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?