Well, here I am once again reminding us all of yet another theme I do not care for: the shabby way that the Pattersons have always treated Mira Sobinski. It wasn't always thus; in the beginning. she was a reasonable, caring figure who didn't make a nuisance of herself or act like a cartoon ogre. Sadly, Lynn decided to change all that when she decided that Mike had spent his childhood pining away for her while at the same time acting as if Martha was the first girl he'd felt anything for. Once Mike and Deanna got engaged, she underwent a sinister metamorphosis and became a demanding, overbearing, hypocritical, judgmental, hysterical bully: in short, she turned into Elly but this time, we were meant to fear and hate her instead of clasp her to our collective bosom. She started her career as a two-dimensional villain by demanding that Deanna either endure a kitsch abomination of a wedding that, as it was designed to glorify Mira, had no emotional meaning or be consigned to the outer darkness. Or, at least that's what Deanna said; one would be forgiven for thinking otherwise when Mike's suggestion that they simply cohabit was met with her saying that she could not; her having no problem letting her mother think that she rejected her values tends to make one think otherwise. It's not as if Lynn didn't really sell Mira as a villain either; the run-up to what turned out to be an empty spectacle that had the sole purpose of allowing Deanna and Mike to cash in was riddled with suspense because, as the number of Pattersons who knew the truth grew, one started to wonder which one would blurt out the secret. (It should be noted that Liz was kept out of the loop because her inability to keep her mouth shut got the whole thing started in the first place.) She even turned Mira into a fear-filled bigot to darken her name; the fun part of that is having to remember that Mike had at that point pretty much cut Lawrence out of his life and only chose him as a best man because Weed refused and Gord was the Wrong Sort socially. The problem I have is, as I have stated all too often, that I had expected at that point to have Mira explain why she did what she did and reconcile with the Pattersons; it was not to be. She continued to be a baleful threat to Mike's authority as a husband, a demanding nuisance of a mother and a shrill antagonist to the rest of the Pattersons. Or at least that's the official story; what I see is a misguided but essentially well-intentioned boob who has no idea how overwhelming the force of her personality is; Lucy Maud Montgomery did it better when she called the same thing Mrs Rachel Lynde. It's a shame that Deanna's defense of Lawrence boiled down to "he isn't recruiting"; a better writer who was invested in her strip could have done well for herself by depicting a misguided soul towards the light instead of making her ogre ogre-ier.
The reason for this campaign of demonization is, of course, that her presence makes the Pattersons feel uncomfortable. Elly, who spends her time ignorantly clucking her tongue in reproof about 'family politics' the second Mira expresses the baffling-to-her desire to have any input into how Mike lives his life, is enraged because someone else is trying to own the horses she earned pretending to parent; John differs in degree, not in kind. Mike doesn't like to have anyone telling him what to do so Mira is a nuisance, April is a child who doesn't question her parents' views of strangers so can be excused for her 'winning all the time' nonsense and Liz regards her as yet another MOBzilla who needs to chill. It's Deanna, though, who's the most interesting when it comes to stupid motives; her letter from May 2004 paints a portrait of an insane social climber while betraying her lack of awareness as to why this might be. When I read that one, I could see something Deanna could not: a woman who lived in fear of the harsh, mocking, disdainful judgment of an ill-defined THEY. As an example, THEY would call her an inadequate mother were she to allow Deanna to befriend the wrong sort, have the wrong kind of wedding, have a gay best man and so on and so forth. THEY, of course, don't exist but they're real for Mira and have to be acknowledged, not ignored or dismissed. Where my logic clashes with Pattersonian reality is that they don't want to admit that they too live in fear of what THEY might say; Deanna sure doesn't want to admit that her precious Elly fears THEM, after all.