Saturday, June 30, 2007

Evan vs. Shannon

I have returned back from a week of Boy Scout activities and got to read the whole week of Shannon Lake in a single shot. Then I read the Elly’s Coffee Corner comments on the For Better or For Worse website about the Shannon Lake storyline and I found them to be quite interesting. Some commentators take Lynn to task for her poor development of Shannon Lake as anything but a “special needs kids have it bad” spokesperson, but there was a whole line of comments from people who are, or know, or have relatives or children who are special needs who praised Lynn for taking a stand against people who bully special needs kids.

My son has Asperger’s Syndrome and during the course of the week with the Boy Scouts he was on the receiving end of some bullying from 2 of his fellow scouts who called him “Dumb as a Bag of Shit”. I was not a witness to the bullying, as it happened away from me, but I was a witness to the aftermath of my son lying in his tent crying and the long process of getting the story of what happened out of him. Commentators, who say that in today’s high school, bullying of special needs kids no longer occurs because kids are taught this is wrong, are sadly mistaken.

After returning home from Boy Scout Camp, my daughter wanted to see the movie “Evan Almighty”. Before we did this, my family went to a surprise birthday party for one of our church friends. Our friend’s mother was there and hearing what movie we planned to see, praised the movie excessively. I was curious about this, since the reviews for the movie had been, by and large, bad. What I found in the movie was the aspect my friend’s mother liked. Evan talks to God, Evan eventually does the right thing, lives are saved, his family grows closer together, and everyone dances. All positive things, except they are couched in a storyline with plot holes so large you could drive trucks through them. I could see my friend was so excited to have a mainstream Hollywood movie, embrace the idea of God active in the world; she was willing to ignore the more ridiculous parts of the plot.

In this same fashion, I feel the friends and relatives of persons with special needs embraced the Shannon Lake storyline. They are so excited to have someone on a large scale say, “Don’t bully the special needs kids,” they are willing to ignore the silliness of the whole situation. The message is a good one. It needs to be said. Maybe some special needs kid will read the strip and be inspired to stand up for themselves (hopefully not the way Shannon Lake did). It would never work for my son. He knows some kids are just, plain, mean; and he tries to stay away from them.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Shannon Speaks

Will anyone listen? I don’t know.

Starting on Sunday, I will be at Boy Scout camp away from any kind of technology for a week coming back on following Saturday. Given that Shannon Lake is about to start doing her speech next week, it is possible that Jeremy Jones may make another appearance, perhaps to repent. As usual, feel free take over my characters as needed to keep up in April’s Real Blog,

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Jeremy Jones Returns (and then leaves again)

I suppose I should be grateful in a certain way that the Special Needs characters appear close in appearance to the way that they have appeared before, so they can be recognized. The new girl with the April-like hairstyle seems to have been added solely for the purpose of showing that Lynn Johnston recognizes that not all persons with Special Needs look a little odd, which has been a criticism of the For Better or For Worse strip ever since Shannon Lake was introduced.

However, when Jeremy Jones returned to the scene after making no appearances since late 2005, it was a good thing April called him by name, or I would have thought Screech from Saved by the Bell was making an appearance. Today’s strip establishes him firmly in the villain category, since he apparently has gone out of his way to stop by the Special Needs lunch table to point out that Shannon Lake speaks very slowly.

In my opinion, Jeremy Jones should have disappeared after he got whacked by the car. Lynn Johnston seems to have no idea what to do with him. Every idea developed is discarded.

Jeremy makes no appearance in the strip archive until:

February, 2004. The band 4Evah starts rehearsing over lunch at school. These are Jeremy’s first appearances after he tried to attack April and was hit by the car. After one appearance, the band discusses Jeremy’s poor family background at length. After the second, it is revealed that Jeremy knows something about sound production. The implication is clear that Jeremy Jones will someday be doing sound for 4Evah. In fact, even today his Who’s Who entry clearly states:

Deep down inside, he wishes he could be part of the band 4 Evah, but keeps his distance. He loves to tinker with sound systems and could someday be helpful to others although right now he's the class bully.

What I noted in both those appearances was that Jeremy was honest but abrasive. This became my theme for how to develop him.

The first archived monthly letter with Jeremy Jones in it mimics the strip pretty closely, although April is not as kind to Jeremy as she is in the strip; where she invites him to listen to them rehearse.

April's Letter, April 2004

We have the music room for two lunch hours a week right now and the weirdest thing is that Jeremy Jones (creepyouout!) sits in the hall and listens. He won't come in the room, he just sits there. At first, it was like- what's with this? But now we ignore him. One time Becky heard him telling some guy that our amps needed work, like it was something he knew about. I can't figure him out, so I don't try.

In the next letter, Jeremy Jones = Airplane repairman!! LOL! However, this letter contains the only hint anywhere that Jeremy Jones likes April.

April's Letter, April 2005

People are so weird. I just can't figure them out half the time. Like Therese and her baby shower, or Jeremy Jones being a jerk. He still gets on my case. Mom says he "likes" me. Say what? Just thinking about him gives me the creeps. My dad says that nasty people are usually just covering up the fact that they're unhappy, but it's hard to remember that part when they're being mean to you all the time. Go figure.

Jeremy wants to do aircraft maintenance cause he likes airplanes. That's good because I want him to take off! (I just thought of that!!!).

In this next letter, Jeremy Jones = Power to the People Political radical!! LOL!

April's Letter, June 2005

I think the whole uniform thing is kind of dumb. Jeremy Jones was saying that it's all about crowd control and suppressing our individuality, but our teacher laughed at that and said that it's really about preparing us for the real world and keeping us from spending all of our time worrying about how we look.

The grade 8 grad. July, 2005. Jeremy Jones points out to April that Becky is going to think she is too good for 4Evah after doing her Grade 8 solo. April denies it, but Jeremy is right. In my mind, Jeremy sees the truth and is unafraid to say it. Also in my mind is the idea that Jeremy Jones will be brought in to replace Becky, but that doesn’t happen. That idea is abandoned forever in his next appearance.

Becky and April break up. September 6, 2005. Becky announces to April that Jeremy Jones is her roadie. Jeremy has recognized Becky’s potential and he is jumping on the band wagon is what I thought. What Lynn Johnston wanted me to think was that since Jeremy is evil, this was a clear sign Becky is headed in the wrong direction. Lynn did not communicate this idea clearly to her Lynnions as the next letter will show.

Jeremy Jones in this letter shows a real change. He’s nice to April. He has a girlfriend. He seems to be a competent helper to Becky, who is not his girlfriend as you might have suspected. This implies his relationship with Becky is professional only.

April's Letter, October 2005

I ran into Jeremy Jones a few days ago; he was heading for the bus terminal while I was walking home. He seems to be mellowing out a little bit; for starters he was with a girl! Ew. But I guess he is kind of ok, if you like the bad-boy thing. I mean, looking at him doesn't wreck your lunch. He was actually friendly to me for a change - maybe he was trying to impress his girlfriend or something, but he asked me what I'd bought at the music store and told me Becky's doing a couple of shows a month at places around town, and she's got a demo tape in production. He was actually cool about it; he wasn't gloating about 4 Evah being broken up. Which is good, of course, but weird. It's hard to figure Jeremy out.

Becky gets a radio commercial. November 26, 28, 2005. This is Jeremy’s last physical appearance until today, and it is startling. In typical Lynn Johnston fashion, she decided little grade 8 Jeremy from 3 months ago last July is going to be taller, have a little paunch to his belly, and a jaw line with jowls on him that makes him look middle-aged. Shortly before this point, I took over the character on April's Real Blog and thus began my running joke that Jeremy looked 40, which continued to this day and I must admit I never tired of it. This strip is a high point for Jeremy. It appeared to me Jeremy was on top of his game, and Becky was his future. If Becky was paying him any reasonable amount of money, Jeremy should have been popular in school, with money to burn on girls. My characterization of Jeremy had him on the dating track.

Becky hands out a CD. April 6, 2006. Becky tells April that Jeremy Jones thinks she is going to be famous, which I suppose was intended to make him look like another of Becky’s sycophants and not true friends.

However to continue the trend downward, in this letter April continues to be repulsed by Jeremy Jones.

April's Letter, June 2006

I can't imagine ever hugging Jeremy Jones or being sad at the idea of never seeing him again.

Jeremy is mentioned once again as a competent sound and lighting man, if he is able to handle Becky on tour over the summer.

April's Letter, August 2006

Oh, and Becky? She's "on the road". She's doing the Heritage Fest in Rocky Falls and a bunch of other summer community gigs. She's got a CD out and she sent me one. It's good. She's doing really well, but I wouldn't want her life. Her dad is her manager (they fight) and Jeremy J. is still doing sound and lighting. She's seriously into this.

This was Jeremy’s last mention in the letters and his last appearance of competence as we began what has really been a horrendous year in For Better or For Worse plotting.

The Gym / Jam. November 3, 2006. Gerald says Jeremy didn’t show up to do sound, and he becomes one of many who betray Becky, to show she has sacrificed true friendship for the sake of fame and glory. Normally I try to go with what’s in the strip, but I did a majour retcon of this one, because it just did not make any sense.
(a) 4Evah&Eva had neither sound man nor sound problems during their performance, but Becky does.
(b) Jeremy has been working with Becky for over a year, and to be a part of her performance at his own school would be a huge ego boost after 2 CDs and a summer tour. Even the biggest stoner in school would turn out for this performance and yet Jeremy doesn’t. I could not come up with a plausible explanation for it and so I opted for retcon.

Retardation explained. March 15, 2007. Shannon Lake implicates Jeremy Jones, Miriam and Bianca as persons who call her retarded. April says she hates them for that. This is the first time Jeremy Jones and Shannon Lake have linked in the strip for anything. I had been working them as friends, since they were both outcasts of a sort, but I had to turn Jeremy into a man who called Special Needs people names, which was another radical change in character.

