Panel One: April was different when she came back from Manitoba. I'm really glad Gerald is being so specific here, and explaining exactly HOW she was different. Did she get taller? Change her hairstyle? Stop eating bags of Snax (whatever the hell that is)? I'd like to think April returned from Manitoba with the self-confidence to recognize that she doesn't need her family's validation for anything, which would be a wonderfully healthy attitude given that she'll probably never get it anyway, but my point is, it would be great to have some kind of clue as to just how April changed over the summer. Even if LJ has to tell us instead of showing us, it would be something.
Panel Two: More telling instead of showing, but at least we get to learn something about April's summer. They taught me a lot and made me feel like I really belonged. Unlike the Patterson clan, who perpetually treats her like she's from another planet.
Panel Three: Taking this panel in combination with the second one? I think she actually did come back with increased self-confidence. And maybe that's exactly what Gerald doesn't like. April doesn't need him like she did before, to pay attention to her and make her feel valued. She has self-value. Taking very different paths? Lord, I hope so, because any path that leads her away from going roadside with you is a good one.
Panel Four: Oh, glurg. April, you FOOB, you have your chance to cut and run! Get away from the dumbass while you can!
And in Coffee Talk: A note from LJ, complete with the weirdest freaking signature I've ever watched write itself repeatedly.
EDIT -- At the time I caught the strip, the note from LJ was at the top of Coffee Talk. Since then, they've posted a bunch of messages -- none of which are giving up the Lynn love. I'm shocked! (Happily, though.)
Panel 1: Oh, no. NO! We're going to do the "long exposition of doom in the car" again. Please pick up your pitchforks and torches, then assemble in the quad so that we may march on Corbeil.
Panel 2: And yet, despite saying in the first panel that she had so much to tell everybody, she's going to tell it all to Choo Choo Boy first. Cue eyeroll. *eyeroll*
Panel 3: You know how you get on the phone with someone and they just go on and on and will not shut up? This reminds me of that.
Panel 4: Oh, God...here it comes. I can see it a mile away.
Panel 5: Cue rimshot. *ba-dum-bum* And cue gobsmacked look.
I think people are right - we're now on autopilot. Easier to slip into the semi-hybrid state that way.
Panel 1: Yep, done with the farm. Now we get thought bubbles of doom (aka Inner Monologue).
Panel 2: Still monologuing...
Panel 3: Still monologuing...so boring...getting sleepy...
Panel 4: I really have got to learn how to express my thought bubbles as objects...
Panel 5: And after all that talk about independence, being a woman, etc. April naturally dives into JSTF's arms crying "Daddy!" Yep, just like Liz...talks a good game, but can't back up her bravado with actions.
Panel 1: Wow, we're going to do the whole "April on the Farm for a month" bit in two strips? I know what this means - massive infodump coming in the next retcon letter.
Okay, you had her helping in animal surgery? I'm not an expert in veterinary medicine, but don't you need some actual qualifications for that? Even veterinary assistants need some sort of formal training, don't they?
Uh-huh...okay. Cutting sutures and passing surgical instruments is definitely assisting. Can you say "malpractice"? Sure, I knew that you could...
Edit: I admitted I wasn't an expert. It was a gut feeling - maybe next time I'll skip the burritos at lunch.
Panel 4: Now that is a compliment. An honest-to-God compliment, so of course April gets all indignant. Can't have her acting like a normal person - she must show flashes of Martian behavior.
Panel 5: Sigh. See above. Can't we, for once, just have April accept a compliment instead of acting like it's an insult?
Round 2 for me...next time, I'll just knock myself over the head with a frying pan. Same effect.
Panel 1: April At The Farm, just after we did a Sunday strip where she was at her mother's birthday party. Seriously, is nobody in FOOBville watching the continuity of Sundays to Weekly? This is the third week in a row something happened in the Sunday strip that was then immediately contradicted on Monday.
Panel 2: Another long shot. Saves from whatever Lynnion is on art duty today from botching faces.
Panel 3: I thought April already felt a connection with that horse last summer? So why are we getting a rehash of it?
Panel 4: Huh? Okay, I'm not sure what the joke is here.
Panel 1: Well, thank heavens it's over! But when was she ever homesick? She sure didn't sound it in that terrible-information email.
Panel 2: Amazing and awesome. ::pulls hair out::
Panel 3: Omigod! That's it! April could be a vet! I did not see that coming! Seriously, the Yahoo! group is probably melting into a puddle of goo right now. They were predicting it last week like they'd figured out the ending to "The Others".
