Back last December, the monthly letters slipped out a few weeks early for January, which ended up being a blessing for doing April’s Real Blog
, because those leaked early letters provided a means by which what was going on in the apartment fire strips could be understood. I remember being very curious when the January monthly letters were officially released if there were would be any edits of the letters to accommodate the strips that were published between the early release and the actual release. There were none. This told me that the monthly letters were actually written a few weeks in advance. Given the need to do advance work for newspaper publication, they could have been written even further in advance than when they were leaked.
Today’s released July monthly letters are probably the furthest removed from actual strip content that I have seen. The June storylines are about Shawna-Marie’s wedding and Shannon liberation speech / Gerald and April month long break up.
The Elizabeth letter acknowledges the wedding rehearsal plotline from June 4 – 9, but none of the wedding, giving me the impression that those strips were intended to run at the end of June and to lead into a July wedding sequence, where the events actually happened in June, much the way the Grade 8 grad was handled back in 2005.
The Shannon liberation speech, the reconciliation with Gerald, the reappearance of Jeremy Jones after a 2-year absence, the special needs kids telethon are items which should have been noted by the April monthly letter. Instead, the letter makes it look like April is still estranged from Gerald, and Luis Guzmán (for his comments to April about her lack of professionalism) at the lunch table at the end of May.
Every single letter talks about the move and there was not one single strip devoted to the actual moving. That is akin to every single letter talking about the apartment fire, or every single letter talking about Grandpa Jim’s stroke and then not showing it. Clearly moving strips were supposed to be there.
In addition to these disparities, there were a few other unusual things:
1. April’s sitting at the lunch table with Shannon and the special needs kids is a clear carryover from her leaving the lunch table to shun Gerald and yet 2 weeks of the wedding is stuck between those points, which dilutes the effect.
2. Friday, June 29, and Saturday, June, 30 strips with April making up with Gerald, and Eva talking summer plans with April on the school bus, while Shannon gets off the bus seem tacked on, particularly with Shannon on the bus, where she has never been shown before.
3. The wedding sequence, which has to operate over a specific time frame, was interrupted by the 2 weeks of the Shannon liberation speech. I have never seen Lynn Johnston do this before, without someone voicing over a recollection of things that happened earlier. Plot wise, it was particularly jarring to have Julia push Anthony to make his move on Liz and then wait 2 weeks for it to happen.
4. Elly's Letter, June 2007
says: “I'm happy that Mike and Deanna are being so accommodating; they're taking possession of our house on the first of July and they've given us all the time we need to remove the remainder of our belongings. We don't intend to abuse the privilege - we hope to be out sooner than that, but whatever happens we'll be just down the street, so I expect there will be some back-and-forth for forgotten items for a while after the Big Day. Wish us luck!” This clearly sounds like the move was supposed to be completely over by July 1 and not happening exactly on July 1 weekend.
What happened? I can only speculate.
1. The Shannon liberation storyline.
Shannon is rarely mentioned (only 4 times since 2004) in April’s monthly letters, even when things happen involving her. My guess is that the Shannon liberation storyline was intended to be standalone and not commented on, except April says she’s going to try to do things with Shannon, now she’s considered to be cool.
2. The telethon sequence
(if we get to see it). I think this was intended to be another standalone sequence and it was here that Gerald and April (and maybe Becky too) were supposed to make up, instead of the tack-on strips at the end of June. Probably the telethon would have been intended for late July after the wedding sequence is over. The make up with Gerald strips would have worked nicely with the band gathering for the telethon and then departing to their various summer places, just as April was going back to Winnipeg.
3. The Shawna-Marie wedding sequence.
This was probably intended to start so the rehearsal part of it and meeting Mason would be at the end of June and the rest of the wedding would run into July.
4. The moving strips
(if we get to see them, which I seriously doubt). These were probably intended for just after the Shannon liberation storyline.My theory is this:
The May 7 – May 19 strips of Grandpa Jim’s therapy had to be included, because Lynn had gone through the trouble of researching them and including drawings of real people and exercises in the sequences. By including these strips, everything else was thrown off.I think the story order was intended to be this:
May 7 – June 2. April / Gerald / Shannon.
April’s outfit on May 5 closely matches her outfit on May 21 after the Grandpa Jim therapy strips, except for the shading on the clothing, which Lynn Johnston does not add. If I extract the 2 weeks of Grandpa Jim strips from May 7 – 19 and allow the Tree limb falling / April-Gerald split / Shannon strips to run sequentially, then they would run from May 7 – June 2.June 4 – 22. The moving strips.
This is a little long at 3 weeks, so there might be something else that had been intended to be included, possibly the introduction of Elly's giant collection of memorabilia which will serve as the basis for the hybrid.June 25 – July 20, Shawna-Marie wedding strip
(assuming 4 weeks total)July 23 – August 3, Telethon.
Here we would have had Gerald and April make up. The band members leave for all their various locations, including April to Winnipeg. We may yet see part of this one, but the telethon and the moving strips seem to me to be certainly stories we can do without. Scenes of Elly packing and moving and huffing about are deadly dull; and as for the telethon, who needs to see another Becky McGuire humiliation / reconciliation?The future?
Anthony’s language about wanting to do “everything” with Liz seems to me to be a lead-in to a marriage proposal (sorry). If the strip were ending in September as originally planned and not hybriding in September, then a wedding in September with the “For Better or For Worse” closing line would be likely. However, if Lynn wants to show them as a happily married couple by September so they can pop in and introduce old strips from time-to-time talking about their early courtship strips, then a quick courtship and wedding in July to August seems the only possibility, particularly after Lynn has gone through such great lengths to set up Shawna-Marie’s giant wedding in contrast. I have hopes for a Thérèse reappearance and humiliation, but there may not be time for that.
Lynn will want to have at 1 – 2 weeks of strips of April in Winnipeg in August talking about how she knows for certain she wants to be a veterinarian, and you know Lynn is going to want to couple that moment with her assistance in birthing a calf or a horse (most likely horse) to make it seem somewhat dramatic.
Then there has to be at least one week of strips where Mike’s book comes out and becomes an instant best-seller and one week where the hybrid concept is introduced to the readers. That is really all there is time for by September, unless Lynn decides to slip the hybrid start to a later time.