And then we have today’s strip, which was the follow-up to March 15, 2007. It was tough. I had to answer the questions:
a. If Jeremy has called them retarded before, then why isn’t he calling them retarded now?
b. Why does Jeremy look so different than his last appearance?
c. Why would Jeremy Jones pick on such an obscure thing as Shannon’s halting speech, when the new thing happening is April sitting by Shannon? That would be the logical choice to pick on.
d. Is the person with the cigarette Jeremy? And if he is, who is the girl?
e. Why has Jeremy Jones changed from competent sound and light man for Becky to a person who would randomly throw insults out to a table of Special Needs kids?
f. Why is there no teacher to protect the Special Needs kids?
g. Why are those people smoking inside the cafeteria right beside the Special Needs table of kids?

Today’s posts answered all those questions. It is possible, we will see another appearance of Jeremy Jones at the telethon, since Becky is playing there and we have never been specifically told Jeremy no longer works with her, even though that would be the logical conclusion after the Gym / Jam debacle. Once the telethon is over, then I believe Jeremy Jones will be done, as far as the For Better or For Worse strip is concerned. Then I can kill him off brutally. Bwa-ha-ha-ha!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Idiocy Glorious Idiocy

We have had two strips in a row from For Better or For Worse, which are close to making absolutely no sense. Wednesday, we had the “Hey April” guy (sorry, aprilp_katje, but I think the black pants are the guy gender giveaway clue), insulting the special needs kids by calling them eggheads, a word typically associated with smart people. Tuesday, we had April profess she couldn’t be on the same stage with Becky and Gerald, to which Shannon nonsensically replied that there is more than one stage, when there is no reason to expect those people to perform together. It’s idiotic and gloriously so.

Most days, as I try to think up some way to snark the strip from the perspective of Jeremy Jones, Michael Patterson, or Howard Bunt; I try not to use material I have seen in any other of the venues which talk about this strip, including the material that I, myself, have contributed to those venues. I want someone to read what I have written, and if they are die hard snarkers, think that they are seeing new and original stuff worth viewing.

Most days, I am unsuccessful, and I have to resort to developing a rehashed snark idea within the personality of those characters to make it seem unique. The last two days have been great, because the strips make no sense whatsoever. The on-line commentators are usually dumbfounded by them, and no one seems to be trying to make what has been presented make sense. April’s Real Blog is perfect for this purpose. In fact, the strips have strayed so far from commonsense, I have been inspired to regularly add posts as Shannon Lake and Luis Guzmán to fill in the extra spots of logic missing from the strip.

Take Wednesday for an example of what I am talking about. The “Hey April” guy tells April she is hanging out with the eggheads. Jack and the pony-tail girl grimace in reaction. If you were a special needs kid, would you even know what the term “egghead” meant? And if you somehow were well-versed in that slang term, would you interpret it as an insult to you, since the “Hey April” guy was addressing April? Probably not.

So, why are they grimacing, if you want to insert logic into it? Well, the strip including those little dots underneath April’s sandwich in that scene. I know those dots are supposed to be some kind of visual shorthand for something, but I honestly have never seen them in any other comic strip, so I don’t know what Lynn Johnston means them to mean. They almost always show up whenever April eats, so I have enjoyed doing a running joke about how April Patterson spits food when she eats. Therefore, the special needs kids are grimacing, not because the “Hey April” guy said something, but because April’s eating habits are making them sick and they don’t want to look at her. Not only does it make more sense, but it also better fits what is in the picture.

Let’s take another example which is a little more subtle. In Tuesday’s strip, we see a line up of special needs kids including a kid in a wheelchair. In Wednesday’s strip, they are all there at the lunch table, except for the kid in the wheelchair. Why is that? If they are willing to line up for Shannon, why wouldn't all of them eat together with Shannon? My answer is that April has taken the wheelchair kid’s spot at the table. That follows with having to answer why the special needs kids would allow April to take the wheelchair kid’s spot? Could the wheelchair kid be a little whacko and violent? I think so.

Tuesday and Wednesday’s strips have been a joy to snark, April’s Real Blog-style. I can only hope the rest of this story arc will be just as crazy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Where Are We Going?

April sits at lunch with the Special Needs crowd and gets to experience what it feels like to be insulted. I read this strip as “Lynn Johnston finally has had enough of us snarkers constantly saying, “April’s not a real friend of Shannon. They never do anything with each other.” So there!

As for the storyline in general, it is necessary to follow Becky McGuire strips all through out the storylines to realize what is going on. The idea originally is that Becky had picked up a bunch of friends who did homework for her. But they were fair weather friends, only with her because she was famous.

After the humiliation of the Gym / Jam, we see Becky once in the mall in this strip:
April declares that Becky gave her a look. Eva and April still poke fun at Becky, but the crucial point to note, which Eva did note is that Becky no longer has friends. “It’s lonely at the top.” I don’t see the “look”, but instead I see Becky looking at April and Eva and remembering when she and April used to do the same thing and walking away sad because the Gym / Jam cost her all her fake friends.

In this recent story arc, Becky is playing for free for Shannon and company. I think this means Becky has learned her lesson. Instead of making her music all about her, she is doing something for other people. No money, playing for other, playing for Shannon all equal "Good".

The only element which would taint it is asking Gerald to play with her, if Gerald's relationship with Becky was more than just as a drummer to singer. However, back in October, Becky's implosion at the Gym / Jam was because her band was drug-using professionals. We got the quote from Eva in this strip that they wanted to be good way too bad.

Becky cannot be converted to the right way of music, if she is still using professional musicians as her back up. But Gerald, the clean cut drummer, is acceptable. And really, the only completely acceptable back-up band for Becky is her original group 4Evah. The only other thing left is for April to realize it and accept her Patterson badge for having converted a villain to good.

The giveaway that this is the way it is going to go is April's comment about how she won't share the stage with Gerald and Becky. For a telethon which lasts 24 hours, the comment seems nonsensical. After all, the two performing groups could be separated by as much as 23 hours apart and she's not even addressing the concept that Gerald (as far as we know) is still a part of 4Evah&Eva. Even Shannon is in on it, because she suggests the two groups would perform on 2 different stages. My thought was, "How is this going to possibly work on the sound? Like a 2-ring circus?" It certainly can't work for a telethon in a mall, where there is little to no sound control.

The only way it makes sense, to have 4Evah and Becky on the two different stages performing the same music at the same time, is if the point of the strip, already known by April and Shannon, is to have 4Evah and Becky back performing together again and thus reconcile their main difference in the 2 years since the grade 8 graduation.

This is the direction I think it is going. As a story, there is no joy in watching it unfold. It is as stupid as stupid can be. My fascination with this strip these days is to see just how clumsily the stories are executed, and this one looks to be like a doozy.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Research and Development - The Trial

Since this is Howard Bunt’s Blog, I think it is about time I addressed the new “Research and Development” section on the For Better or For Worse website, particularly the parts dealing with the trial. This is located at this page:

First of all, “Research and Development” is a misnomer, because it is really only research.

Elizabeth Goes to Court:
During Liz's summer employment at Lakeshore Landscaping in the summer of 2005, she was attacked by a male colleague. Lynn's storytelling captured the insecurities of a victim, the defensiveness of a parent, the courage to step forward to report the assault and the comfort offered by friends and family.

I look at that text and I wish I had seen that story. The two 2-panel strips shown have the Howard attack, and John Patterson lacing up his shoes to chase after Howard Bunt’s car.

The insecurities of a victim. Was there even one strip after the assault where Elizabeth was afraid to be alone or afraid to be around men? No.

The defensiveness of a parent. Was there even one strip after the assault where John or Elly expressed anger at Howard Bunt? At the trial, Elly did refer to Howard as a rat.

The courage to step forward to report the assault. Was there even one strip after the assault where we saw Elizabeth nervous over pressing charges? No. We hear that Lawrence Poirier has called and told Elizabeth to press charges. She does, but we don't see it.

The comfort offered by friends and family. Let’s count the number of times in the strip, Elizabeth talked about her assault with anyone:
1. The day of the assault, she talked about it with her coworkers who comforted her by telling her to go home and not to the police or the hospital, and that they wished they could have punched out Howard, like Anthony did.
2. The day of the assault, Anthony Caine comforts Liz by making a move on her emotionally, by telling her to wait for him until after he gets his divorce.
3. The day of the assault, she told her mother she had been assaulted and burned the butt off the casserole. Elly is more concerned about the casserole than her daughter.
4. The day of the assault, Shiimsa curled up with Elizabeth.
Was there anything after the day of the assault? No.

Sorry, Stephanie, web designer. You describe the story that should have occurred and didn’t. What we got instead was The Perils of Pauline with Howard as the villain, Elizabeth as Pauline, and Anthony as the rescuing hero.

Lynn Hails the Chief:
Justice had to be served to Howard. In order to be true to Canadian law in such situations, Lynn met with the Chief of Police of the City of North Bay. Chief Cook was instrumental in detailing the landscape and procedures of the local courthouse and shared an indepth tour with Lynn.

Lynn explored the interrogation rooms, the courtroom, and the holding cells and met with key court staff including a Judge and Crown Attorney. They were able to share valuable insight and detail the procedures and language used in Ontario courtrooms in similar cases.

Liz was subpoenaed. and the trial got underway in the fall of 2006. Together with the testimony of Howard's other victims, he was convicted in February of 2007.

In this section, we have a picture of the Chief of Police, who was not used in the strip. Then we have two pictures of the judge in robes in the courtroom. These are juxtaposed with the panels from the strip. I find it interesting that many of thing about which I complained in the trial would have been corrected had the person drawing the strip, drawn what was in the picture.

