January 14th, 2007


Has a nice ring, doesn't it? There are so many new members, and possibly more to come, I've decided to put a FAQ out in the open.

I don't get it about Paul's transfer. Wasn't he already in Spruce Narrows?

When Elly met Paul, he was stationed in Otter County. http://www.fborfw.com/strip_fix/archives/001394.php After he and Liz became involved, he told her he'd applied for a transfer to Spruce Narrows, an hour or so away from Mtig. http://www.fborfw.com/strip_fix/archives/001660.php Liz did not ask Paul to make the transfer to Spruce Narrows. It was his own idea. When she told him she was going back down south, his Spruce Narrows transfer had not yet been granted. http://www.fborfw.com/strip_fix/archives/001830.php Liz suggested he ask for another transfer south (nowhere specific, just "south") and he half-heartedly agreed. http://www.fborfw.com/strip_fix/archives/001834.php As for when the SN transfer was approved, we don't know.

Now, who's Warren?

Warren was a guy Liz met on the bus to uni, after she broke up with Eric. She made a concerted effort to keep him at arm's length, but it seemed that she did have feelings for him. After a long period of non-communication, he turned up at her uni graduation. http://www.fborfw.com/strip_fix/archives/2004_06.php Later, they fell out of touch again, and Liz was saddened by this. http://www.fborfw.com/strip_fix/archives/000724.php Last December, he made another of his surprise appearances, but Liz claimed to have chosen Paul over him. http://www.fborfw.com/strip_fix/archives/2005_12.php

Eric? Is that the guy she beat with a frying pan?

NOBODY beat Eric with a frying pan. Liz lived with him for a while in uni. He was cheating on her with a girl named Tina, telling Tina that Liz was merely a roommate, and refusing to explain his absences to Liz at all. When Liz confronted him at Tina's apartment, the two girls did beat him with their fists, but the cooking pot (not even a frying pan) is just something Tina brandished at him while ordering him to leave. http://www.chron.com/apps/comics/showComic.mpl?date=2002/4/1&week=1&name=For_Better_Or_Worse

So did Liz lose her virginity with Eric, or what?

Lynn was deliberately coy about this. Liz did insist on having her own bedroom, although Eric reminded her that "You won't be using it much!" Good cases can be made for both sides, but there was never a scene in which Liz firmly refused to sleep with him, nor one wherein she accepted. So it's "up to the readers' imaginations!" as Lynn giggled at the time.

How come Merrie went downstairs to a Christmas tree and presents on Christmas morning, after the apartment fire had taken place? Continuity error!

Not quite. The 12/25/06 strip took place at John and Elly's house. Mike and Deanna never had a downstairs. It is a bit of a continuity error in that Merrie should only have gotten to sleep at the time she first creeps downstairs, but the apartment was not magically restored, because that's not the apartment.

What are these retcons? What IS a retcon?

The term retcon means retroactive continuity: a device for backtracking in order to fill in plot holes. The FOOB retcons can be found here: http://www.fborfw.com/char_pgs/elly/index.php?page=letters Check each character name for their spin on recent events in the strip. Many key events have been covered in the letters only, much to snarkers' frustration and scorn, and the letters have been known to create continuity errors. Check in at the January/February changeover: I can't wait to hear how they're going to finish the job of assassinating Paul's character.

Who's Gary? Who's Viv?

Gary is the principal, head teacher, whatever you call him, at the Mtig school. Viv is his wife, and in charge of the nursing station in Mtig. Check the Who's Who for any other characters you're unclear on. http://www.fborfw.com/features/who/

What does Anthony do for a living?

Granthony, as we call him, is the accountant for Mayes Midtown Motors, the empire of Mike's friend Gordon Mayes. I'm not sure it was his idea to sell cinnamon buns in the coffee shop, but he will be forever associated with them. http://www.fborfw.com/strip_fix/archives/001756.php

Why do you call him Granthony?

Grandpa + Anthony = Granthony. Because he looks so damn old. Also known as Blandthony, Blechthony, and Pornstache, because his mustache makes him look like a 1970s porn actor. And the pairing of Liz and Anthony is Lizthony.

Speaking of that, what is Chudsers?

The sledgehammer of foreshadowing came down when Susan came to see Liz at the same time Paul arrived for a visit. http://www.fborfw.com/strip_fix/archives/001872.php Chipper + Suds = Chudsers.

I've heard the strip is ending, but I've also heard talk about a "hybrid strip". What's up with that?

