June 18th, 2006

Liz the Liar

Wow, so "Miss Patterson" was planning to end the school year without mentioning to her students that she was leaving? Nice! Ellen has to prompt her to reveal that they will have a new teacher then next year. Even the grade school teachers I had told us if they were moving away, or taking a year off to have a baby, or whatever--even though we had a new teacher every single year. And one of my law school professors--a guy who is famous and sought-after enough that he worked on the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court case, took the time to personally write a letter to our class about our time together and the future and so forth. But I guess it just didn't occur to poor, simple Miss Patterson. I guess she hasn't learned the importance of community after all.

And the last panels--Liz is a liar. If Liz ever returns to Mtigwaki IN THE STRIP--the only place that it matters--I will eat my hat. Lynn can have her underlings write whatever she likes in those monthly letters, but if a story matters, it should show up in the strip. We've seen that it's important enough to the characters to spend weeks shopping for burial plots, and mooning over fancy new cars. Let's just see if it's important enough to show Liz returning to Mtigwaki. I'm guessing not.

In previous strips, Liz suggested that Jesse and his aunt could come to see her in the city. First, I think that's incredibly rude and ridiculous. They're shown to be a poor family. Have they ever traveled beyond Spruce Narrows? Do they even have a car? Can Auntie Marg take that kind of time off from whatever job she has that allows her to raise her nephew (and presumably other children)? Second, it places the onus of maintaining the relationship on a SEVEN YEAR OLD CHILD. So, IMHO, a visit in the south from Jesse does not fulfill Liz's promise to still care about the kid.

Many times in the strip and in the monthly letters, Liz talked about how white people from the south never stay in the north, and though she never openly accepted the challenge and announced, "I will be different!", her talk about the issue was always fairly smug and dismissive, IMHO, like she believed she was better than that. Now, here she is, running off with her tail between her legs, and we see that Ms. Smug doesn't really care about the impact of her decision. This makes her look even worse than she would have otherwise.

Finally, take a good look at Liz. Whoever is drawing the strip this week can't draw her. In the second panel, she has a large, ponderous bosom and an hourglass waist, her torso the shape that women used to have back in the days of corsets. Liz's arms are extremely slender, and are awkwardly hung from her shoulder sockets. Her face is long and narrow, and her features are drawn too large, which makes her face look swollen.

In the third panel, we see that Liz suddenly has the beginnings of a dowager's hump.

In the fourth panel, Liz looks almost normal, except that she looks a little taller and a little slimmer than usual. This is not the chunky Liz who inhales Aunt Marg's stolen pies or who sits on the end of her desk, flipping her hair and tossing an apple in the air. Where'd she go?

In the fifth panel, Liz looks truly frightening. The corset figure is back. Her facial features are not those of a Patterson. She has the face of one of those old man Muppets who heckled from the balcony. And her eyes have opened so unnaturally wide that they really do look like china saucers. I wonder if she opened them that wide with the intention of making aggressive eye contact with Jesse. Maybe she read in a book that eye contact connotes sincerity. Maybe she is hoping to fake him out so he doesn't realize that this is his last appearance in the strip, ever.

Strangely enough, the artist draws the children pretty well. Jesse is back to his old pre-pubescent self. Last time we saw him, he had suddenly sprouted into a surly teenager.