1. I complained about Liz standing up during her entire testimony and there I see in the picture, a chair and a microphone by her chair in the witness box, where she would have to sit to use it.
2. I complained about no place in the courtroom for the court secretary or court reporter, and there I see places right in front of the judge and witness box.
3. I complained about the angle which made the judge’s bench seem like it was far above the rest of the courtroom, and I see clearly the judge’s bench is not that elevated.
4. I complained the judge was not sashed, and there is the judge with an unmistakeable sash on him.

I remember the intensely-researched Ojibway pow-wow strips from October, 2005, and it was so hard to snark them, because they were well-done and when you compared the pictures of the pow-wow to the strip, the images were meticulously rendered. I find it quite startling to have a section of the web site devoted to “Research and Development” of this story line, where the web site itself shows exactly how errors were introduced in the strip. What’s the point of doing the research, if you aren’t going to use the research? What’s the point of going to an actual courtroom with a real judge and taking pictures, if you aren’t going to draw an actual courtroom and the real judge? It dumbfounds me.

Morever, the Pattersons slammed the legal system up, down, left and center over the Howard Bunt trial for taking such a long time, for making the witnesses suffer unnecessarily, and for giving Howard a light sentence. I wonder what North Bay Chief of Police Cook thought, when he saw those strips, after spending so much time with Lynn (or whatever Lynnion Lynn sent to do this research, since there are no pictures of Lynn with the Chief of Police). I can't imagine he was very happy.

Telethon for Retarded People

After the band or Luis Guzmán in particular turned against April during the last time we visited the Telethon storyline in For Better or For Worse. I was pretty sure April was going to either have to eat some humble pie about Gerald, or the band was going to have to be the brunt of April’s ire and break April from the band completely. So, to have Shannon Lake come up and mention the telethon is for that most holy of causes, the Special Needs kids, is a plotline well on its way to make a reverse of April’s opinion of at least Gerald and possibly Becky too. I also, secretly hope that Jeremy Jones will make an appearance, but I honestly don’t see how that is possible, considering the blame Jeremy has received by name in the strip.

Saturday evening, my wife and I traveled to Phoenix to go see a comedienne my wife adores, Kathy Griffin. She has a bit in her routine where she talks about how certain organizations ask her to perform but provide a list of rules about language and sometimes one of the rules is not to refer to anyone by the word retarded. Kathy went on a riff about how Paris Hilton is retarded and then presented a series of very funny proofs, which were actually fairly convincing. Of course, I thought of Shannon Lake, and her main grievance against other people is the “retarded” reference. If Kathy Griffin were in the FOOBiverse, there would be new villainess in town.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Fat and Winking

Julia, easily the most aggressive character to inhabit For Better or For Worse in years is the means by which Lynn Johnston appears to be finally forcing the excessively passive Anthony Caine and Elizabeth Patterson together. I honestly thought the person who would fulfill this role would be the reintroduced Candace Halloran, who is supposed to be attending the Shawna-Marie Verano wedding, but has yet to make an appearance. However, if Candace were to stay in character, she would not push Elizabeth to be with Anthony, but would instead tell Elizabeth the way she thinks about things is not necessarily right, which one of the main reasons most people like Candace. Candace usually doesn't push people to do things, and so I think Julia had to be introduced for this purpose. Not only that, but Lynn Johnston probably believes men are supposed to be the aggressors, and having Elizabeth ask Anthony out to the wedding in the first place, is probably as aggressive as Elizabeth needs to be. She's dropped her hint she's interested in Anthony, and the knucklehead should have asked Elizabeth out to do something else in the 5 weeks which passed from her invitation to the wedding. Today's strip demonstrated to perfection, exactly why Anthony didn't do that. He's so drippy, you could sail a boat on him. He needs a Julia character to knock some common sense into him, and she seems to be doing just that.

Julia's wink reminded me of someone who fulfilled almost the exact same purpose---George Stibbs. The Pattersons are trying to convince Elly that the tiny house is better for her than it would be for Mike's family and George Stibbs is in on it. The clincher is when he winks to John in this strip:, so we know the whole pitch to Elly was pre-planned. And thus with George's help, the great house switch takes place.

Another possibility is April's career choice for veterinarian. I think the next time April goes out to Winnipeg (August is my guess), Auntie Bev will have a fat, winking person on her farm who will push April to chose veterinary medicine as a career, until April finally relents and fills out a university application.

Fat, winking people. They are magic. They make things happen. Beware!

Elizabeth Patterson – Educator?

How good a teacher is Elizabeth Patterson? I have decided to take a look at just the classroom strips to see how she does. In case you don’t want to read through all this, I will summarize. Liz's teaching falls into 4 stages:
1. Student teaching – fall, 2003
2. First year at Mtigwaki – fall, 2004 – spring, 2005
3. Second year at Mtigwaki – fall, 2005 – spring, 2006
4. First year at Glenallen– fall, 2006 – spring, 2007

She supposedly taught summer school at Mississauga in summer, 2006, but there were no strips dealing with that.

I discovered going through this exercise that in stages 1, 2, and 4; Liz is a decent teacher and was the most impressive in stage 1, which should not be a surprise considering the writing on the For Better or For Worse strip was better in 2003. However, in stage 2, her final year at Mtigwaki, she makes a lot of mistakes, and I have found that this year has tainted my opinion of her teaching overall, when most of what I consider to be Liz’s poor teaching practices can be traced to that year. It seems obvious to me now that Liz was burnt out on teaching in Mtigwaki in her second year and everybody in Mtigwaki knew it.

November 10, 2003
Elizabeth starts her student-teaching. Elizabeth diagrams a structure with C, P, and H leading into AT, presumably to show how the different initial consonants work with the concluding sound. She tells the students to turn off their electronic devices and the joke is that virtually every student has one.

November 11, 2003
The next day Liz actually builds on the prior day lesson by using EAR as the building block word. The students add F and get FEAR, but Dylan (the humourous scamp) uses EARF to stand for EARTH. Liz pronounces him totally annoying, but good, as Dylan’s classmates laugh at his joke.

November 12, 2003
Liz continues with EAR and tests the students to see how many words they know. Amalia includes the word SHEAR, which she explains is because “’cause we got sheep”, which Liz does not correct. She checks another student and then gets to Dylan, who includes BEER on his list because it sounded good to him. Students shown in the back with sticky-out tongue laughter.

November 13, 2003
WEAR changes the sound from EER to AIR. She asks for P to be added, so you get PEAR. Dylan does EARP, and makes a joke about where the P goes. Students laugh again.

November 14, 2003
Liz compliments Dylan for being creative but gives him extra work for disturbing the class. The teacher asks if Dylan is being disciplined, but Liz denies it and says she is giving Dylan an opportunity to challenge himself and gives a wary Dylan a “thumbs up”.

November 19, 2003
Dylan turns in the assignment and pronounces it fun. It was to write a short story without using the letters B, C or T. His regular teacher says Dylan is smart in English but is failing math.

November 20, 2003
Liz sits on a desk to talk to Dylan about math and explains that when Dylan becomes a famous author he will need to know numbers to be able to handle his money. Dylan is converted. I find this strip to be extremely ironic, considering what happened to Mike Patterson as an author, and who handles the money in his family.

November 24, 2003
Elizabeth gets evaluated. The criticisms are:
1. Talk less and listen more.
2. Let the students give you the answers
3. Make them think
4. Don’t turn your back when you write on the board
5. Didn’t adhere to the lesson plan
6. Focused heavily on one problem student, which was reported as possible favoritism.
It will be interesting to see if Elizabeth takes any of these criticisms to heart when she starts as a regular teacher.

Student-Teaching Summary:
However, I cannot say I have the same criticisms as the evaluators. Liz’s lessons are consistent and appropriate, and she manages to find a way to reach Dylan. At the end of the student teaching, I find Elizabeth to be a competent teacher.

October 7, 2004
Liz’s first classroom time with the Mtigwaki kids. Liz is doing a lesson on where to break words into syllables, if you come to the end of a line, a lesson which is a little archaic into today’s world of computers, but I’ll give that a pass. She asks Darren, Alexis and Jesse to answer questions about where to break works. Jesse gets the word “kissing” which he announces he would break up by throwing “water on ‘em”, since it worked on his sister. The class laughs as Liz is probably thinking something about fate always putting a humorist in her classroom.

October 8, 2004
Liz announces the schedule for the next day at the end of the day and tells the kids what to bring. It’s a pretty big list and reminds me exactly why my kids leave a lot of their stuff at school. It includes Ojibway calendars, scrapbooks and dreamcatcher materials and sounds like she is including quite a bit of Ojibway stuff in her lessons, which is important to the education in this culture.

In between these strips, Jesse gives Shiimsa to Liz.

November 22, 2004
Elizabeth catches Jesse leaving a trail of food on the floor. He makes a joke it’s “Trail Mix”. Elizabeth does not laugh and there are no students to laugh.

November 23, 2004
Mrs. McLeod is there and teaches Ojibway to the kids, while Liz sleeps in the corner. Alice asks her which clan is better because Daniel told her his turtle clan was better than her loon clan. Alice’s yelling at Daniel that turtles are slow outside the classroom wakes Liz up.

In between this classroom session and the next shown, Jesse Mukwa is at Liz’s house to eat cookies and to squirt Shiimsa with a water pistol.

February 8, 2005
Elly is in the school house with Gary Crane and says, “Elizabeth’s a good teacher, Elly. The kids can be hard to handle sometimes, but they like and respect her.” Then Jesse Mukwa walks through and makes a comment about Bingo and walks on.

February 9, 2005
Elizabeth on crutches comes and asks Elly and Gary if they saw Jesse, who is outside apparently getting ready to throw a snowball at a bird. Elizabeth brings him back and explains this is not answering “the call of nature.” The class room laughs.

