August 23rd, 2008

Snarky Candiru2

Sunday, 24 August 2008

As you know, Lynn likes to save really big events for the Sunday-only crowd. It's a wall of text that climaxes with a glurgey thought bubble and leads to the coda which will dominate the last week of the strip.

Panel 1: We start off John marching down the aisle with Liz as the bridal party looks on. He consoles himself that he's not losing a daughter.

Panel 2: He's gaining an appalling jackass who would be spurned like a rabid dog by decent peopleaccountant. Opportunistic, much, JSTF?

Panel 3: The Officiant reminds us that they are here in front of their parents and Elizabeth's friends, Anthony not having any, to witness their marriage and their lifelong commitment to being the slaves of Elly's need to have a place to live when John dies.

Panel 4: He then warns us we're going to be spending the rest of this week listening to their vows being read.

Panel 5: They stare knowingly at each other as they're reminded that marriage is the most important commitment that can be made and should be honored no matter what. Unless, of course, you marry an evil career woman who expects you to live up to promises you make with your fingers crossed. Then all bets are off.

Panel 6: He then reminds us that marriage is a challenge as well as convincing yourself that despite contrary evidence, you're experiencing Love, thoughtfulness, truth and a whole host of good qualities the Pattersons wouldn't recognize if they bit them on the arse.

Panel 7: Having read this glurge long enough to have his beard start to re-grow, the man than states that they'll soon stand to understand one another. Given how shallow these two are, I think they'll spend their lives in denial like their parents.

Panel 8: Marriage is conning yourself into believing your husband respects you. Marriage is whipping a coffee cup at him when he either shows signs that he doesn't or says something you don't agree with at that moment.

Panel 9: Above all else, it's a promise made over and over again to never ask yourself if you could have done better. Like Liz and Anthony, John and Elly keep making it.

Prediction: As has been long predicted, a phrase of the wedding vows will be associated with each couple in the coming six strips. Therese will not appear. There will be nothing else but Elly asking herself what will happen in the years to follow and Lynn's response: the Strip of Destiny.

Collection Recap: "It's the Thought That Counts"

This 15th anniversary collection begins with further details of Lynn's life and work.  For the first time she tells the story of being asked how long the lead-in is before strips are published ("Six weeks dailies, eight weeks Sundays") and threatening to get a t-shirt bearing these words.  In this instance it is attributed to Jim Davis of Garfield fame -- in more recent interviews, Lynn takes credit.  In the intro she writes of how her characters speak to her and also that, while Elizabeth's school is her daughter Katie's school, and Elizabeth's body language and speech patterns are similar to Katie's, Elizabeth is also Lynn, with Lynn's childhood memories, private thoughts, passions, goals and fears.

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Collection Recap: "That's not How They Do It on TV!" (1992-93)

Where every other person is named Ray for some reason...

