Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Liz and Anthony Share a First of Sorts

Today on For Better or For Worse, was the first strip in over 6 years where Liz and Anthony were together and Anthony did not say or think a single word about how he wanted to be with Liz instead of where he is. I should mention in prior appearances together, pre-Paul Wright, Liz did the same thing back to Anthony, even when she was dating Warren and Eric. Of course in tomorrow’s strip, Anthony can’t take the pressure and goes back to thinking about being with Liz. Liz however, is on a roll with 2 strips in a row. Today her focus was on getting Howard off the planet. Tomorrow her main concern is her new job.

I think Lynn Johnston has paid some attention to sitcom couples and how the rating of the shows drop after the couples finally get together. Ross and Rachel from Friends, Sam and Diane from Cheers, Joel and Maggie from Northern Exposure, Ernie and Bert from Sesame Street. Of course, the comic strips are full of long term romances that take forever to get together. L’il Abner took 18 years to propose to Daisy Mae. It Basil St. John 36 years to land Brenda Starr. And of course, Judge Parker lost his strip to Sam Driver, once he got married in the 1960s after 12 years of romancing his wife. Given these legacies, Lynn Johnston appears to be labouring under the same belief. If Liz and Anthony ever get together, they must not be together for very long, or they will become stale and boring, much like Mike and Deanna are now.

The popularity of the Liz and Anthony story can easily be judged by the number of comments at the FOOBiverse’s Journal whenever the strip swings their way. No other characters in the strip illicit that much reaction. I may complain that neither Liz nor Anthony is a very nice character, but I would have the same complaint about most of the couples I listed above. Ernie was a particularly nasty piece of work. Liz and Anthony are just another of a series of unpleasant people who meet, fall in love, and have a protracted romance, and we wonder with interest if they will ever get together. When I look at Liz and Anthony and all those other unpleasant couples, it makes me wonder if I would find a romance between nice people interesting. Probably not. You can go all the way back to The Taming of the Shrew and find romance between nasty people to be much more interesting. This is obviously Lynn Johnston’s model. I should stop expecting Liz or Anthony to be nice to other people and not be so freakishly self-centered. Instead I should revel in their every selfish move. I will have to hand it to Lynn Johnston. To take a character who is based on her own daughter, and turn her into a self-centered, self-destructive character is a pretty brave and bold move. Even a year ago, I would never have thought Elizabeth would be one of the most unlikable characters in the strip, but now look at her. She’s getting ready to go to a trial for the man who attacked her and her thoughts are entirely self-oriented. Liz is marvelously awful, and I can’t take my eyes off her.


Blogger April Patterson said...

It seems to me that Lynn, like Elly, has "always liked Anthony" and can't fathom why the rest of us don't.

3:09 PM  
Blogger howard said...

Anthony probably looks like her ex.

5:32 PM  

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