December 30th, 2015

Snarky Candiru2

New Years Eve 2015

As the Pattersons toast the New Year, Lizzie observes that it isn't really all that fun to be the youngest.

(Strip Number 1105, Original Publication Date, 1 January 1987)

Panel 1: We find ourselves sharing New Years' dinner with the Pattersons and their guests as John proposes a toast to the New Year, friends, family and many good times together.

Panel 2: As they do so, most of the glasses clink. The sole exception is Elizabeth's which makes a dull clunk because not very many people would trust a six year old with anything other than an unbreakable tumbler.

Panel 3: She responds to the disappointing "clunk" noise by lamenting that it's not the same with plastic.

Summary: If this is not fodder for an episode of the Little Lindy Show about how awful it is to be told that one is too young to enjoy certain things, I don't know what is. We see parents who don't want Lizzie hurting herself. Lynn might see parents who hate fun. Also, this is something of a trigger for Lizzie because she hates the idea of being isolated owing to an instinctive dread of a looming shape of malice that needs his clock cleaned so he doesn't grow up to be the sort of trash that leaves his family on a rickety fire escape.
Snarky Candiru2

The commissar vanishes: Beth Cruikshank and the kids' books.

As Sunday's notes clearly indicate, at some point in the last five years, Beth seems to have been banished from Lynn's island and made a part of Team Rod. While we'll never know for certain, it's quite likely that the argument that divided the two women had a lot to do with the childrens' books Lynn simply wasn't especially interested in doing and wishes would go away. There are two reasons for this.

Reason Number One is, of course, her need to maintain creative control at all costs. At the time, it was noted that the first book looked a lot better than the second because the people at the publishing company involved got on her nerves by making "unreasonable" demands; said demands included "providing cover art that won't repel a potential buyer", "letting artists who don't act as if using erasers is an atrocity assist her" and "listening to someone for a change instead of throwing a damned fit when changes are suggested." Since she had the same bad experience from them that she had from anyone else who hated her and wanted to hurt her by saying the hateful, hurtful words "You can do better, you know," the second book was produced by the people who do the collections. The problem is that neither book sold especially well owing to the same problem that derailed the Farley plushy: her fussy need to correct the end result of her poor ability to give directions.

The second reason is also rather simple if you remember the strip's history. As history teaches us, in order to make Farley sympathetic in any way, you end up having to do something Lynn would rather not do and make Elly into an active antagonist. Let's review both of them to see what I mean:

1) Faley Follows His Nose:

As you will recall, this is sort of a tidied-up version of the arc in which Farley runs off after a female dog in heat. We have Farley making a break for it, having adventures and being lured back by Phil to get yelled at by the imbecile housewife whose witless negligence caused the crisis in the first place.

2) Farley and the Lost Bone:

The point of the book is that Farley is said to know that he buried a particularly good-tasting soup bone somewhere in the back yard but not specifically where. While he inconveniences the Pattersons, Lizzie starts to figure out what's going on and gets John and Mike to lay off creeping on him because he didn't mean to bother them. They do so because they understand Farley isn't a human being. Elly, on the other hand, blows a gasket because her flower bed is messed up, Farley is filthy and (I should think) people are telling an EVIL LIE about Farley not understanding what he did to anger her because if they're telling the truth, she can never bawl, bully, berate, bludgeon or bargain her way into winning over his instincts.

What this tells me is that a third book would continue merrily on with the theme of "Elly Patterson: Belligerent, Dim-Witted And Antagonistic Failure" and add an extra incentive for Lynn to avoid the horror of losing absolute creative control. Beth wanted to keep doing this and probably became evil and wrong because she exposed Lynn to being told what to do and Elly to looking like a fool. We might have had "Son Of Farley" and before you know it, even the Jim Inmans might start to realize that Elly's stupidity got Farley dead.