June 14 - 17, 2005
Jesse Mukwa brings Liz a pie as a bribe not to leave. Liz gives him back all the things she took from him in class and says she expects to get them back, as a sign she plans to return. This is also the first sign that Liz ever did anything to discipline the disruptive Jesse.

June 21, 2005
Liz’s attempt to comfort Jesse Mukwa is unsuccessful, as he refuses to see her for the summer, on the premise if he doesn’t see them leave, then they’re still here. Jesse seems to have quite a bit of separation anxiety going there, which may explain why he’s over at his teacher’s house so much.

First Year Summary: On examination there are only two jokes with Jesse Mukwa disrupting the class (which is an improvement over Dylan) and Liz appears to apply some sort of discipline to him. She also has a mix of some Ojibway things in the curriculum. However Jesse spends too much time at Liz’s place by himself alone, and his anxiety over her departure at the end of the year shows that he has developed an unhealthy attachment to his teacher, which should have set off warning bells to both Liz and Jesse’s aunt Margaret. It isn’t until next year we find out both Jesse’s parents have left him, but Liz seems to be blissfully unaware Jesse is playing her as a surrogate mother, giving her gifts and coming over to her house to eat. Liz appears to be a good teacher, but she needs to detach herself from Jesse.

October 2, 2005
Our first Sunday teaching strip starts off Liz’s year number two. Liz asks if the kids brought in leaves for pressing and Jesse Mukwa waves a whole stick of leaves. After demonstrating it, Liz is showing her example to the kids in the class, when Jesse Mukwa and 2 other kids try the leave press on a cheese sandwich, while Liz looks astonished.

October 24, 2005
Liz panics because it’s the day before school and she doesn’t have a lesson plan yet. Considering this is October and school would have started in September and she taught this group all last year, this is a surprising strip.

October 25, 2005
The lesson for the week is learning navigation as if you were on an ancient sailing ship. Jesse Mukwa pretends to throw up over a rail and the class laughs.

October 26, 2005
Liz has diagrammed the rotation of the sun, earth and moon on her board for navigation. She then asks about the North Star – Polaris – which the students recognize as the brand name for snow machines. Since I live in Tucson, Arizona, this was actually educational for me.

October 27, 2005
Standing on her desk on tip toe, Liz puts star symbols on the ceiling. Liz does not get safety points on this demonstration. Then she rotates Ellen and asks her to tell her what she sees happening to the things on the ceiling. Ellen asks if she counts a dart and two spitballs. I actually spot the dart and two spitballs in panel 2, and think I missed them the first time I saw this strip, mistaking them for space ship and 2 small stars. No one laughs at Ellen’s joke, but Liz looks wide-eyed and off into space.

October 28, 2005
Liz explains more about the North Star and tries again with Ellen who gets the answer right this time. The kids pepper Liz with questions. She sits down and puts her hand in her heads as Gary Crane asks her how things are going? Liz says, “I’m completely lost.” This really does not make Liz look good, that she has lost control of the classroom enough to attract the principal’s attention and has responded by holding her head.

October 29, 2005
Liz announces an impromptu star-gazing party, because the night is going to be clear. She asks everyone to bring their star chart, and meet at the ball diamond and tells them they can invite other people. The kids ask for hot dogs and marshmallows and hot chocolate, which Liz then goes to buy. There are all kinds of issues with making sure every child has an opportunity to participate in and is safe during out of school events, and this strip made it look like Liz just decided to do this without planning of any sort, considering she didn’t have this as a lesson plan until just before she started and particularly considering what happens next.

November 2, 2005
Liz sets up the telescope to see Polaris the North Star, while aided by Gary Crane and virtually the whole town lines up to see the star. Apparently Jesse Mukwa invited the whole town and the village organized someone to bring a stove. The event comes off because the town rallies around Liz, and actually makes the town look really good.

November 3, 2005
Gary Crane compliments Liz for her good idea of having this for a school outing and then Constable Paul Wright arrives. I notice he doesn’t compliment her for organizing it.

November 5, 2005
We see people leaving randomly, and Elizabeth thanks them for coming. Paul Wright helps her pack up the telescope. In real life, a teacher would need to make sure each student was leaving safely with their parent. This does not seem to be a concern for her.

February 5, 2006
Liz is sick, but goes to school anyway because there’s no one else who can take her class and finds only 2 students there, since others are sick, taking care of relatives, working trap lines, or smoking fish. The two girls explain they can’t go home because their moms are working, from which we can infer that going home has been considered an option before. Liz takes them to her house and shows them a videotape on Egypt while she sleeps on the chesterfield with Shiimsa, as she proclaims northern teachers make their own rules.

The odd strip where Gary Crane predicts Liz will be leaving soon appears in here.

March 2, 2006
First appearance of Susan Dokis and the kids appear to be anxiously raising their hands to her.

March 3, 2006
Liz talks about using fractions with measurements they find in their homes. She asks for suggestions from the class, who respond enthusiastically. Not getting a response from Jesse, Liz asks him if he was paying attention, to which he quips, “1/2 the time.” Liz has actually moved from Jesse making unwanted jokes to making solicited jokes, which is not a good sign for the way their relationship has progressed.

March 4, 2006
Jesse Mukwa clobbers Susan Dokis with a snowball to the back of her head. Liz lifts Jesse up by his coat collar, obviously strangling him since his tongue is sticking out, while she talks about discipline. This strip shows how the relationship with Liz and Jesse has changed. Liz’s discipline is obviously more physical, and Jesse shows a complete lack of respect for Liz.

In between these strips, Jesse visits Liz just as she gets her fateful e-mail from April saying Anthony got divorced. Jesse announces he had a dream about her leaving, and wishes she would give him her stereo, which as I look at it now makes it seem obvious he wants some of the things she has, so the harmonica theft should have been no surprise.

In Jesse’s next appearance, he finds out Liz is leaving and throws a big tantrum about it. Liz tries to calm him down even chasing him back to his room in his Aunt’s house, but she is not successful.

June 19, 2006
Liz’s last teaching class in Mtigwaki. She announces it’s the last class for the summer. Ellen asks her if she is coming back to teach. Liz says no, but promises Jesse she will come back to visit. It is astonishing that Liz has not made an announcement to her class about this before the last day.

Liz leaves and gets a spirit name, given to her by Jesse Mukwa, who makes a joke he considered calling her Lizard Breath instead of White Goose. It seems obvious to me that Jesse's aunt Marge has made an effort to get Jesse to give Liz a proper farewell, considering the way he was feeling before about her leaving.

Second Year Summary: No Ojibway things in the curriculum and in fact, Liz seems to be making up classroom ideas as she goes along. The stargazing party comes off due to almost no effort of Liz’s, with principal Gary Crane and the village having to step in to salvage it. It also appears that Liz did not take Jesse’s behaviour at the end of last year as a warning, and has let her relationship with Jesse Mukwa get way out of hand. Gary Crane’s prediction of Liz’s departure and pushing for Liz to sign a contract (which he didn’t do before) so he can know one way or the other about Susan Dokis coming in makes a lot more sense now that I see the whole thing in perspective. Even Susan Dokis showing up just at the end of the school year as Liz is packing up makes sense. It looks like Lynn Johnston was trying to show Liz dealing more with the unusual issues of teaching in an Ojibway classroom, and how she overcomes those issues, but the whole thing with Jesse Mukwa taints it. It looks to me like Liz was burned out on Mtigwaki and the principal knew it and found a substitute.

September 5, 2006
Liz’s first day at the Glenallen school. She has written the provinces on the board and asks the class to answer which provinces the Canada’s longest river system crosses before she shows them a video on the subject.

April 22, 2007
Liz teaches grammar with panel after panel of examples of different grammar rules. Ultimately Brandy at Rock’n Central and Mizz Candy Rapper demonstrate the kind of job one can get if you don’t use proper grammar, i.e. the entertainment industry.

Third Year Summary: I don’t see any discipline problems. Liz may be a little preachy with the benefits of good grammar, but she is enthusiastic. The lesson isn’t consistent, but the kids seem to be getting it anyway. Liz may be back to being a good teacher again, but without only 2 strips as examples, there is not a large data pool from which to sample and with only 3 months left on the strip, there may not be any more Liz teaching strips.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Plotting of Anthony

I have been trying to get my head around Anthony’s actions at the Shawna-Marie Verano wedding. By his own admission, he presumed that Elizabeth Patterson would be taking Warren Blackwood to the wedding, and in fact, had Warren Blackwood not bailed on his date with Elizabeth to work in Yellowknife, that is exactly what would have happened. Elizabeth took Warren to the family function with Mike’s party, which is not a casual date, and that would have and should have sent a message she was serious about Warren. Warren certainly took it as a signal, however, not so much a signal that he would give up his job in Yellowknife to meet his dating commitment to Elizabeth. The cad!

Anthony believes Elizabeth is going to be there with Warren, so he decides he needs to bring a date to the wedding also. In Milborough, this could be some kind of requirement, since they seemed to be so obsessed with pairing Elizabeth off. However, considering Warren is the amazing helicopter pilot, Anthony knows he is less than Warren in Elizabeth’s eyes. Therefore, a choice of women to invite leaves Anthony with a few options:

a. He invites a woman to compete with Warren, ideally one more accomplished, better-looking, and more intelligent than Elizabeth.

Why didn’t he do that? The problem with this choice is that this is essentially what Anthony had with Thérèse. Despite her hooked nose, I always thought Thérèse was a more attractive woman and a better dresser than Elizabeth. She was painted as jealous, and then as obsessed with her career, and during her baby shower, she was also painted as crass for asking for money gifts. Nevertheless, there was no doubt in my mind she would be able to kick Elizabeth’s butt around the field in a contest of accomplishments and intelligence. Moreover, during the baby shower, she came off as gracious to April, which is more than I can say for Elizabeth in today’s strip.

