Friday, April 02, 2010

A While or In A Few Minutes? That is the question.

In today’s new-run of For Better or For Worse, we have a strip where young Michael expresses his preference for the phrase “in a few minutes’ versus “a while.” That seems very familiar to me, but I cannot find another strip making that same comparison. In this strip, Elly uses the phrase “a while” to be short when the time clearly will mean a more open-ended time. In this strip, young Michael compares “20 minutes” to “forever.” Those are sort of related, but not exactly.

All week I had anticipated we would see the last March, 1981 strip which was not reprinted, because it introduced the idea of John training Farley. Much to my surprise, we have hit the end of the week and that strip has not appeared.

Back on February 23, Lynn Johnston wrote to aprilp_katje in her Elly's Coffee Talk about the cello-playing “’Allo?” girl and said:

Some new stuff is on the way...but there is very little follow up on this story idea. At the time, I had planned a more complicated series, but did not know how to keep from detracting from the main family unit. I then left the readers with NO idea what was going there is a bit more info. Because I am working towards getting the story back on track, I am also short of time and space, so just mentioning who this person is, will have to do. Thanks! LJ

“Detracting from the main family unit” is the interesting part. Having seen the strips, I think I understand what Lynn was saying back then.

Sunday, March 14 – John slammed for going out with Ted. That’s Ted.
Monday, March 15 – Saturday, March 20 – Anne visits Elly and they discuss Connie’s trip to Montreal and the secret of the cello-playing “’Allo?” girl.. That’s Anne, Connie.
Monday, March 22 – Saturday, March 28 – John and Michael visit the car wash. That’s John, Michael.
Sunday, March 28 – Tuesday, March 30 – Elly and John try to train Farley. That’s John, Farley
Wednesday, March 31 – Thursday, April 1 – Elly visits Anne and Steve Nichols gets slammed. That introduced Steve Nichols.
Friday, April 2 – Elly spends time with Elizabeth .That’s Elizabeth.

These strips are making the rounds between the characters. The reference back to dog training was probably for no other reason than to have an opportunity to feature Farley the dog. Back in February 23, Lynn was saying she was trying to address the material to get the story back on track and that’s why there wasn’t time for a longer story about “’Allo girl?”” It seems clear now, but back in February 23, I had no idea what Lynn was talking about.


Blogger DreadedCandiru2 said...

Well, it does sort of make sense that she'd want to end things with the basic dilemma of trying to balance child-rearing and house-work; that's because I expect this to be a lead-in to her bellowing at a broken can-opener.

3:23 AM  
Blogger April Patterson said...

Does anyone else sense that she's not quite ready to go to straight reprints? This all feels so unfinished.

6:23 AM  
Blogger howard said...

Does anyone else sense that she's not quite ready to go to straight reprints? This all feels so unfinished.

It does feel unfinished to a certain degree. With the modern strip there was a big wrap up and a farewell note. Lynn publicized the end times well in advance of the point, so we knew the exact time when it was completed. The fact Lynn hasn’t said anything aside from her note to you and the original announcement of stopping in Early Spring, is unusual. On the other hand, she might not want to publicize going to straight reprints for fear of losing revenues. Not only that, but she is not really concluding any stories. The new-runs have not introduced any intriguing stories that need to be concluded, except those involving continuity errors (What happened to the other Nichols boy and what happened to Fred the fish, etc.?)

Lynn may feel that she is wrapping up the new-runs of the dailies, simply by revisiting all the characters of the strip to show their situation before she stops. My suspicion has been that tomorrow we will see the Easter, 1981 strip which is one of the few Sunday strips in the April - June, 1981 timeframe that Lynn has not already reprinted. Then on Monday, we will see can opener strip, i.e. the Monday, April 6, 1981 strip reprinted on Monday, April 5, 2010. That will allow the reprints to align as closely as they can to the dates and Lynn will be in straight reprints for the dailies, at least. I can’t see Lynn missing that opportunity. There are too many signs we are at this point:

a. It is Early Spring.
b. The trip to Thailand was (as we learned from the Chinese New Year references) the first 2 weeks of February and Lynn flew standby coming back, so there was not a definite preplanned end date for the trip. In order for Lynn to do that, she had to have 6 weeks dailies ready to go from middle of February (i.e. end of March) + material after that, if she decided to stay longer. That’s where we are now.
c. The trip to UniversalUClick with Stephanie was awfully suspicious, especially coming at the time it did.

The Sunday strips are a different story. Lynn did her final farewell to the modern strip in a Sunday strip. Plus, she has already reprinted almost all the Sunday strips from April to June, 1981. She could continue to do new-runs on the Sundays for the next 3 months or really for longer than that, if she wanted. The Sundays rarely tie in to the daily storyline. The other possibility is that at least for April to June, she will reprint unreprinted strips from 1980 as she did 2 weeks ago, or mix those in with new-runs. I think she is most likely to do her last new material on a Sunday strip.

Even so, it may still feel unfinished, since Lynn is not actually concluding anything.

6:41 AM  

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