The strip was supposed to end in September 2007, but Lynn recently announced plans to continue beyond that. I'm still not clear on what a hybrid strip is, but you can read about it here. http://www.comicsreporter.com/index.php/editor_and_publisher_for_better_or_for_worse_to_stay_on_as_hybrid/ Maybe YOU can explain it to ME.

My post doesn't show up right away. What's going on?

I chose to disable anonymous comments after we had a troll. Don't sweat; I'll unscreen your comment after I've seen it. Unless you're insulting people. We're here to snark on Lynn, the Lynnions, and the characters, not each other.

And what are the Lynnions?

Lynn Johnston has a lot of staff working for her. http://www.fborfw.com/behind_the_scenes/studio/
http://www.fborfw.com/features/makingof/ This may account for the disjointedness of the storytelling in the past few years. Also, we suspect that Lynn doesn't take suggestions terribly well. Lynn + minions = Lynnions.

Now, what's a foob?

Lynn invents much of her teen slang, on the grounds that she doesn't want to use terms that will become outdated.

http://www.fborfw.com/strip_fix/archives/000113.php http://www.fborfw.com/strip_fix/archives/000114.php

The word is close enough to the acronym FBOFW that it became the snarkers' term for the strip.

And what are Yahoovians?

Members of the Yahoo! FBOFW group. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/fbofw/ A great many of them are pro-Granthony, and they are generally pro-Lynn. Engage them at your own risk.

How do you get the strip so early?

I use Yahoo comics, which updates at midnight EST. http://news.yahoo.com/comics/forbetterorforworse;_ylt=Avu8l4HBw6kEhZt3qOWpwzPe7isC;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl Gotta remember to include the link in the daily entries! During the current arc, people have been employing other sources, but I can't be sure of their continued availability, so I won't link to them.

Why are Mike and Deanna so poor? Did Mike quit his job at the magazine or something?

Mike never quit Portrait. He was dismissed as a reporter, then handed the editorial position.

Timeline was like this. Mike was writing articles for Portrait. Weed wanted Mike to work exclusively with him. Deanna announced that she was pregnant. Mike had to chuck the idea of being a globetrotting journalist with Weed, and stick with Portrait full-time while accepting such freelance assignments as he could complete without going anywhere.

Shortly after Merrie was born, Portrait sent Mike and Weed to Japan to interview Divala, an egotistical designer. Mike ended up doing an expose instead of a fluff piece. Divala threatened a lawsuit, and Portrait panicked and ordered Mike to write a retraction. Mike refused and was fired. Months later, he dropped by Portrait and was told there'd been a shakeup, the former senior editor was history, and would Mike be interested?

Mike took the senior editorship, and this is where it really starts getting implausible. Instead of focusing entirely on Portrait, he nearly doubled his freelance jobs, while still fulfilling his editorial duties. Deanna pleaded with him to drop one or the other, preferably Portrait, because she knew how much writing his own stuff meant to him, and assured him that they could get by comfortably on her salary plus his freelance. Instead, he started writing the Saga of Sheilagh.

But Mike and Deanna have to be poor, and at the same time terrifically successful at what they do (well, we never hear about Deanna being a bad pharmacist, except for the "planned accident", but the woman's job doesn't count anyway), because that is the logic of the FOOBiverse. Conflict cannot be a Patterson's fault. Bad circumstances have to be beyond their control. So Mike and Deanna work and work and never get anywhere in order for them to be martyrs.

What planned accident?

I don't have links to it, but when Deanna announced her pregancy, about one month after the honeymoon, she told Mike (right in front of Weed, incidentally...odd) that she had been changing birth control prescriptions, and had taken a month off in order to let the old pills clear out of her system. So she had no protection at all while she and Mike were on their honeymoon, and this is somehow NOT inconsistent with her being a licensed pharmacist. And she never told Mike that she was live without a net, and this is somehow NOT a betrayal of trust.

When Liz told her friend Candace that she was going to be an aunt, Candace asked, "Planned or accident?...Deanna's a pharmacist, right?...So it was a planned accident!" That was the extent of any speculation about Deanna's intentions, but the phrase has lived on among snarkers.

Hope this helps!

Fiction overload!

About one second after I told the third person that I would post their fic on Monday, I remembered that Monday is a holiday. So here are the links/fics!