It seems unlikely that Anthony could attract another Thérèse these days, considering he was moved from accounting an empire of Gordon Mayes businesses to becoming a convenience store manager and is also saddled with a baby girl. I have always felt that Thérèse would have been attracted to Anthony’s potential, considering she worked for his father, who appeared to be successful in business.

Not only that, but Elizabeth’s reaction to Thérèse, to seek opportunities to show off in front of Anthony with other men in revenge, only served to alienate her more from him and not bring them together. In a certain respect, Elizabeth’s move to Mtigwaki, was an admission of defeat and a desire not to have to deal with superiour Thérèse on a regular basis. Then Anthony was stuck with Thérèse, whom he was not able to force to be Elizabeth, no matter how pregnant he got her.

b. He goes alone.

Why didn’t he do that? It could have been the Milborough requirement, but more likely Anthony did not want to appear that he was continuing to wait for Elizabeth to finally get through dating other men and come to him. Also, he probably would have wanted someone with him to take his focus off looking at Elizabeth and Warren canoodling away. Ironically, he would have ended up with Elizabeth as his date at the wedding had he made this choice, but he got huge points from her when she found out that he had not waited. Those points, however, were eliminated once Elizabeth met his date, Julia.

c. He invites a woman to not to compete, ideally one less accomplished, worse-looking, and less intelligent than Elizabeth.

Why didn’t he do that? While Julia may be less physically attractive than Elizabeth, she is still more accomplished and more intelligent and better-mannered than Elizabeth. Once you take away Elizabeth’s marginal good looks and slender figure, there is nothing by which you can recommend her. She’s rude, temperamental, a poor school teacher at best, doesn’t get along with her family, barely has any friends, and not very good with small children or animals, if her cat or her niece and nephew are examples. Unless Anthony was willing to take Kortney Krelbutz, he is going to be hard-pressed to find someone truly worse than Elizabeth.

Anthony settles for coworker Julia and knows that simply based on her appearance, Elizabeth should not consider her a threat. If Elizabeth had been with Warren, she could still consider Anthony as a potential suitor as if Julia was not even there. The result is that Anthony lost whatever points he got for already having a date when she asked him to the wedding, and he doesn’t get the competitive impulses from Elizabeth he did when he was with Thérèse. If Elizabeth walked away with known-only-one-day Mason, not saying a word as if she considered both Anthony and Julia to be beneath her; she would have been even worse with Warren Blackwood, with whom she has some history.

Moral of the story: If Anthony wants to show Elizabeth that he is just as good as any of the other men with whom she has been running about, he must date a Thérèse-like girl. However, if he is smart, he should stick with Julia, who is one of the most likeable characters Lynn Johnston has put in the strip in years.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Dawn Enjo – Maid or Matron of Hono(u)r?

I think Lynn Johnston got herself into a situation in For Better or For Worse where she decided she wanted to change things after everything had been inked, but not everything had been lettered. The situation involved Dawn Enjo's status in Shawna-Marie Verano's wedding.

In this strip, from May 1, the original plan was that Shawna-Marie had a matron of hono(u)r and not a maid of hono(u)r. It seems unlikely that the person was intended to be Dawn at this point, because you would think Elizabeth would mention Dawn to Candace, who knows her. On the other hand, Elizabeth also refers to Shawna-Marie generically as “the bride.” It may have been that Lynn Johnston intended Dawn to be the matron of hono(u)r, and it would be some kind of surprise to her readers to learn that Dawn had gotten married, much in the way we were informed that her brother Brian got married in this strip, without much fanfare.

I am more inclined to believe that Dawn was not intended to be in the spot at all. These are the reasons:

1. The rehearsal procession order has Dawn in the wrong spot and another girl in the back.
You can tell from the rehearsal procession order in this strip: Elizabeth and Dawn are toward the front intended to be the first 2 bridesmaids in.

2. The wedding procession order in this strip: still has Dawn in the wrong spot. Even though they reversed order from the rehearsal, Elizabeth and Dawn are still the first two. Behind them is a girl with longer hair, whom I presume is Alyssa from the Yahoo-colourized dress of yellow and we don’t even see the last bridesmaid, who is supposed to be Jen in green.

3. The first and only time we see Dawn clearly introduced as the maid of hono(u)r is in this strip:, when she is going to break up the fight between Shawna-Marie and Mother Verano in silhouette. Even though Dawn says this is a maid of hono(u)r responsibility, there is nothing about breaking up a family fight which requires a maid of hono(u)r. In fact, Dawn’s departure is really only to allow Mason, the best man, to make his introduction to Liz. This strip could have easily been reworded from Dawn saying, “It’s looks like the bride is stressing out. I think I’ll give her some help” and it would have accomplished the same thing.

4. From the way Dawn and Elizabeth seem to be spending time away from Shawna-Marie during the rehearsal and during the bridal preparation shown in this strip:
they are much more in the lesser bridesmaid category. One would think a maid of hono(u)r would be called on to help the bride into a corset or to help with her veil, which leads into my next point.

5. The only other reference to a maid of hono(u)r is to help with a veil in panel 2 of this strip:
and it is ambiguous. We see someone headed up to the bride whose hairstyle matches Dawn’s and someone behind the bride whose hairstyle matches Dawn’s along with the line about how the maid of hono(u)r needs to help with the veil. The panel is done at such a distance, it is difficult to tell to which bridesmaid the comment is directed. The Yahoo-coloured version put Dawn’s colour dress on the steps, and the green bridesmaid (Jen) behind Shawna-Marie. All you can say for sure is that the closest bridesmaid to the veil is the green bridesmaid.

My conclusion: Jen, the green bridesmaid in back, was actually intended to be a matron of hono(u)r. The rehearsal line, the processional line, her single strip appearance behind the bride where she can handle the veil and the fact she is never shown handling flowers like the other bridesmaids says she is the one. Somewhere between May 1 and June 9, Lynn Johnston decided that Shawna-Marie should have Dawn as the maid of hono(u)r, instead of this unknown Jen. She couldn’t call Dawn the matron of hono(u)r (as was written in the May 1 strip), because that would mean Dawn had not invited or informed Elizabeth of her own wedding, which would be a serious offence, not like when her brother Brian Enjo got married in Japan, where he had an excuse for not inviting Mike Patterson due to the distance.

Why the change? I can only speculate. Perhaps, Lynn thought it would be more appropriate for a character somewhat familiar to the readers to take that spot. Perhaps Lynn originally planned for the best man to be Jen’s husband, and decided at the last minute to make him a romantic interest for Liz since it would be easier than trying to insert Warren Blackwood into the wedding storyline after she pinned him down in Yellowknife. Perhaps Lynn didn’t like the idea that Shawna-Marie had developed a new best friend in the 7 years it has been since the 3 of them graduated from high school, even though it would make sense, because they lived in different cities from each other and only saw each other once or twice in that whole period of time.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Anthony Caine – Instant Make Over

I had been expecting Anthony Caine to make an appearance at Shawna-Marie Verano’s wedding, since we went through the whole business of Liz being turned down by him. But never in my wildest dreams did I imagine Lynn Johnston would shave him and give him a complete makeover. We see just the head of him in the final panel of today’s strip, but I have an expectation that when he rises to his feet, muscles will ripple, chests will expand, and the guy will suddenly have a body as nice as Constable Paul Wright’s. The part I didn’t really understand is why? Lynn Johnston admires Charles Schultz, and when Peanuts was in its final days, the characters didn’t all suddenly change their appearance.

The obvious answer is that Lynn is letting the new artist, the one who is really going to be putting in all the new art surrounding the old reprinted art to have a chance to reimage the characters the way she wants to draw them. Some artists are good at imitating others’ style, and some artists prefer to draw the characters the way they like to draw characters, except with enough similar features so they are somewhat recognizable. For example, every time I see someone draw Batman, his costume ears are different lengths. I think this is the same thing here. Lynn Johnston gave this artist the chance to redraw Anthony, so his appearance will more closely match the way he is going to look for the vast majority of the reprints involving him and the way she wants to draw him. When you get right down to it, he adopted the moustache in 2002, and he really has not been in very many strips in the interim. It makes more sense for him to look like his old self.

Of this brings to mind another question. Elly, in the early strips, looked very different from the modern, turnip-nosed Elly. Will Lynn Johnston let the artist re-image Elly to look more human, less muppet, and more like she used to look? I doubt it. However, April and Elizabeth only bear a vague resemblance to their prior look, so it could be possible.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Missing Part of Shawna-Marie’s Wedding

I remember when Michael Patterson had his party honouring him as an author thinking to myself, “Now here is an opportunity to really pull the old characters of For Better or For Worse out of the woodwork for one last hurrah!” Then the only people who were pulled were Gordon and Tracey Mayes, and their main objective was to provide a means by which, Anthony Caine would find out about Warren and Liz. I was shocked Lynn Johnston had missed that great opportunity.

Here we are at Shawna-Marie’s wedding and the bridesmaids are handling the flowers and my thought is that once again we are seeing a large number of missed opportunities, like:

a. The bachelorette party.
b. A bridal shower

Either of these two venues would have afforded Lynn a little opportunity to reacquaint us with where Dawn is in her life, and where Shawna-Marie is in her life. Instead we had 3 days of Liz bonding with Candace while the point is made against traditional wedding ceremonies. Then 3 days of Shawna-Marie battles her mother, while someone magically created a new guy for Liz. Personally, I could have used at least of those days where Dawn mentions her own wedding plans during a bridal show, or a few days of Shawna-Marie, Liz, and Dawn getting trashed at her bachelorette party. It would have been a lot more fun than a corset joke.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

You Have to Know When to Pack ‘Em

Every once in awhile, Lynn Johnston makes fun of Elly’s tendency to preach as a sort of self-snarking of her own character. Those strips are usually pretty pleasant, because it gives some indication that the author is aware of how moralistic she has made her characters, and even feels the need now and again to take them down.

