January 18th, 2011

Snarky Candiru2

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Lynn's successful request for a re-ordering of the dailies means that today's strip is the one where we'll end up watching Elly buy the ugly carving That being said, will the Lynnsight actually mention the fact that the strips were published in the wrong order twenty nine years ago or will Lynn gloss over a minor triumph over the Syndicate?

(Strip Number 219, Original Publication Date, 19 January 1982)

Panel 1: It would seem that the tour group Elly joined has found its way to a local craft market; we find her noticing a man putting a carving on display.

Panel 2: The man, who I'll call Mister Narwhal, notices that his butt-ugly (and mildly racist) carving of two people picking coconuts off a tree has caught the eye of a tourist wearing a red head-scarf; he thus asks Elly "You like this carving, Miss?" to further something I call Operation: Butter Up A Rube by appealing to the repulsive vanity of the stupid.

Panel 3: Narwhal goes on to tell Elly that it's genuine and handmade as if that's any guarantee of quality; he will also wrap it, put a string on it and, for her, lower the price.

Panel 4: Bug-eyed Elly ends up carrying the atrocious thing under her arm and thought-bubbles that all she came for was a souvenir key-chain.

Summary: As I said when I thought this was yesterday's strip, Elly has clearly demonstrated that she has no more taste than she has sales resistance; also, we can possibly expect to see Lynn talk about how the strips are finally getting in the "right" order.

Organic Alternate Storylines

While reading this community, I was thinking again about old storylines and missed opportunities.  One of the things we enjoy most, it seems, is to come up with alternate storylines and endings when we're deeply unsatisfied with the way Johnston decides to tell her stories.  And one particular story occurred to me, which I'll use as an example for the discussion I'm proposing.

There's a slew of strips fairly early on this past decade where April is at the garage for some reason talking to Anthony. She asks Anthony if Gordon's rich and some other questions. (I'm pretty sure this all happened in this one sequence) At some point, Anthony laments that here's Gordon with his great success and wealth when he's the one with the college degree, suggesting that Anthony believes the situation goes against the natural order of things.  A few years later we find out that Anthony buys Gordon's house because presumably otherwise he would not have been able to afford appropriate housing.

I thought to myself that it'd be pretty interesting if instead of it being a one time deal, Anthony had always bore a great deal of resentment that he has to work for, bow and scrape to, and is essentially beholden to a man who he believes is beneath him. So he spends several years as Gordon's accountant either embezzling or intentionally destroying Mayes Midtown Motors to assuage his feelings of inadequacy, and to stick it to the uppity hick Gordon.

And the thing is, that storyline wouldn't have come as a complete shock.  It would have been organic, because over the course of years we had been shown incidents that suggested Anthony might resent Gordon in such a fashion.  It would have been surprising, but it had appropriate setup, just not one we would have noticed in the regular course of the strip's story.  We could have slapped ourselves and acknowledged that wow, if we had been paying closer attention, we might have seen this coming.

So I'm wondering, what other "organic" alternate storylines could arise from the strip? What storylines exist that would find support through a number of different strips that actually were published?  I'm not talking about things that are completely out of left field (inorganic, iow), but rather stories that would merely require reading actual strips in a slightly different but perfectly reasonable fashion, so that when confronted with the denouement, we could look back and admire the work done in appropriately setting it up.

So I'm thinking that each alternate would require two or more strips where the alternate storyline is a reasonable result from what's shown.

To come up with a couple obvious ones:

Mike and Weed are homosexual lovers. There's plenty to suggest this. I'd go with the strip where Mike has his hand on Weed's shoulder and tells Weed that he's lonely when Weed's lamenting that he can't find a girlfriend, and the sequence where Carleen is moving in and Mike is oddly catty about what Carleen's moving in is going to mean to Weed.

Another is "Would you like to share your life with me and my daughter, Elizabeth?"
Since there were more than a few strips where Liz was shown to be entirely unenthusiastic about the prospect of being Anthony's wife.

So what others can you come up with?


What would REALLY have happened to Elly's toddlers left alone in a bathtub?

Might have been something like this:

Yet another too-dumb-to-be-allowed-to-reproduce parent left a toddler alone in the tub to drown, while she left the room (and in this idiot's case, she went on Facebook; whereas Elly would have been doing laundry, watching her soaps or yakking it up over coffee with Annie or Connie -- also because the Internet didn't exist as a distraction for mothers-of-small-children when Lynn Johnston actually was one, I'm sure.)

So unbelievably irresponsible of Lynn Johnston to publish material (TWICE now!!!) featuring parents being dangerously negligent with their kids. If Lynn drew these strips from personal examples of her own behavior, she is damned lucky Aaron and Katie survived.

Criminally Bad Parenting: Bath Examples
Elly leaving Nizzie and Mike alone in the tub while she watches TV

Nizzie whining to get in Elly's tub so Elly apparently puts her in and LEAVES THE ROOM to bitch to John

Little Nizzie, left alone and calling for her mom to get her a towel

April apparently left alone to play in the tub until Elly returns with a towel some time later