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Incidental characters:
  • Lorne Blum, Rhetta’s brother, and Rhetta’s unnamed parents
  • Dallas, one of the other Megafood staffers
  • Ray, works at the car wash with Lawrence
  • Ray, the police dispatcher who sends more cars to the protest
  • Ray Daly, owner of Daly’s Garage
  • Wesley D. Bates, classmate of Mike’s and the protest organizer
  • Clint Whiffle of CBV News, who interviews Mike
  • Matt, one of the police officers who finds Mike and Rhetta in the car
Biographical information:
  • Mike starts working at Megafood and Gord starts working at the garage
  • Lawrence and Greg both enjoy gardening
  • Mike and Rhetta see “Attack of the Wart People” on their first date (starting Bunny Hoest, John Reiner, Fred Lasswell, Mell Lazarus and Bud Grace)
  • Tracey plays volleyball
  • By autumn Mike has saved $1,000 towards a car but can’t find anything he can afford.
  • Mike describes his parents to Rhetta as follows: Elly “organizes programs an’ stuff for the library. She writes a bit – doesn’t know what a computer is! – if she’d go back to school, she could be something! She talks a lot, an’ she has this laugh that drives me crazy!” John “tells terrible jokes an’ constantly stirs his coffee – even when it’s cold! – The guy likes accordion music!”
  • Dawn and Liz are both in the school choir; Anthony is not
  • Elly gets Christmas presents for the postman, the paper girl, the sanitation guys and the courier
  • Becky calls April “Aypo”
  • April swallows a button but it is recovered several days later, only for her to pop it back into her mouth (after Liz has washed it, of course!)
  • At Valentine’s Day 1994 John comments that he and Elly have been married for almost 20 years and have a son who is almost ready for college and a daughter who is almost 13
  • Elly was born in 1950
  • April turns three and has a three-hour birthday party with 8 friends
  • Lawrence will be going to university in Guelph and Mike in London (Ontario – see Inconsistencies)
  • Gord is 19 and Mike is 18 by the spring of 1994
With the addition on the house almost finished, Elly starts decorating the new bedroom. Mike is hired at Megafood. Brian’s summer job is to work for his father again, Lawrence has a job at the car wash and Gord is pumping gas at the gas bar on 7th and thinks that he might get to work in the garage. The job at Megafood comes with a uniform – black bow tie and trousers, white shirt – and a pretty girl at checkout six: Rhetta Blum. She has dark brown hair, green eyes, a nice voice and a great smile. Mike tells himself to stop thinking about her – he wants complete and total freedom, not another relationship – then looks at her and reconsiders. He catches up with Gord at the garage and Gord suggests that Mike and Rhetta go out with him and Tracey. Mike asks around at work and no one knows whether or not Rhetta is single, but just as he’s about to ask her out, another guy comes to pick her up. Cue the usual misunderstandings, which last just over a week before Mike discovers that Lorne isn’t Rhetta’s boyfriend, but her older brother. 
When Mike gets a chance to drive Rhetta home in John’s sports car, he takes her to the car wash where Lawrence works but they can’t get the windows up in time and the interior gets soaked. John sees the good side – one day his kids will grow up and move out.  Mike and Rhetta’s first kiss is interrupted when her mother opens the door and invites him to come in and meet the family – and he passes their inspection.
Elly pressures Mike into inviting Rhetta over for dinner. She explains that she and John just want to meet the girl Mike spends so much time with, but don’t want to pry into his personal affairs, then adds that she tossed out two pairs of his undershorts and his sheets need changing. (I know I said I’d try to avoid editorializing, but…ew.) John tries to frighten Mike by turning up dishevelled, in an undershirt, dirty jeans and holding a can of beer. Rhetta finds the Pattersons to be really cool. After dinner Mike and Rhetta are banished to opposite ends of the rec room sofa as Liz sits between them Pattersnarfing popcorn, finally letting them know that she is open to bribes if they want her to leave. In the new year John tells Elly that he likes Rhetta, but Elly is worried that Mike and Rhetta are spending far too much time together, just as she’d worried previously about Mike and Martha. Mike drives Rhetta through a snow-covered park but their romantic encounter is interrupted by two police officers claiming to be doing a routine check for alcohol, drugs and firearms.
Elly empties out the drawers of her old bureau so Liz can move into the former master bedroom. As she shows Liz locks of hair and baby teeth she has saved, Mike tries on his mother’s girdle. April isn’t yet ready to say goodbye to her crib and sleep in Liz’s old bed, so climbs into bed in Liz’s new room.