In today’s strip, Elly preaches the virtues of organization to April, who doesn’t stick around for the whole lecture, and doesn’t even stick around for her mother’s comeuppance. Elly is taken down, but the only people to enjoy it are the readers, and I must say I did enjoy seeing Elly taken down.

Shawna-Marie, Cracking up and Loving it.

Let me think back on all the wedding rehearsals in which I have participated and how many of them had a screaming match between the mother of the bride and the bride. Well, that’s zero.

Now, let me think back on all the weddings in which I have participated where the best man escorted a woman who was not the maid or matron of honour. Well, that’s zero.

Of course I also don’t ever remember going to an outdoor wedding under a circus tent or remember going to a rehearsal dinner where the food was done as a sandwich buffet.

I wonder why Lynn Johnston is going to the trouble of making Shawna-Marie and her wedding seem so classless and tasteless. It’s almost as if we are watching the wedding of Becky McGuire, a certified villain. Only Mason shows up and Liz declares her lust for him.

When I saw the strip, I was suddenly struck with the idea that the whole sequence of asking Anthony out only to find he was with someone else was intended to allow Liz to break with Anthony, just as she had also broken with Warren Blackwood a few strips earilier. Anthony is happy with accountant girl, and that’s that. Liz will come to September with a boyfriend, and express delight at being single.

Of course, then remembered the reason I never thought Paul Wright had a change, and that was Lynn Johnston had spent too much time developing the character of Anthony Caine to drop him.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Wedding Pecking Order

I remember when my wife and I began preparation for our wedding, learning very quickly what the pecking order was, in terms of opinions who were valued. Before becoming engaged, my opinion was valued. Afterwards, the order changed.

1. My wife
2. My wife’s step-mother
3. My wife’s mother
4. My wife’s father
5. Me

However, being married in 1992, it was during a time when there was much talk of the groom being an equal participant in the wedding, as he would be expected to be an equal participant in other duties traditionally considered to be women’s work, like taking care of the children, cleaning the house, etc. My wife and her 2 mothers felt the pressure so they would occasionally ask my opinion, and then pat me on the head, while they got a good laugh about my idea.

To a certain degree I can relate to the strip, but having the mother make all the decisions and the bride and groom seek a very drastic revenge on her once again takes the strip from “slice of life” to distasteful, ugly humour.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Happy 15th Anniversary to Me!

I find it somewhat ironic that we are going through Shawna-Marie's wedding disaster, when today I am celebrating my 15th anniversary of wedded bliss (ruby is the anniversary stone, in case you are interested). I had what would be called in the Dallas area, a wedding that was moderately expensive, and which was quite expensive for me. It took a long time to pay all those bills down. My wife and I got some contributions from my parents and her parents, but their beliefs on the subject were very similar to the ones which Lynn Johnston is espousing, i.e. you only spend so much on a wedding ceremony and anything above that comes out of your own pocket.

My wife and I put our creative energies into it for more than a year, mainly because I insisted on being married in June and most of the decent places are booked about a year in advance or more if you want to get married in that month. Afterwards, my wife complained about it being too much time in preparation, but I have no regrets. We had an early Renaissance musical group with whom I used to perform play as guests were seated; we had a slide show depicting us through baby pictures growing up which we narrated and carefully selected both the pictures and the music accompanying the slide show; we had a small chorus with whom my wife and I used to perform, sing songs, one of which we had written especially for the ceremony; and we had my wife's stepfather's country-western band "The Amazing Cattletones" perform at the reception. It was one of the highlights of my life.

And of course we had our little series of disasters with respect to our relatives who attended the service. These things touch on so many people in our society, it would be child's play to create a situation for poor Shawna-Marie where Lynn Johnston could make her point about a wedding going out of a bride's control and still be funny or poignant. That's what makes today's strip such a complete and utter failure. There are very few people in our society who have not been in or attended a wedding. It is a common bond around which a "slice of life" strip could really do up and make people say, "That's funny because it's true." Lynn Johnston apparently knows so little about weddings, and is so uninterested in researching them (which would be so easy considering many of her staff are married); she doesn't seem to realize you can't make a point criticizing something that you fail to understand in the first place. Her wedding to Rod Johnston as a single mother must have been such a small, crude, unpleasant affair. Lynn Johnston does not realize how much fun a wedding can be, and it makes her strips criticizing them distinctly unfunny.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Elizabeth Patterson Explained

In today’s For Better or For Worse, I was quite shocked to see Elizabeth Patterson espouse the idea of marriage for the reasons of Tradition and “I’d do it for my mom.” Elly Patterson has been pushing Anthony Caine on Elizabeth forever, including when Anthony was married and had a child, so we know she has no scruples when it comes to him. However, I never thought that Elizabeth Patterson, little Miss:

The partner I'm looking for is truly meant for me. He's someone who shares my beliefs, my goals and my commitments. He's someone sincere, who wants a long lasting relationship with all its ups and downs and is willing to "work things out".

would ever say she would accept a marriage ceremony for her mom’s sake. I feel fairly certain, given the amount of time left before September, that Elizabeth and Anthony will have a wedding ceremony, but it will be small and intimate and very fast. Candace and Elizabeth have been mocking Shawna-Marie’s wedding all week, and this has to be the setup to say, “Look! Elizabeth is so practical and yet so traditional. She has a wedding, but she spends next-to-no time preparing for it. Elizabeth is my hero.” She’s the opposite of Shawna-Marie, whose wedding is bound to end up with some disaster, for no other reason than to draw the contrast for Liz and explain the readers who have been waiting for 10 years for Elizabeth to marry Anthony, why it is not going to be a big to-do, but instead a wedding more like Mike and Deanna’s first wedding.

This also will explain why Elizabeth will end up with Anthony, to whom she has spoken only a few times a year ever since she graduated high school in 1999, and to take up being a mother to Francie, to whom I have never seen Elizabeth speak at all. If it weren’t for the few years of high school dating, Anthony and Liz have all the feel of an arranged marriage. Saying she would do it for tradition and for her mom, cements the idea, in my mind. If that weren’t enough, in her latest monthly letter Liz says:

I've been thinking...Anthony could be that someone. We've drifted together and apart ever since high school. I wonder if I'll ever get the chance to find out what we'd be like together now.

April and Becky - The Long Version

Per aprilp_katje's request. The whole story:

October 4, 2001 -
This is the first strip I have in an on-line archive with Becky and April in it. I don’t plan to go back further than this, and I probably will not have to. April races to the bus and times how quickly she can to school. Becky is already there and says it took her 10 minutes, whereas it took April 5 minutes. No big surprise there, since Becky has always thought her appearance was more important than April.

October 10, 2001 -
April discovers the sex book and calls Becky about it. Becky comes over to look at it with April. April and Becky learn about and are interested in sex, when April is 10 years old and just barely in Grade 5. Elly is lucky Becky’s mother didn’t find out about this.

December 15, 2001 -
Becky and April are together building a snowman, with a 6 pack, clearly indicating they are thinking about men—muscle men, made out of snow.

September 19 - 21, 2002 -
Becky, April, and some girl I have never seen before are at the mall scoping out boys. April remarks that she likes Becky’s new haircut because it makes her look younger. Becky storms off and the other girl sides with Becky, telling April she needs to apologize. Apparently the apology doesn’t come, because when John picks the girls up, he informs Elly that the girls were not speaking to each other. Becky and April patch things up, but this girl never appears again.

December 6, 2002 -
It’s rabbit replacement day. Becky doesn’t do anything more than sit on the bus beside April, which I presume means they have patched up their problems, but who knows?

Friday January 17, 2003 – The beginning of the band sequence.

April is playing an old CD player Elizabeth gave her when she got a new one from Mike over Christmas. April, Duncan, Gerald, and Becky are enjoying the loud sounds while John Patterson seethes over the noise. April asks her parents’ permission to have a band and practice in her house. Elly and John agree. While the band members try to decide on a name, April focuses them on learning music first.

January 24 - 25, 2003 - I missed this the first time around. April tries to get them to stop playing their own thing and concentrate on piece of music. Becky asks when she gets to sing, and April says, "Later, OK?" Then Gerald steps in with the tambourine and insults Becky. I realize now, Gerald is stepping in to support April, but in doing so he insults Becky, by trying to put her into “the girl can only sing” role with the tambourine. Becky then tries to start the group on a melody she knows and she wants the group to improvise around her. This leads to Becky going home. It occurs to me now that what you had was April wanting the group to be formed around her classical guitar roots, i.e. learning pieces off music, whereas Becky wanted a more pop style of music development, where the backgrounds are largely improvised around the melody.

January 27 - February 1, 2003 - Grandpa Jim intervenes with April and points out the problem is that there is rivalry over who is leading the band (he strikes a chord!). It turns out, this is truly the case. I had been too distracted by Gerald's tambourine antics to notice it, but April points out that (a) the practice was at her house and (b) having the band was her idea, so Becky shouldn’t be allowed to take over. Therefore she completely rejects Grandpa Jim's suggestion that they let Becky lead because she is the most capable. Duncan goes off and gets Becky to give the band a second chance, and I find it very interesting that he specifically tells April and Gerald not to come with him.

The next odd thing is that at April's birthday party, 2003, Becky is not there.

June 1, 2003 - We see the band in rehearsal, and Gerald is calling out the beat to start. There are no fights, but the animals and Elly flee the house. This shows that Gerald has taken over the band leadership, and not April or Becky.

