May 15th, 2010

Snarky Candiru2

Sunday, 16 May 2010

What I expect to see is a new-ruin that's an inferior pastiche of older, better strips; that, or something from 1980 that allows Lynn to 'explain' Thursday's strip by passing five-year-old Mike as his seven-year-old self.

I'm close; what we end up with is Elly going through her day checking items off her to-do only to have John praise Jean as being the most organized woman he's ever met; we can define that as 'having what he needs when he needs it'.

Panel 1: We start things off in the front hall of the Pattermanse; we see Bug-Eyed Elly reaching for a jacket as Doll-boy Mike puts his coat on.

Panel 2: We have a Patterbutt alert as Elly puts Lizzie's coat on her.

Panel 3: Elly then asks Mike if he has his lunch because they have to leave in five minutes.

Panel 4: We shift our focus to the school; it seems that there's been a wild-cat strike at the bus garage because Elly had to drive Mike there. She reminds him to meet him there at four because he's got a haircut.

Panel 5: Now we're at Doctor Pflett's office; his receptionist tells Elly that she's right on time and that Doctor Spider-Man is ready to see Lizzie now.

Panel 6: After the appointment, Elly thought-bubbles "Good! My eye appointment is in forty minutes so I have time to go to the cleaners."

Panel 7: We now find Elly in the parking lot at Megafoods on her way home; she thought-bubbles "Now I'll take Lizzie to Annie's house, put away the groceries, put supper on and pick Michael up from school."

Panel 8: We're now back at Mike's school; Elly thought-bubbles "Perfect! Now to drop Mike off with his Dad at the clinic and I'll have time to hit the gym before my writing class."

Panel 9: We next find ourselves at John's dental clinic; as Jean leaves, she says "'Night, Doctor P; have a good weekend."

Panel 10: As John says "Thank God for my receptionist! She's the most organized woman I've ever met", Elly stares at us in confusion and despair; it's as if she's saying "Why couldn't he say something that thoughtlessly insulting at home? I can't throw things at him in public, after all."

Summary: What we have here, of course, is Lynn once again trying to kick J-Rod in the kiwis but doing so in such a fashion as to make him look good. That's because we're supposed to call him a bad person for pointing out how disorganized Elly really is. For instance, doesn't Mike take the bus? Don't the Pattersons have two cars? What's Elly's deal?

Wanna analyze this?

The original lineup of 4-Evah (featuring a pre-evil Becky) discuss dysfunctional families, with an's abounding. I couldn't understand it then; I can't understand it now. It's not just the concepts; it's the way the conversation flows, or rather doesn't. It's stilted and unfocused. And of course, not the way real eighth-graders talk.

Start with Gerald's comment in the first panel. First of all, I don't see the need for the dramatic pause before and emphasis on "THERE!". Second, Jeremy didn't say, or at least April didn't quote him as saying, that he wished he'd been born into a different family. So this strip doesn't even fit its lead-in.

Then Becky goes on what to me is a tangent. Jeremy is not a newborn baby; he's the same age as them, so the question should be "What does he want to do from now on?" not "He couldn't help being born." Then that sentence is not a natural lead-in for the second. What does acceptance and survival have to do with blamelessness? Sure, babies are innocent, but as children age, they become responsible for their actions, regardless of how bad their circumstances might be. And some kids in bad circumstances think violence is a way of survival. Or crime. Or an eating disorder, or drugs, or going roadside. I just don't understand what Becky's getting at here.

Then April pipes up, leaning thoughtfully on her hand and turning the strip into a pray-TV ad for Bob Jones University. "How are you supposed to know how to think an' act an' live?" At her age, she would likely just leave it as "How are you supposed to know how to act?" "Think" and "live" are pretty deep for not-quite-14, and the whole sentence is so on-the-nose. Becky finally gives a reply that makes sense in context. Although, does she mean from birth? I mean, as other posters have said, some kids are pretty darn old when they figure out that they need better role models than their parents, and some never figure it out at all. And what if there's simply no such person around? Or you choose the wrong one?

And Gerald seems to be wondering the same thing, so that's okay, except that he's not quite deconstructing the idea. Again I say, they started out talking about Jeremy, who is not a baby, has made some bad choices, and should by now have decided if he wants to start playing the hand he's dealt or not*. Also, looking at this two-shot, I have to say Gerald/Becky looks better than Gerald/April. And April/Duncan might not look bad either. Eva can have Luis (he'll live in her wing of the house), and that takes care of everyone.

And finally, the statement that makes no sense at all. Not gonna get into why the concept is wrong; it's the phrasing that bugs. Respect, security and fair. All abstract concepts. Why would a baby understand two but not third? Lynn could easily have changed the order: fair, no/security and respect, yes. Or security, no/fair and respect, yes. This isn't even bumper stickers.

*He did redeem himself, IIRC before the strip went so far off the rails, when he gave April the names of the train set vandals. He did it his way ("If you tell anyone, I'll kill you!") but he did it.