It’s back to school for Mike and Liz, with April returning to the Little Dipper Daycare Center, where she is described as a bridge, active, challenging little girl. Mike and classmates are getting fed up about the ageing fleet of school buses and the 30% rise in student bus fares. When Wesley, a fellow student, organizes a protest outside Metro Bus Lines, Mike, Brian and Gord join enthusiastically, while a more hesitant Lawrence suggests that they should learn more about the issues first. The protest group blocks off the whole street, backing up traffic and the police come in to break it up. John sees Mike on the six o’clock news and drives out to the protest. On the way home, John points out that the fare hike will be 10% over the next three years and the city voted in favour of it the previous spring, but it also means that students can travel twice as far. He adds that ignorance isn’t bliss: it’s dangerous. Mike beats himself up over making a fool of himself and confesses to John that he feels so embarrassed for joining a rally when he didn’t even know what was happening.
Liz is still frustrated about her appearance, feeling that she looks ugly and a total dweeb. She asks Mike about what it’s like to be in a relationship and he suggests that there might be someone hanging around her all the time that she doesn’t even notice. She doesn’t believe him: she thinks she’d notice someone who was crazy about her – something she mulls over as she completely ignores a guy saying hi to her on the bus. He is by her locker when she’s there, watching her as she drinks from the water fountain, in the library when she is…she doesn’t even notice. Liz reads a romance novel about the love between “Paul” and “Emily” and throws it away in disgust: she feels that she would be pretty if only she had a different nose, no glasses, bigger eyes, whiter teeth, darker skin and a different body. Miss Edwards asks Liz to move some AV equipment and the unnamed boy offers to help, thought-bubbling about how much he likes her and hoping that it doesn’t show (I do hope he means that it’s his feelings which aren’t showing…). They go for lunch together and he thought-bubbles that he wishes that they were a couple like so many others in school. It isn’t until midway through the lunch that his name is finally revealed to be Anthony.
Liz finally notices that Anthony is always hanging around and mentions to Dawn that every time she turns around, there he is. When she leaves a choir practice, Anthony has been waiting in the library so he can catch the late bus home with her. While on the bus he has a fantasy about saving a drowning Liz from a freezing ocean and pressing his lips against hers.
Jim and Marian come out for Christmas again and Phil and Georgia collect them at the airport. Knowing that her parents are getting older, Elly lets them sleep in the master bedroom and she and John share the family room. Jim makes April shriek with laughter by popping out his dentures. Elly discovers that Jim has taken up smoking again – Marian is aware but Jim thinks she doesn’t know. Jim cheers Elizabeth by telling her that he’d bet on her breaking a few hearts before she’s 20 and that she is a real beauty, the catch of the day. Liz tells him that she thinks that Anthony likes her.
Anthony and Liz continue to thought-bubble at one another for weeks until Candace finally points out that he likes her: he borrowed Liz’s English marks even though his grades are better, he’s always around, he lends Liz stuff, he borrows stuff, he does things for her – what more proof does she need? Since Liz and Anthony appear to be too shy to get together on their own, Candace suggests that she and Dawn put a love note in his locker and say it’s from Liz. Candace writes, “I love you, Anthony” and signs it Elizabeth, but it falls out of Anthony’s text book before he can read it. Duane picks it up and threatens to read it and Anthony gets riled up over something he hasn’t yet seen or read, standing and shouting to Duane to give it back. Miss Edwards’ attention is alerted and she confiscates the note. Dawn panics that Miss Edwards will think it’s from Liz and says that it was a lousy thing to do in the first place, but Candace says Liz doesn’t need to know it was their idea. Miss Edwards returns the note to Anthony after class and Dawn snatches it before he can read it, then eats it. Duane teases Anthony that it must be a love note from Dawn and a jealous Liz runs away. Anthony chases after her and tells her that Dawn is just a friend, then kisses Liz.
Liz and Anthony’s first date is a bus trip to Eastgate Mall: he reads Comix Classics and she clings to a wallet or small book, then he challenges her to a race to the front entrance. They go to a double bill matinee at Movie Monsterama, share popcorn and leave laughing. He throws snow at her and she retaliates, then he takes the bus home and waves to her.
Elly and Connie think they know what their sons are planning to do after high school: Mike will go into journalism and Lawrence into plant sciences. Meanwhile, the two boys are shown saying that they have no idea what to do at university. Elly’s feet start getting hot at night and, as she approaches her 45th birthday, she and Connie discuss menopause. Mike and Liz hear her complaining to John about her age and menopause, and Mike remembers that Elly was born in 1950, so is only 44 this year, not 45.