July 6, 2003 - The band is at the arcade and Elly does Dance Revolution.

July 20, 2003 - The band at an outdoor eatery, where Becky and April declare the boy's lack of bodily and clothes cleanliness to be revolting.

July 22, 2003 - Becky and April lie on her bed, while April complains her parents are taking a vacation without her.

August 17, 2003 - The missing bathing suit strip. Becky ends up stealing April's top after April stole Gerald’s bottom. She gets revenge for Gerald.

September 21, 2003 - The band practices Gerald's new song "Old People" and by virtue of Elly's poor opinion of it, declare it to be a hit. By doing a song Gerald has written himself, this shows the band is not doing covers of other people’s tunes. No Mr. Bergan music in sight.

October 8, 2003 - Becky and April together on April's bed as she complains that now Grandpa Jim is no longer in the house, April has to go to Lilliput's after school to work every day, and reveals that she had been going over to Becky's house everyday, which would have been a majour bonding time between the two girls.

October 18, 2003 - At the end of the long "April works at Lilliput's" sequence, she speaks to Becky about all she now has to do, but in a good responsible way, and Becky reports she (Becky) is lucky because all she has to do after school is watch TV. This is the first time we see an indication that April’s life is superiour to Becky.

October 26, 2003 - The band poo-poos Halloween, but wants to go with April trick-or-treating with smaller children.

December 7, 2003 - The band picks out A Charlie Brown Christmas to rent, after poo-poohing a number of other darker Christmas films.

December 28, 2003 - April and Becky make snowmen, but leave their winter gear on them and freeze themselves.

January 11, 2004 - Gerald dyes his hair blonde. The band celebrates New Years' Eve and happen to come across a street riot. This is a truly bizarre strip.

January 21 - 23, 2004 - April and Becky talk about Dixie and Edgar and make a few bad puns about dogs.

January 26, 2004 – We begin the sequence where the band relocates its practice space to the school over lunch time. Gerald has hockey. Duncan has basketball. Their teams rehearse after school, so they can’t rehearse then. Gerald wants to rehearse on the weekend, but April has to babysit all day on Saturdays and is too busy studying on Sundays (which is a pretty poor excuse). After they are caught passing notes, Gerald blames April and Becky for wanting to break up the band. Mrs. Collins agrees to let them use the music room over lunch and donates a drum set for Gerald to use.

February 1, 2004 – The band watches an eating contest, while Elly makes a thought balloon about world hunger. Ugh.

February 3, 2004 – The rehearsals begin with Jeremy Jones strangely sitting in the hallway listening. Presumably he wants to join and that was going to be his means of redemption, but it never panned out. Then they get into a long discussion about families where Gerald and Becky both express desires for a change in their family (Gerald – different brother, Becky – happy mother, wants a sister). Duncan and April say their family is OK the way things are. It’s an interesting early bonding moment with Gerald and Becky and also with Duncan and April.

February 23, 2004 – Another Jeremy Jones eavesdropping sequence. Mrs. Collins tells the band about the youth talent festival battle of the bands. 4Evah wins the contest between the 6 finalists to get into the festival. Then we see Gerald leading the band in their performance of “Tell It Like It Is”, which strangely involves April and Becky dropping their instruments to do dance moves and bear their midriffs. John Patterson disapproves, but in an unusual move for him, doesn’t stop it. I think it is odd because without April on lead guitar or Becky on keyboard, there is no instrument carrying the melody. I will grant this strip is more about midriffs than music.

March 1 - 6, 2004 – The talent show sequence. April breaks her G-string, so Lynn can make that awful joke and April is not talented enough to play using only the remaining strings. Even the sequences where Becky and April are dancing and not playing (so April’s guitar doesn’t matter) don’t come off. As they depart the stage, only Duncan attempts to comfort April, as Becky has her eyes closed as if she is in pain.

April 4, 2004 – April’s 13th birthday party. The band is there and a bunch of other people. This is the last birthday party with a large number of friends from outside the band.

April 12, 2004 – April at Becky’s house talking about John and Elly on vacationing in Mexico and if they are bringing back presents. April reveals she is staying with Becky while they are gone.

April 17, 2004 – April with Becky screams at the sight of Elly with cornrows in her hair.

May 24-25, 2004 – Elly listens to April talking to Becky where they refer to someone as a Foob, and April defines the term and then calls her mother a Prag. At this point in her life, April has not problem with gossiping about people with Becky.

May 31, 2004 – April drops Butterscotch over at Becky’s in preparation for travel to Elizabeth’s graduation. April thinks “There’s something about Becky that makes me jealous…an’ I don’t know what it is. I’m glad she’s with my bunny an’ not my boyfriend!” Then there is a tag thought balloon, which I can see now was added at the last minute, because the lettering is much smaller than the other thought balloon, as if it had to be squeezed in. The tag is “If I had one.” This is the beginning. April is jealous of Becky for what she admits is no reason.

June 29, 2004 – End of school bus ride home. Becky is there, but she just blows bubble gum.

July 11, 2004 – April talks to Becky on the phone. Elly forces her to get off and screams at her when she protests

August 30, 2004 – April trades Becky a shirt, pants and pair of sandals for a $120 short dress, which Elly refuses to let her wear until she puts on a whole lot of extra clothes so she doesn’t look like a pole dancer. This hints about Becky’s choice of clothing also, since the dress came from her.

September 3 - 7, 2004 – Once at school, Duncan says April looks OK in the outfit. Becky wisely says nothing. Both Gerald and Duncan comment on the flesh girls are bearing. Becky is wearing a midriff-bearing shirt and long pants and says nothing throughout the entire sequence, until the principal announces that she is installing a dress code. Then Becky complains that “they’re gonna start telling us how to dress ourselves.” April misses Becky’s point about how they are being treated completely and says, “I know…It’s kind of a relief.”

October 20, 2004 – Becky and April go to take Home Ec at R.P. Boire. Becky rolls up her skirt and April mocks her in her thought balloon that it makes her look like she has a gut. This is the first time April has openly mocked Becky via thought balloon, but it won’t be her last.

October 21, 2004 – April and Becky mock the name of the Home Ec teacher, Mrs. Potts, who catches them doing it. Becky says she likes her teacher.

October 22, 2004 – Becky hears about integrating the Home Ec class and hopes it means older guys. April asks Becky if she can think about something else. Becky says she can’t.

October 23, 2004 – 4 Special needs kids are added to the class. Becky says it is going to be weird. April tells her to shut up. Shannon Lake tells Becky what she has isn’t “catching.” And I notice that Shannon is not using ellipses, but she picks it up in her next strip appearance. Too bad.

October 25, 2004 – Becky complains about the Special Needs kids. April tells Becky she is freaking her out. Becky’s complaints are that some of the Special Needs can’t talk and won’t look at her, and protests that they will prevent her from learning anything. April does not answer Becky’s protests, but thought balloons she has learned about Becky. My boy did a summer camp last year where he was put in with some kids who are much more severely autistic than he is, and it freaked him out too.

October 26, 2004 – The teacher put them in groups. Becky gets put in a group with 3 guys. April thought balloons that each group has someone with “special needs” which is a reference to Becky’s need to be around guys is equal to her having a “special need.”

October 29, 2004 – Becky asks April about her Home EC group, particularly Shannon. No Becky insults.

December 14, 2004 – April talks about 4Evah playing a Christmas concert at the high school and how Becky is excited over a Grade 12 boy, whom she wants to impress onstage. April doesn’t have a problem with this initially, but Elly does.

December 15, 2004 – Becky and April pass Shannon, and only April and Shannon speak. Becky slams Shannon for talking funny, walking funny, being 15 years old with a Grade 2 reading level, not being able to get on a bus, having to be taken by her mother everywhere. April thought balloons that Becky’s mom doesn’t do anything with her. That’s some pretty heavy Shannon mocking from Becky to get no response from April.

December 16, 2004 – Becky talks about how she is lucky to be with 3 guys and not partnered with Shannon because she is slow, which another reference to Shannon holding back someone learning. April defends Shannon by pointing out Becky spends all her time flirting.

December 21, 2004 – After hearing Shannon talk about how she is mocked by boys, April offers to let Shannon play the bells for 4Evah at the Christmas concert. Shannon freaks out.

December 22, 2004 – April tells Becky about her invitation to Shannon. Becky disapproves because Shannon would mess them up and she wants the band to impress the Grade 12 guys. Becky doesn’t want to share the stage with a loser. April thought balloons “Neither do I.” This is our first and only indication that April no longer wants Becky in the band as Becky ladles on the Shannon hate.

December 23, 2004 – April confesses to Gerald she is beginning to hate Becky. Gerald defends Becky because of her poor home life, her talent and all the nice things she has. April accuses Becky of being immoral and classless.

December 24, 2004 – 4Evah kills at the Christmas concert and as Becky hoped she got the date with the Grade 12 guy. April sullenly tells her Merry Christmas.

January 2, 2005 – April and Becky watch the news. After a long series of depressing news stories, Becky reacts with sadness to a story about a puppy. This shows how shallow Becky is, just like the rest of the TV viewing public.

January 25, 2005 – Becky saves a seat for Jeff, her post Christmas concert date. Duncan and April don’t take it well. If Jeff had ended up being a real boyfriend, did Duncan and April really expect them to take precedence?

January 26, 2005 – April complains Becky thinks she is hot because of dating a Grade 12 guy, but can’t understand what the guy sees in her, implying that April wished a Grade 12 guy had asked her out. In this classic strip, Duncan explains that Becky is “hands on, a gig, roadside, been there”.

January 27, 2005 – Jeff ignores Becky. Duncan makes a joke about it.

January 28, 2005 – Becky approaches Jeff, who calls her a good girl and tell her to sit down. April sits with Becky.

