June 22nd, 2006

Overwhelming evidence says: Liz is a craptacular teacher.

So, Liz is asked by her successor for advice on teaching. The first thing that comes to her mind is a dismissive, hollow platitude: "The children will teach you everything you need to know." This gives Susan no help whatsoever.

But, on second thought, Liz comes up with a specific piece of wisdom. What is it? "In the winter, it's cold. You will need to come up with a lot of indoor games." Let's now review all the myriad ways this is stupid:

1. Susan is Native, and therefore from the north. She knows the winters are too cold to go outside. Liz is either an idiot for not realizing this, or she is a patronizing bitch who is treating Susan like a Grade A idiot. The former is more in character.

2. GAMES?!? The most important specific piece of advice Liz has is about playing lots of GAMES?!?

What does Liz do in that classroom? We've heard about field trips to look at the stars, about how her students are chronically truant, about how she frequently has to ditch the lesson plan in favor of something more fun--like a DVD--to keep the students who show up entertained, denying them an education until the truant kids show up again, so they don't fall behind. We've seen that when Liz needs a sick day, instead of getting her two(!!!) attending pupils into Gary's class, where they might learn something, she takes them home with her to watch TV and expose them to the dreaded green eye fungus. We have never heard Liz say anything substantive, like, "English skills need work," or "I am trying to think of a way to work on the chronic truancy problem," or even "We have a weekly spelling bee, and we're making math flashcards."

Then Liz quickly changes the subject from teaching to the wonderfulness of the free apartment (that you can only have nine months out of the year). Probably to get off that awkward subject of, you know, teaching skills. Whew.

Verdict: Liz is a crap teacher who doesn't know her ass from her elbow. Since Lynn clearly wants us to believe Liz is the Best! Teacher! Evah!, I'm guessing this unfortunate portrayal is the result of Lynn(ions) not wanting to do any actual research into teaching methods.

Ooookay, so, how does Susan react to this craptastic advice? She apparently doesn't think it's inane at all! Instead of being offended, she is curious about the oh-so-fascinating nitwit white girl teacher's personal life! "You don't want to leave, do you?" Where did Susan come up with this insight? From what we've seen, Liz has given Susan no basis for this conclusion. In fact, Liz has not paused in her packing since Susan arrived. She never even stopped to offer Susan a drink apparently. Nope, there's no drink in Susan's hand. Liz kept cramming stuff into boxes and suitcases at a brisk pace, and even enlisted Susan to help. My reaction?

1) That's hospitality for you! --AND
2) Liz can't wait to get the hell out of town.

So Susan is pulling this idea right out of her ass. Or maybe we're meant to believe she's some kind of mystical First Nations mindreader? Because of course she's right, Liz does have some feelings of wanting to stay.

Specifically, Liz says, "I don't want to go, but I can't stay. I miss my home." Again with the sudden rush of homesickness that has made it imperative for her to blow this popstand ASAP. I think the "can't" is Liz exaggerating the situation. Of course she could stay. She was perfectly functional in Mtigwaki; homesickness didn't override all joy. It's not a matter of can't, but "don't want to." So, why does she say "can't"? Because Liz "can't" take responsibility for her own actions. She "can't" admit that she is running away and leaving poor, newly transferred Paul high and dry after leading him to believe that she'd be there with him and for him.

The subject then makes a hamhanded change to Susan saying Mtigwaki feels like home to her. Duh, we all know Susan is Native and from the north! And then she feels compelled to note that Mtigwakians have fewer cars than people do in her village. From me, that gets a big "so what?"

But, it's the set-up for the final "joke." Susan says that they can't drive the cars in the winter anyway! Ha ha! Didn't you all just bust a gut laughing?! Damn, that's comedy gold!!! See, Liz is practically doubled over in her background silhouette! But...there's something fishy about that silhouette. Look closely. There's no sticky-outty tongue. Either Liz has learned not to do the sticky-outty tongue laugh--doubtful--or she is faking her laughter. Lynn says the sticky-outty tongue laugh is essential to convey hilarity in a comic strip. So perhaps this is a subtle slam on Susan. Like, "Ha ha, native girl--you're not really funny like a Patterson, but we'll humor you anyway!"

All in all, a ham-fisted, idiotic mess of a strip. D-.

This post is brought to you by my cat Rex, who would not stay out of my lap while I wrote this. In fact, he has something to say to you all:

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Rough translation: Look at me, fooby losers! Pet me! Love me! Pet me! Petmepetmestoptypingmomandpetmedammit!!!



Rough translation: Shiimsa sucks.

Susan's raison d'etre.

From her biography at the Who's Who on FBOFW.com:

Susan Dokis

Associated with: Liz

About Susan: Susan Dokis is a Native teacher who first came to assist Liz in her Mtigwaki classroom and later decided to take over for Liz, who opted to leave Mtigwaki after the 2005-2006 school year.

Looks like Susan will be taking over for Liz in more ways than one. She will make us not hate Liz for abandoning Mtigwaki's adorable little scampy schoolchildren because she's there to step in, and with better Native Studies credentials than Liz could ever hope to possess.

And, perhaps more importantly, Susan will let Liz off the hook for her horrible maltreatment of Paul, because Paul and Susan are going to fall head over heels in love with each other in 5, 4, 3, 2...

I want to scream "lamest plot device evah!", but that award probably goes to the Howard the Go-Afterer from last summer.

Only way this will be saved for me: if Paul cheats on Liz with Susan--whose ass he is already groping with both hands!! This Eric Redux leads Liz to swear off men forever. She becomes a nun and teaches children at Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow Day School in Milborough until the ripe old age of 98.

Of course, we all know that that sort of development would just send her back into the arms of Anthony, the only man who was ever faithful to her. And who was recently cuckolded himself by an Evil Frenchy. Hey, turns out you can't trust any of the ethnicities that reside in Ontario as a romantic partner, except for "white suburban lame-o." Those Frenchies and the aboriginals are from inferior genetic stock, and thus do not have the same high morals. Le sigh.

Well, either way, whether Paul cheats or not--it's absolutely 100% official now. Liz and Anthony, wedding date 2007. If not before.

Gosh Susan, thanks so much for stepping up and bravely taking on Liz's sloppy seconds so that her sainted Patterson status can remain intact. You're a mensch. Or whatever the Ojibwe word for "mensch" is. Howard, an assist please?

ETA: Notice that Liz's total reluctance to actually talk to the people in her life made this surprise possible. If Liz had ever talked to Paul about the basic news in her life--"Guess what? There was a student teacher named Susan Dokis. Oh, did I mention that a woman names Susan Dokis is taking my place?"--there would be no surprise. Paul would already be half-expecting to know her. Ditto if Liz had ever even bothered to say her boyfriend's name to Susan, but no, not even his name passed her lips. Keep it up, Liz, you repressed, emotionally withholding, passive-aggressive little harpy. This trait makes you perfect for Milborough and for Granthony.