Chapter 27 of Finding Elizabeth: http://ellcee.livejournal.com/66240.html?mode=reply

Chapter 2 of jdobrian's fic: http://www.network54.com/Forum/72035/

And chapter 2 of raeling's fic!

Warren was already up when Paul groaned his way into consciousness.

"Good morning. Sounds like last night caught up with you." He shut his laptop and strolled over to the bathroom. "I'll get you a glass of water. Don't open your eyes." From the louder, more despairing groan that drifted in from the bed, Warren guessed that Paul had not followed his advice. "Well, suit yourself."

"I can't believe I did that..." Paul's face was buried in the pillow.

"I have to say, I was surprised too. Not just about the drinking- surprised that you realized how much she's jerking you around." Warren sat on the edge of the mattress, lightly prodding Paul to sit up.

"Nngh. Why're you..." Fumbling for words, Paul propped himself up on his elbow.

"Just drink."

They passed the next few minutes in silence, Paul sucking down the tap water and Warren idly staring down at the other man. It was surprisingly comfortable.

"What did she do this time?" Warren asked, his voice this time gentler.

"She's leaving Mtigwaki. She asked- she asked me to transfer up to Spruce Narrows to be with her! I thought this was it, I thought we were getting serious, but then all of a sudden she says she's lonely, says she wants to go back South-!" Paul's voice choked and he sat up, pressing his hand to his forehead.

"Oh, that's bad. That's worse than her usual." Warren slung an arm over Paul's broad shoulders, trying to make the physical contact seem natural and comforting rather than awkward.

"What are you talking about? You keep saying...her usual?" Paul's body was heavy against Warren's side and his breath smelled sour and alcohol-tinged.

"Elizabeth Patterson's pulled this shit before. With me, specifically. When I saw her ditching you in White River to pick up a ride with me, that's when I knew there was no future in it." Warren patted his shoulder in his best brotherly manner.

"You can't mean that..." A deep groan.

"Look, don't think too hard right now. I'm betting you're not used to being hung over. Let me brew you some coffee. It won't always be this bad."

"You mean my hangover or my girlfriend?"

"Yeah, you interpret that however you like."

Tuesday, January 16

"An'"s: One.

Panel 1: Well, at least Liz is honoring her promise to visit Jesse. And we've got our answer: Aunt Marg is Margaret, not Margery or whatever else we thought. I wonder if this is another day, not the same day as the stick-to-your-own-kind speech.

Panel 2: Uh, yeah, Liz, people do change when you're away from them. But you always were one for pointing out the obvious. And...harmonica? Also, I love the bit about "when he goes." Looks as if Susan lacks at least one ascendancy over Liz: she can't get the kids to attend school regularly either. Wonder if Marg is okay with that, the way she phrases it.

Panel 3: Hm. My first reaction was "That fracking little brat!" But then I realized that it's not uncommon for a kid to pilfer stuff from a person they care about, so they can feel closer to them. Then again, Jesse is getting kind of old for that, AND, it's not like Liz didn't give him plenty of attention when she was in Mtig. I dunno.

Panel 4: And he feels all guilty. Typical FOOB logic: don't call someone on their actions, just wait for their conscience to catch up with them. Although I have to wonder: did Liz ever notice that the harmonica was not among her possessions? And furthermore, how did Jesse get his hands on it? Did he sneak into her house when she wasn't in? Did Liz allow him too much access to her stuff? Either way, cree-pee.

More to come!

Wednesday, January 17

Panel 1: Well, I guess "private chats" between an adult and a minor are okay when the adult is no longer the minor's teacher. Lucky for Liz that the natives are too noble to get hung up on white-man concepts like inappropriate contact.

Panel 2: He knew it was her grandpa's harmonica? Did she ever play it for the kids? Or did she just show it to Jesse when he was stalking her over at her house? In any event, I'd like to be sympathetic, really I would, especially since I did the same thing once when I was a little younger than Jesse (not a harmonica; a book). But although I was forgiven, I was also told in no uncertain terms that stealing is wrong, and furthermore, I had betrayed that person's trust. I don't anticipate that Liz will bring up either of those concepts.

Panel 3: Oh please. Does Liz remember that the harmonica was a gift from April? http://www.fborfw.com/strip_fix/archives/000605.php Probably not. Of course, Liz is free to do as she likes with it, but since when does she owe it to Jesse? Was she supposed to anticipate that he would want it? I mean, was it something that she knew he coveted (like my cousin knew I coveted the book)? Or is she just responding out of guilt and her mind-boggling susceptibility to manipulation? At any rate, it doesn't seem to mean much to Liz that April gave it to her out of love. It wasn't Jim's when Liz acquired it; it was APRIL'S. And she doesn't even get mentioned!