January 29, 2005 – At school Becky tells April the sordid tale of Jeff Bray and how it was not just one date, but a whole series of activities, including Jeff telling Becky he loved her.

January 31, 2005 – In the washroom, Becky and April still talks as April puts in her first preaching line, “Maybe you gave him too much.”

February 1, 2005 – Becky weeps through math.

February 2 - 3, 2005 – April tells Becky she’s having a bad day. Becky reveals her parents are separating and blames herself, because they only stayed together because of her.

February 4, 2005 – April offers to comfort Becky with a band rehearsal at her place.

February 5, 2005 – Becky apologizes for not sharing a seat with April in the morning and for acting like a jerk. April admits to Becky she still likes her.

February 27, 2005 – Becky wears a midriff bearing shirt with an exposed navel ring while waiting for the bus in 12 below zero weather, and pays the price.

March 17, 2005 – April and Becky go to the mall. Becky agrees to meet April at the food court.

March 22, 2005- At the food court, Becky is mentally classifying people who walk by. April tells Becky she had to help Shannon Lake who got lost in the card shop. Becky is surprised Shannon could get lost.

March 23, 2005 – Becky continues to judge people. April thought balloons, “I gotta find a new friend.” Obviously April’s opinion on calling people Foob has changed.

March 24, 2005 – April asks how Becky can “label” people. Becky says it has not effect on the people and she’s not always negative. April asks Becky to rate her, and then gets her feelings hurt when Becky does it.

March 25, 2005 – Becky follows April into the washroom to apologize and say she gave April a good rating. To prove it, Becky asks April to rate her. Naturally April rates Becky as pretty, fashionable and stupid. Naturally, Becky takes offence and April leaves with a classic Patterson parting shot over the shoulder.

March 26, 2005 – Amazingly, Becky is still walking with April, when April announces to her she’s shopping by herself. Becky says, “Whatever. I’ll see you ‘round.” April thought balloons how she’ll never be as pretty, popular or well-dressed as Becky. Then Shannon Lake shows up to show April those things don’t matter, at least not to her.

May 29, 2005 – April and Becky buy cleavage enhancers. Edgar eats one of April’s, which Becky finds amusing.

June 30, 2005 – April and Becky at the Grade 8 grad. The band sits together, and are surprised when Becky goes to sing one of her own compositions. April and Gerald are shocked. I suddenly realize this is the very first time we have seen a strip make a reference to Becky as a composer. In prior strips, it has been April and Gerald.

July 7, 2005 – Jeremy Jones talks to April and points out “After tonight, she’ll (Becky) probably will think she’s too big for your band.” April protests he is wrong.

July 11, 2005 - Becky seeks out Gerald and April and finds them kissing. Gerald tells Becky she was amazing. Becky says she was OK. April asks why Becky didn’t tell them she was performing. Gerald says the whole band could have been there. Becky says that’s why she didn’t tell, i.e. she didn’t want the whole band up there.

July 12, 2005 – Becky explains she wanted to do something on her own and not with the band. Gerald protests they give her lots of space because she is the lead singer. Becky says it is not the same, because she wants to BE somebody as Duncan walks up. Gerald asks if she is saying the band isn’t good enough. Becky says they are good enough, but not for her.

July 13, 2005 – In the aftermath of this drama, April wants to snuggle with Gerald in the back seat of the car.

July 15, 2005 – After Gerald is gone, April lays it out for Elizabeth. (1) Everyone told Becky how amazing and talented she was. (2) Then Becky said she wants to be famous and the band is not good enough for her.(3) Becky has a giant, inflated ego.

September 3, 2005 – Back in school. Duncan wonder’s where Becky is going to be. April declares Becky McGuire is history. Becky over hears her.

September 5, 2005 – April repeats her problem with Becky, i.e. that she said the band wasn’t good enough for her, so feels like she has been treated like dirt and they can never be friends again. Becky suggests superficial friendship.

September 6, 2005 – Ignoring what April just said, Becky tells April her parents have separated, she taking voice lessons and she has been doing gigs and Jeremy Jones is her roadie. April tells Becky she is a big sound system.

September 7, 2006 – Becky explains she thought she could do better on her own and to make it as a singer she has to look out for number one. April tells Becky she is full of shit.

September 8, 2006 – April dissolves the band.

September 9, 2006 – Grandpa Jim weighs in shocked April dissolved the band. April admits to Grandpa Jim that Becky was right about the difference in quality between Becky and the rest of the band. Grandpa Jim protests it is still no reason to dissolve the band.

September 10, 2006 – April agrees and asks her dad’s permission to practice at Gerald’s place.

November 21, 2005 – Becky comes up to April and asks why April is late to school. Seeing April’s zits, she asks if April went to dermatologist. April says, “None of your beeswax”. Becky comes back with “Whatzit to you?”

November 26, 2005 – People gather to hear Becky’s radio commercial.

November 27, 2005 – April calls Elizabeth in the middle of the night and among other things tells her that Becky called her fat in front of a bunch of guys.

November 28, 2005 – Becky announces in addition to the radio, her dad has booked gigs for her and Jeremy Jones is doing her audio. April hopes everything works out for Becky, and she corrects her with Rebeccah and talks about practicing her signature.

November 29, 2005 – Gerald is excited Becky is going to be famous. April wishes for the old “Becky.”

December 8, 2005 – Becky begs to copy April’s book report, because she had to sing. April thought balloons Becky doesn’t know what a true friend is.

December 9, 2005 – April lets Becky have her outline. April thought balloons about being used.

March 19, 2006 – Elly forces April to take an umbrella. April shares the umbrella with other people at the bus stop, including Becky.

April 3, 2006 – 4Evah practices and they stink. April exclaims that without Becky they’re nothing.

April 6, 2006 – Becky comes up to April and asks her about the new band, i.e. 4Evah&Eva. Becky says she is glad because 4Evah got her started on her career. Then she hands April a CD and talks about how her dad is her agent. Then we see the crowd of nerdy girls handing Becky school work they have done for her.

September 19, 2006 – Becky is surrounding by her nerdy girls. Eva and April talk about her and mention that they started playing her tunes on the radio. Eva comments that she would like to weigh her head.

September 20, 2006 – Becky approaches April and asks for help on an essay. April protests Becky has a tutor. Becky said only in the summer on the road (which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense). April agrees to help Becky if Becky acknowledges her existence.

September 21, 2005 – Duncan and Eva protest, because Becky has 2 albums out, she’s on T.V., she’s invited to perform all over Canada, and is treated like a goddess. April sees her purpose in Becky’s life to be something in her world that’s real.

September 22, 2006 – Despite what Duncan and Eva just said, Becky asks to sit beside April on the school bus. Becky talks about how people think she is a prima donna and explains her situation to a completely unsympathetic, squinting April.

September 23, 2006 – Becky continues on with her woes of being famous, and points out April will never have to deal with it. April glares.

October 2, 2006 – Gerald wants to practice, despite Grandpa Jim’s stroke, so they can outshine Rebecca.

October 27, 2006 – Becky talks to April and Gerald. She is excited because she is playing for the school for the first time with her band, and she thinks it is cool 4Evah&Eva are opening for her because a lot of other bands would like to do that. April says Becky makes her mad because she acts like she is doing the school a gigantic favor to perform. Gerald points out she is a big name. Both April and Gerald think of impolite names for Becky. This is Gerald’s only moment when he thinks poorly of Becky, and it is prompted by April.

October 30, 2006 – People crowd around Rebecca asking for autographs and asking questions as For Evah and Eva go on.

October 31, 2006- Becky is upset because they are too good.

November 1, 2006 – With her own makeup person, Rebecca is called to the stage and refuses water from Shannon Lake. She announces she rules, but she is informed she lost her sound.

November 2, 2006 – Rebecca’s lead guitarist goes crazy and destroys the performance and Eva makes a joke about it.

November 3, 2006 – Becky runs from the stage to the washroom. Gerald explains the 2 of the guys in the band are stoned and Jeremy never showed up to do audio. April and Eva follow Becky into the washroom and accuse her of being too dramatic in whispers.

November 4, 2006 – April explains to Becky her band let her down and the reason she was successful was because her band didn’t let her down. They hug.

March 6, 2007 –Eva and April pass by Becky in the mall. April accuses Becky of having given her the “I’m-better-than-you’ll-ever-be-no-matter-how-hard-you-try” kinda look. Eva points out Becky is by herself in the mall.

Monday, June 04, 2007

No Dennis North

Without the presence of Dennis North at the wedding, and Liz going escortless to the Shawna-Marie wedding, I suppose this could be a sign of Liz’s new maturity. However I suspect it is more a sign that Lynn Johnston realizes that she just has 3 months to go before the For Better or For Worse hybrid and just can’t waste time on another effort to make Anthony jealous. The fact that Elizabeth practically announced that Anthony was the guy for her in her monthly letter, not to mention the fact she confessed that Constable Paul Wright meant nothing to her because she was really waiting for Anthony as she had indirectly promised after Anthony saved her from Howard. All these are signs that the wedding is going to be the place where the grand romance will begin.

Will Anthony’s date prove to be nothing to him and easily ditched?
Will Anthony confess his love for Liz after she gets jealous of his date and he is forced to chase after her?
Will Anthony and Liz use Shawna-Marie’s wedding as a backdrop for their own wedding plans?
Will anyone at Corbeil realize that Anthony and Liz have not been out on an official date since they were both in high school 8 years ago, and Liz is talking about this man as a partner for life?
Will Elizabeth ever address the idea that she is going to be taking over the mommy spot for a child she has never spoken to?
Will Anthony finally shave off that cheezy moustache?

So many questions and so little time left. Get busy, Lynn Johnston!!