Another Boy Scout trip and of course, another new-run by Lynn Johnston.
The last few new-runs of For Better or For Worse
have continued on an interesting and odd theme. We continually see Dr. John Patterson performing household tasks that he rarely did in the original strip. Morever, we are seeing him do them badly.
Last Sunday, he was seen feeding Elizabeth and putting her to bed as soon as she refused to eat raisins. Back in March, he was seen bringing home groceries and asking permission from Elly to go out with Ted McCaulay. Today,
Dr. John Patterson walks Farley, so Farley can relieve himself. Going through the strips, I did find instances where John Patterson walked the dogs, but it was almost always with someone else
Strips dealing with dogs doing their business on a walk seemed to be limited to Liz
and humourous things being done with the doggy poop bag
, something clearly not in evidence with John Patterson. The closest we come to John’s involvement with Farley is the original training sequence
and the new-run follow-up sequence
from last month. In both cases, the extendo-leash was not used and yet today it is. Imagine that.
As for sound effects, those seem to be a popular theme with these last new-runs. Lynn seems to like to use sound effects as a space filler, as she did in this recent new-run
. That's a lot easier than actually having to write something. In today's strip we have 6 panels of Farley snuffing, up to and including the visual element of having a dog sniff the panel corner
, which also a popular theme with Lynn.
The strip which is the most closely equivalent in theme to today’s is this one
, where dogs using the bathroom and John using the bathroom are closely linked. However, the all time best use of the sound effects, “SNUFF” and “SNORT” are in this strip
, featuring someone other than John acting like a dog.
As usual, there are other common elements in the new-runs these days. The relative height of John and Farley to each other changes in every single panel. When John walks in the door of his house, his waist is so high relative to the ground, his groin is higher than the door knob on the door. Also, Lynn has gotten in the habit, when she draws John, of using unusual physical postures, like in this strip
However, the most unusual part of the strip is the inconguity of having young Michael Patterson make a verbal joke on something which John does not actually say. This is very strange for Lynn Johnston, who oftentimes sets up whole Sunday strips for no other reason than to get the final panel pun. For example, there was the recent new-run which set up Connie as a gardener, for no other reason than to get to the “Not Tonight Deer” joke in the final panel
In this strip, we have to presume that John Patterson said something about Farley taking a long time, because he is pointing at his watch. Only, John does not actually say that. Now, in order for the joke to work, Lynn has introduced a new level of indirection, where you have to guess the straight line in order for the punch line to make sense. I can tell you that with verbal humour, this never works. The straight line creates the expectation of the line to follow and the punch line surprises you, so that makes you laugh. With no straight line, there is no expectation, and consequently there is no laugh. The joke seems to be that John should not complain about Farley taking a long time to excrete his waste, because John takes a long time to do that too. And this is funny because…?
Why is it that John’s dialogue is not shown? Moreover, why does Elly have such a shocked look on her face when John says it? Is Lynn Johnston trying to suggest that John Patterson used such foul language talking about the time it took for Farley to unload, it was not suitable for the family audience reading the strip? That’s possible.
What would John’s line be?
a. Chee! Farley takes a long time to pee. I am never going to walk him again.
b. If it is going to take Farley such a long time to pee, then I think we need to get rid of Farley.
c. It took such a long time for Farley to pee, my watch stopped running.
d. It took such a long time for Farley to pee, one of my fingers fell off my left hand.
e. It takes Farley a longer time to pee than it takes you to get ready to have sex.