do it. Is this one of those “It’s funny, because it’s true” moments? Based on that method of humour, they could do jokes about living wills, organ donation, or the euthanasia of the family pets in the weeks to follow. People don’t like to deal with those things either. Think of the comic possibilities. I wish Lynn Johnston had some product placement as a part of this strip, so then I could understand why she is taking a whole week with this painfully unfunny material. I know people don’t like the monthly letters as strip supplements, but this is one of those stories I would have much preferred to be a monthly letter only story.