Have Your Cake and Eat It Too
Thérèse’s time in marriage starts out with them both at a New Year’s Eve party, where Liz and Dennis arrive and do the dance moves that Liz had originally planned for Thérèse’s wedding day, but was shamed into not doing by her brother Michael. It has the appropriate effect of attracting Anthony’s attention and Thérèse’s ire.
Her next appearance is once again a New Years Eve party, where pregnant Thérèse is even crankier when Anthony pays attention to Liz. Dawn Enjo informs Liz and Shawna-Marie that Thérèse is even jealous of Tracey. I think the intent was for us to think Thérèse is crazy with suspicion, with the addition of Tracey Mayes to the mix. Given how things turned out with Liz, it seems like Thérèse was not out of line on any of her suspicions, and Anthony probably was flirting with Tracey, whom he may have perceived as the epitome of domesticity. It is at this New Years Eve party, the concept of Anthony taking care of the baby by himself is introduced. Then Liz does her falling on ice thing, and blame is laid upon Thérèse for not allowing Anthony to walk her to her car.
Thérèse next appears at her baby shower. She seems pretty calm here and there is actually a female relative enthusiastically taking up money to help the baby along. I think the impression we were to get was that Thérèse is greedy and uninterested in her child. After this point, the Thérèse stuff is all hearsay, as we do not see her directly.
Liz visits Anthony working illegally while taking paternity leave and says things don’t add up. Thérèse wants to pursue a career, so Anthony takes the paternity instead of her taking maternity. Thérèse’s career keeps her so busy, she is rarely at home. The strife in this sequence seems to be entirely that Thérèse is not coming home to take care of the baby.
Anthony’s next appearance is the infamous “I have no home” sequence. In this sequence, Anthony’s complaints are that Thérèse does not love him, and the fault lies in the fact her career has taken off, so she doesn’t have time for him or the baby and the career is more exciting than boring family life.
That leads us to the most recent sequence, in which Thérèse has an affair and has moved out, proclaiming Anthony the winner and giving him the baby and the house without contesting it.
My wife is a stay-at-home mom and an audiologist by profession, although she has not done audiology since 1999, and probably never will again. I cannot possibly match her for time spent with the children. She is there when they go to school and is there when they come back. Anthony is on paternity leave for most of 2005, and yet he has the expectation that Thérèse will assume parental responsibilities, which she told him before she had the baby she would not be assuming. They had agreed he was to be the caregiver and yet, Anthony still wants Thérèse to take an active role. The thing about jobs is that there are some jobs that are not conducive to regular family life, and someone marrying into that situation has to realize that. For example, if Anthony were the husband of a professional women’s basketball player, he would have to understand that ½ the time, his wife would be on the road playing basketball games and wouldn’t be home that night. I witnessed this same phenomenon with my sister, whose ex-husband is a professional chef. The nature of his job was that he had to travel to different areas of the country to do cooking exhibitions. So, it was not physically possible for him to be home at 5 pm every night or at all some evenings. My sister was working a job in human resources and insisted her career was as important as his, and he was not carrying his load with the kids, and told him to quit his job or she would divorce him. He essentially said he loved his job and she was being unreasonable, since she knew what his profession was when she married him. She divorced him, married another guy, who has made the commitment to be home from his work every night for supper. Ironically, she is now a stay-at-home mom and no longer has a career in human resources. She is much happier now than she was with her first husband, which is what I want for her and I am delighted she has achieved.
To me, the issue with Thérèse was that Anthony had these expectations and constantly pressured Thérèse about them, so that her home life when she was home was so unpleasant, she could not stand to be there any longer. The fact she is willing to give up home and child without a contest, so she can live in an apartment with some guy who works with her (and is thus, someone who understands the demands of her job) is telling. It is like she is saying, “You are so unpleasant to be around, I am willing to do whatever it takes to get away from you.” We no longer have any issues with jealousy that marked earlier Thérèse. That seems to be a Thérèse which no longer exists, probably because we will never see Thérèse and Liz together again. The ironic part now is that Anthony hired someone to help him with his child. The man who was able to stay at home and still do Gordon’s finances, has his career elevated by a promotion to general manager and is, like Thérèse, spending less time at home with his child due to his job responsibilities. You would think such a thing would give him perspective on Thérèse’s job, but it obviously did not.
Tomorrow’s strip: John complains about landfills and makes everyone scratch their heads in confusion.