Panel 4: Yeah, that's ALL.
Panel 5: Oh lord. Well, forget being a vet then. It takes ambition, and we all know how wrong ambition is.
Meanwhile, I want to share something personal. I'm worried that I might be as bad as Mike. For the past few days, I've been working on a story, and I was hoping that I might get it nailed down tonight. At 7:59, Cookie Monster said, "Hey, "Crash" comes on at 8! Wanna watch!" And when I said "Oh, Monster, I can't...I'm writing," he got rather frustrated.
The thing is, I'm not a paid writer (yet). This is just a story that I feel I have to write, to get out of my system, and it's anyone's guess if I can ever get it published. So I don't have Mike's excuse that I'm paying for the rent or groceries or whatever his work takes care of. And this is the second time I've declined to watch "Crash". In my defense, though, he did ask me at literally the last minute. And I did watch "Cinderella Man" with him last night, with an hour's advance notice. And I do want to see "Crash", but since I'm aware that it will upset me, and I'll probably want to be able to pause it if I have to, I think what I'll do is buy the DVD this weekend and surprise Cookie Monster with it.
But overall, I'd like to think I'm not like Mike. For one thing, when CM comes into the room, I don't act like his voice is a buzzing in my ear. I've just been feeling really aggravated all day, but unlike my mom and Elly, I wasn't about to scream "WILL YOU TURN THAT FOOTBALL OFF?! OR AT LEAST STOP YELLING AND GROANING?!" And my stupid Norton Anti-Virus program is running right now, slowing the computer down, but I'm not going to bite a phone book over that either. I know I'm not the only person in the world; I just didn't want to drop what I was doing at a moment's notice and watch a film that requires a lot of concentration. So am I Mike?
Panel 1: God, Lynn just does not get it! Nobody prints out emails! And I honestly thought John was Elly at first. Or Connie, or some woman. And something's exploding behind Elly's neck.
Panel 2: Sounds like a poem. And she spells out "veterinary", for cryin' out loud.
Panel 3: Not to be snarky, but is there actually an art to passing instruments? Besides not handing over the scalpel in such a way that it slashes the surgeon's palm?
Panel 4: Okay, first of all, nice condescending attitude. He's always putting down his daughters, but Mike practically gets a medal for carrying John and Elly's bags. Jerk. Second, why is the pun in the penultimate (or should I say "pun-ultimate? Sticky-outy tongue!) panel?
Panel 5: Oh jeez. Is Elly so squeamish she faints at the sound of the word "blood"? I do like the effect, though, with her face squashed and her mouth at an angle.
Panel 1: Oh, I am SO sure. Yes, this is exactly the kind of email a 15 y/o would send to her boyfriend. An' she even types "an'"? Also, her smile makes her look demented. And the everlasting tractor, that Patterson women always get a big O from driving.
Panel 2: Okay, first of all, I'm glad we didn't get a whole strip devoted to this. Second, she looks about 10. Third, if you're running for your life, drop the pail, for crissakes. And fourth, why is the rooster caricatured?
Panel 3: I can't read the sign. Something Animal Hospital. Anyone with better eyes than me? And what kind of animal is being brought in there -- a very small sheep? And again, does anyone type "gonna" instead of "going to"?
Panel 4: SUPER INTERESTING?! Or is she being sarcastic?
Panel 5: And that, my friends, is the only time you will see a Patterson handling drug paraphernalia.
Cripes, so we're in for a week of April At the Vet. Whoop-de-do.
Panel 1: And here we go: April finding her True Calling. I love how she sets her sights so low, too. "I get to clean up animal poop! Wow, that's way different from what I've been doing here!" How much did Danny pay for his jaw extension, I wonder? Or is all that his beard?
Panel 2: Yes, we're going to give a totally unknown person all this responsibility! She's a Patterson, after all! April's head reminds me of that Simpsons episode where Marge was having an internal dialogue, and the shot kept going further and further up until the last voice said, "Don't ask me; I'm just hair! Your head stopped eighteen inches ago!"
Panel 3: Translation: Get me OFF of this godforsaken hobby farm! Bev, what the hey do you need her for? Who is the "hired hand" for the 48 weeks a year April's not there?
Panel 4: Now Bev looks like the old-school Mary Worth. And yeah, I think April can manage to gather two eggs when she comes home from the vet's office. That said, it's really not necessary to underscore the LAME pun by having April display her "two hands".