August 24th, 2010

Snarky Candiru2

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

 Today's strip is a reasonably benign example of Mike acting like an incredibly average little boy; the reason, of course, is that Elly merely rolls her eyes in mild irritation instead of yelling like a maniac. 

(Strip Number 167, Original Publication Date, 26 August 1981)

Panel 1: As Elly finishes labeling Dot-Eyed Button-Nosed Doll-Boy Michael's school supplies, she smiles and tells him that his name is on his books, pencils, shorts and sneakers.

Panel 2: As she hangs one of his sweaters in a closet, she supposes that she's put his name on everything he has.

Panel 3: As she puts his socks and underpants away, he tells her that he put his name on something she forgot.

Panel 4: As he lifts up his pajama top to reveal his name scrawled all over his chest, he says 'ME!!'; Elly's response is to roll her eyes in mild annoyance.

Summary: This is because she has occasional flashes of awareness that her children don't think along the same lines as she does; they never last long but she does have them.
Snarky Candiru2

Strike Up The Bland......

 One of the more irritating symptoms of the Sisyphean rivalry between April and Becky was the pointless battle of the the bands they had going. As we all know by now, the corn-ball, Brady-Bunch-like garage band started out primarily as a means of giving April and her friends something to do with their free time. The timeline of its irritating presence is as follows:

January 2003: We started off on a sour note because, well, April got her knickers in a twist (again) because her jealousy of Becky caused a pointless fight (again); the proximate cause was that Becky was 'throwing her weight around' and 'trying to dictate to everyone'. What that translated to in English was "Becky is being bad because she reminds me of my own perceived inadequacies." What really irritated me is more or less the same thing that cookie77 noticed. The cause of the irritation is that April took the Continental's side instead of sticking up for her girl friend. This is NOT age-appropriate behavior and reminds us that Lynn has no clue how people behave and must rely on anecdotal evidence to tell a story that isn't totally unrealistic.

January/February 2004: The first major arc after their formation was their entry in a district band competition. It began, of course, with them being penalized for passing notes in class to get their schedules straight which led to the school entering them into the competition. This didn't go well at home because, as we know, John and Elly don't really approve of professional musicians. To them, music is a hobby that's best kept private. In order to remind us that headache music is an obstacle to the Good Life, April suffered public humiliation that made her want to crawl under a rock and die, Why April felt traumatized was because a) her guitar string broke and b) John said something amazingly insensitive and stupid about it.  As always, Jim was the one doing actual parenting while the people who were simply in the room when April was being conceived stood around like shivering pillars of shite not seeing why she felt like garbage.

December 2004: The next plotline in which the group figured was a Christmas concert at RP Boire High School; not only did we have the first inkling that Becky was a road-side, hands-on gig (and thus unworthy company for a Pattersaint), we were also reminded that she was honestly disturbed by being in the presence of Magic!Disabled!Person Shan...non. Since we were in the middle of the Declining Years, Lynn did this so she could hang a sign on her neck that says 'Bad' instead of writing a sequence wherein Beckers transcended her issues.

July 2005: Things deteriorated even further a few months later when Becky managed to score a record deal and (I'm assuming) the label insisted that she use known quantities to back her up instead of people who might as well be driving around in a van with a dog with a speech impediment solving mysteries. Since April doesn't know how the real world works because her parents like it that way, she immediately declared open season on Becky for abandoning her friends. We, as adults, see that her former BFF didn't understand why Aypo had a bug up her ass about the whole thing; we also know that April had to contend with parents who hate people who succeed on their own owing to a need to dispense largess on the barely-worthy as well as a need to surround themselves with people who allow them to pose as being progressive and charitable.

April/May 2006: This brings me to the worst thing about April's being in the band: her inviting Eva Warzone and Luis Refugee into her life so they can stand around witlessly browbeating her about things they know squat about. This, to me, is worse than April's never quite remembering that Becky wants desperately to square things up or Elly's anti-music-she-can't-sing-along-to stance.  It even exceeds her constantly waving Shan...non under a clearly uncomfortable Becky's nose. It's not nice to see Becky treat Shannon like crap but it would have been a good thing to explore her fear of the differently abled than to simply make her Lesser Mira. 

October 2006: As an example of April's bandmates not being worth the oil it'll take to fry them when they go to Hell, we have to deal with the amazingly insensitive way they reacted to her grief concerning Jim's stroke; simply put, they were more interested in trying to give Becky the middle finger than they were trying to comfort a friend. They needn't have bothered ruffling April's feathers, of course; that's because not only did they get a ringer to back them, Rebecca with an H was struck down by the Mighty Fist of Ham for being not at ease with Shan...non.

July 2007: The last gasp of the band was the infamous Telethon of Tedium; not only did we have to contend with April yowling witlessly about 'treason' because Gerald wanted to bask in the glow of Becky's Grade-D celebrity, we also had the last reminder that John and Elly really didn't much care for headache music and those who made a life of it. After Becky's wistful admission that she'd rather have had April as a friend (God alone knows why)and Gerald's deciding on music as a career, the stupid garage band fizzled into a timely non-existence.

This brings us to the "Lessons Learned" phase. First, April spent a lot of time acting pointlessly upset and needlessly defaming someone because that person did not want to be led like she was supposed to. Second, she had no real intention of admitting that she was more sinning than sinned against. Third, she was engaged in projection; her bleating that Becky would clearly use her celebrity to crush and humiliate the group was inspired by the sad fact that as a Patterson, she would have done so without being shackled by remorse or the realization that Becky was simply waiting for her to get over herself so they could be pals again. Finally, we end up reminding ourselves that just as those who invite Dracula to cross the threshold have no right to complain about getting bitten, we have to admit that April sort of walked right into allowing Eva and Luis lecture her.

ETA: We must also contend with her living in a damned echo chamber having to listen to the opinions of two of the huffiest ignoramuses ever to channel Cliff Clavin. On the one hand, she's forced to listen to Elly's "Any song that I, Elly M. Patterson, cannot sing along to is evil, discordant noise" bullshit; on the other, she's made to endure John "I dropped piano after four lessons because it was haaaaaard and I haaaaated it so I have to believe that music-as-a-profession is a pathway to ruin so I don't have to face the fact that I am not only too lazy to succeed, I'm jealous of those who aren't" Patterson speaking fluent Blithering Idiot. A lifetime of hearing their worthless opinions is enough to corrupt anyone.