Elly discovers a mouse in the kitchen. When Liz begs her not to kill the mouse, Elly buys a humane trap so she can set it free in the country, but Liz looked inside the trap en route and the mouse escaped into the car. When she caught him a second time, she took him out to the countryside and then got her car stuck in a ditch. John taunts her that he would have known to follow common sense if he had caught the mouse, so she hands him another full trap.
Gord, Mike and Brian go downhill skiing and Gord flirts with the female skiers, but admits that he is still going out with Tracey. He just wants to be on his own and check things out. The trio discuss their future plans: Brian is going to go into chemistry “or something” and Gord wants to stick to being a mechanic even though, in Brian’s words, he has the marks to be a lawyer and, “you know, go places!!” Mike thinks that he’ll write – be a journalist or something: his mother is looking into colleges he can attend. 
Mike and Gord spot Liz holding hands with some “geek” (Mike’s term) and go over to introduce themselves to Anthony (only Mike gets introduced), and Mike can’t believe that Liz is old enough to date.
The basement floods when the sump pump in the crawl space stops working in April 1994. Lawrence’s family had an extra pump and they were able to flush out the water, but everything in the rec room was soaked. The plumber says that the basement shouldn’t have flooded that badly and suspects that they’ll need all their weeping tiles replaced as well. The drywall also needs replacing. John says that they lost some books, the couch, carpet and most of the Christmas decorations, as well as the clinic records he kept in the crawl space. Their insurance doesn’t cover acts of God, so none of the damage is covered. John tries to look on the bright side, telling Connie that some people lose everything and have their entire home destroyed. Elly decides to redecorate the living room and move the old living room furniture into the basement.
Graduation day approaches. Lawrence isn’t sure he’ll attend the ceremony, even if it means passing up the chance to see Gord in a tux. Gord announces that he’s found a place to live: he’s going to rent an apartment over Ray Daly’s garage and he’ll be working there during the day and taking automotive courses at night. Mike suggests that he could save money by living at home, but Gord prefers to move out and save his sanity. He claims the Pattersons’ water-damaged sofa for his new place.
The collection ends as it began, with Elly looking at fabric samples and new furniture, but this time Mike interrupts to remind her of how little Gord has in his new place, and she takes over some household items to help him get settled – towels, mugs, a kettle. Gord hugs Elly before she leaves and that night, after discussing with John how grown up Mike and his friends are now, John goes up to Mike’s bedroom to tuck him in.
Recurring themes / This strip conserves punchlines
Elly orders new trees for the garden and immediately yells at Farley as he sniffs around the roots.
Elly is late going out for dinner after Liz criticizes every part of her outfit and makes her get changed.
Bad puns are starting to appear: Miss Edwards tells the girls that “Where there’s a wheel, there’s a way!”, John stirs his coffee with lots of “tink” noises: “I tink, therefore I am!!!”
When Mike asks Rhetta over for dinner, he can’t figure out why it’s such a big deal, as he Pattersnarfs his fries and drink. Rhetta suggests that you can tell a lot about a person by the way they eat.
April gets a cold and Elly stays up with her at night, then falls ill herself, losing her voice the next morning and having to nag by note…wait, didn’t I write this earlier?
April Who? At Valentine’s Day 1994 John comments that he and Elly have been married for almost 20 years and have a son who is almost ready for college and a daughter who is almost 13, but no mention is made of April.
Elly flaps her nightgown for the first time in 1994; John describes it as going through the “change of wife”.
Elly now nags both Mike and Liz about their messy bedrooms.
Farley’s sight and hearing are going.
April starts sneaking into Connie’s yard next door to see Sera.
Mike says specifically that Elly was born in 1950, which doesn’t fit with her previously-stated age of 32 in 1979 (when Mike was 6), but does match with her age of 39 in early 1989, except that she was also 39 in mid-1990.
Anthony shakes Mike’s hand because, for some reason, he had a wad of gum in it. It’s the same hand that was holding Liz’s hand just two panels earlier.
The first time we hear a mention of Mike’s future, Elly tells Connie that he will be going to “London, Ontario” for university, specifically saying the province name although the website claims that she initially didn’t say “London, Ontario” to make people think he was going to the UK.
Gord is back to being a year older than Mike – 19 to Mike’s 18. 
winding road

Thérèse timeline

So, I've made a start on Thérèse's biography, and I wanted to make sure I've got the details straight, and open things up for collaboration. Here's the timeline I've sketched out so far:

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Let me know if I've missed anything important, such as: When did Elizabeth move back from Mtigwaki? Anthony started pursuing her pretty soon after that, so gossip of it would probably reach Thérèse.