Sunday, May 14, 2006

Elly is the Best Grandma Ever, but She Sucks as a Mom

This weekend my boy went from Cub Scout to Boy Scout and I began to see very clearly why it is that many boys don’t do Boy Scouts. It is far more time-intensive than I would have guessed, even for a boy who just joined yesterday evening. The occasion marks a transition between essentially elementary school and junior high school or more specifically going into puberty. It means that my boy is likely to start being interesting in girls, (or boys, if he falls into that 10% of the male population).

While I was dealing with that and Mother’s Day, Elly was dealing with motherhood in her own way, which was to ignore her daughter and go straight for the grandchildren. I have seen this before, in fact in my wife’s family. My wife’s mother left her children in the hands of my wife’s father while she led a life of youthful irresponsibility. In her old age however, she realized she made a mistake, reconciled with my wife, and is now my kids’ favourite grandparent. Perhaps Elly is the same way. She realizes she has been a rotten parent. She and John marvel when Michael does the simplest and most basic of things, like rake leaves or carry their luggage, when during their youth, Elly spent quite a few of her waking moments screaming at her children at the top of her lungs. My guess is that we will never, ever see Elly screaming at the top of her lungs at Merrie and Robin, as Lynn Johnston tries to redeem Elly in our eyes by making her a better grandmom than she was a mom. Unfortunately, Lynn has no idea how to do this. In today’s strip, Elly obsesses over getting Merrie’s coat off and then obsesses over the Mother’s Day card, while ignoring the grandchildren's bizarre behaviour.

This is an area over which it is extremely difficult for the characters I do to snark. I have done Michael Patterson several times now, even though he is officially assigned to the long-absent phatsmacky and he has provided the best opportunities. These kinds of strips are pretty much limited to Patterson family members for snarking. The rest of the characters can simply feel sympathy for poor ignored April.

Tomorrow’s strip: The focus shifts to April and Eva, in Eva’s first appearance as April’s new best friend. School is almost out, and Eva has finally gotten past her introductory appearances to a position as casual friendship, where April and Eva can talk about boys with very odd horse analogies. Lynn certainly could have moved this character along faster. I had been playing with Eva and Jeremy as a potential romance until Eva and Duncan are definitely established in the strip as a couple, but given tomorrow’s strip, that moment may be this week. So, I am going to play it very cautiously.


Blogger April Patterson said...

Bracing myself. What a snoozer today.

4:31 PM  
Blogger howard said...

I think Lynn is trying to show April and Eva having a conversation about boys, but it's different from the way Becky and April would talk about boys. If you compare any of the Becky conversations with April to this one today, they were a lot less awkward and nonsensical.

6:13 PM  

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