Panel 4: I'd like to say I'm touched, but I bet Jesse will soon become more interested in playing with that basketball in the background. And he probably won't remember Liz for long. Oh, who am I kidding. In another six years, he'll be traveling south to declare himself to her.

Panel 5: That's not a gift, you idiot. It's a message that you skipped out on your commitment. And what did you teach him, anyway, when he was even in school?

Thursday, January 18

Panel 1: Yeah, she's discharged her duties, and she'll never cast a shadow in Mtig again.

Panel 2: I can't tell if Gary thinks Liz should confront Paul, or if that's just the way his face is. These people flip-flop faster than Olympic gymnasts.

Panel 3: Why do they keep saying "Coming!" like they're rubbing it in?

Panel 4: Now that's interesting: Susan clinging to Paul's arm and looking scared. Did she know that Liz still thought she and Paul were together? And Paul's got his guard up too. Jeez, they're smearing his character so bad!

Panel 5: That's the exact same angle as in her "it just happened" panel! And the way her lips are drawn makes her look like she has a mustache. Oh please, not that...

Panel 6: I guess that's as close to "FOAD" as a Patterson will ever get. But who is she directing it at? Them, or the Mtigians who thought it was none of their business? And can they even hear her, at that distance?

Friday, January 19

Panel 1: Why does everyone think it's so superawesomeamazing that Liz gets to ride in a helicopter? I'm sure the Mtigians have seen helicopters before, especially since they have a landing strip an' everything. And is Liz just answering Gary for the sake of it, or is she truly unaware of the cost (literal and figurative) of a ride with Warren?

Panel 2: Well, that's a nice little moment. Can a heli really land on snow like that, though? ETA: And "Thanks for the smiles"? Has everyone been laughing at her? Like "The white goose is stewing in her own juice"?

Panel 3: That's actually good advice. Although I hope love doesn't come again bearing cinnamon buns.

Panel 4: Oh come ON. Is Liz that really idiotic, that she'd get so close to the heli before the propeller stopped moving? Or is the prop as unbalanced as it looks in the previous panel? In which case Warren would be the idiot for landing so close to them. Unless it's a matter of Liz and Gary standing and waiting too close to the landing strip. Ah heck: SOMEBODY had to be stupid, in order to set up that stupid punchline.

Still and all, my mom will be sqeeing with delight to see this blatant foreshadowing in Warren's favor. That IS Warren, you know: I had to look three times before I realized it. He looks like the love child of Howard and Susan, but it's him. And he's giving Liz that look. Crimeny.

Saturday, January 20

Panel 1: Oh, ugh. It sounds like she's ready to submit to him as the captain of her heart. One point in his favor, from Liz's standpoint: "Ready to roll?" is what John says, so that's one way in which Warren is "like Dad!" Or does everyone in Ontario say that?

Panel 2: Oh lord, here it comes.

Panel 3: Oh, CRUD. Why? Why do we only get a hit on the predictions we DON'T want to be accurate? I would say I hope he's about to say "HA-ha!" but we know that won't happen either.

Panel 4: I still have a hard time believing this. Who would care that much about one schoolteacher and/or one cop? Are the goings-on in Mtig a constant source of gossip? Is the social life of every officer in the OPP fully documented? Or is everyone tuned in to news that affects Liz? OR, is this a matter of Warren actively sniffing around, asking about Paul, his competition, so he would know if and when he could make a play for Liz again? And for once, I don't blame Liz for being pissed. The Mtigians may not have been obligated to tell her anything, but Warren deliberately set her up, for his own ultimate purpose.

And also, this seems to support the theory that Paul and Susan have been involved for some time! Not just a recent development, for which we were all giving them the benefit of the doubt! So I guess it's settled: Paul is a lying bastard, Warren is a manipulator, and Granthony never does anything wrong (that a Patterson will admit to). Poor Stachio is just a victim of circumstances, and will soon join his fellow victim in the garden of love.

Panel 5: It's like someone said last week. No one gets over Liz, ever. I'd look like that too, if I were her. You didn't "leave off," Warren. You were over. Not on a break, not seeing other people. When you last saw her in 2005, she was with someone else. You said yourself that you'd been dating other people, so why are you acting like Liz is the only single woman on earth?