Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Portrait of a Liar

We all know about my obsession with For Better or For Worse, and I wanted to take a moment to point out that the recent plotline, in which Lizzie will leave Paul "Dudley-Doo" Wright and head back to Milborough, is annoying the living bejesus out of me. I am actually really angry about this: the plotline is idiotic, and is expects the reader to empathize with the bad actor.

A review: Lizzie, the eldest daughter of the Patterson clan, has travelled to Mitigiwakikikikwasaki, to teach on an Indian reservation. One night, her mom (Elly) almost fell asleep at the wheel after visiting, and some kindly police officers allowed the woman to spend the night at the stationhouse.

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In the morning, one of the cops, Paul Wright, saw a picture of Lizzie and remarked to Elly that she was cute, and inquired into her availability. Elly responded that the girl was single, and waiting for "Mr. Right". Never one for subtlely, Lynn Johnson, the strip's author, added a meta-comment: a sign pointing at the name on Paul's office door, punning on "Wright vs. "Right".

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A few weeks later, Paul and Lizzie met and began dating. Things moved fast:

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Lizzie was dancing around the apartment proclaiming that she now knew what true love feels like. Ikky prose, yes, but at least a coherent plot-line.

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Little did we know that the fourth panel wasn't ecstasy, but the triumphant song of the Siren, leading a sailor to his death.

Flash forward: On May 1, Lizzie received an email from her sister. Her ex-boyfriend from high school Anthony (the one who married a woman he didn't love while telling Lizzie to wait for him, the one who promised the wife he didn't love that if she'd have a baby, he'd be the primary caregiver, only to whine that she went back to work, the one whose wife finally left him for being such a weenbag) was now on the market again.

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o what's a Saint Patterson to do? One word: LIE.

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I know she's lying about being homesick, because back in January, Lizzie was back home complaining to her mom about how boring Millborough is.

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"It's something I just realized"? Please, don't feed me that baloney. What you just realized is that there's a spare cock in Milborough (and while we're on the topic of baloney, it's not like you've been riding the Constable's, or anyone else's, baloney pony, so what do YOU know anyway?)

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[I'd like to call attention to the date on this panel, from 2/24: Lizzie is obviously refusing to put out, which is what makes the "yes yes yes" panels posted earlier, and dated 2/25, so funny: she turns down the sex and then sends the guy on his way with a hug. How fucking lame is that? Oh, about as lame as moving in with your college boyfrind and insisting on your own bedroom, because you're "not that kind of girl". Obviously. The kind of girl you are is called a "prude".]

It's no secret that the Pattersons are modeled on Lynn Johnson's own children. The characters' names are, in fact, her actual children's middle names. So it's not too much of a leap to surmise that these people are the protagonists of FBFW, the central characters we're supposed to be rooting for. So here's who I'm supposed to root for: a woman who has lied to her significant other, who's been carrying a torch for a married man, and one who's been emotionally cheating on his wife at that.

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I'm to cheer for a woman who's been stringing along a guy who seems nice enough, if a little overeager, a guy who's explicitly professed his love for this dim bulb and has proved willing to uproot his life for her by putting in for a transfer at work so they can be closer together? I'm supposed to be rooting for this immature, sexless prude who randomly moves the goalposts and pulls out the rug? COME ON! This is total bullshit, and lest I be charged with bitterness and sexism, it would be so if it was a guy doing this. As a writer, Lynn Johnson has less respect for her readers than Jim Davis, of "Garfield" fame. Say what you will about Garfield, it sticks to a tried and true formula of dumb gags. There is no attempt to be anything more than dumb gags.

But then again, I'm not from Canada, so what do I know? Considering the last minute nonsense I went through in August 2005, maybe that's just SOP for the ladies of the north: set the poor foob's hopes up like a frame of bowling pins, and then knock it all down.

Fortunately for Paul, it looks like he's been written with a little more sense than his dumb girlfriend.

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What that last panel translates into is "Yeah... as if." Or perhaps, "I wish this dummy wasn't clinging to me."

Lizzie Patterson, and by extension Lynn Johnson, can get fucked. I am totally offended by this strip. Run, Paul, run as fast as you can.

Oh, and I fully comprehend how utterly deranged this entire post is, and how weirdly involved with this strip I have become. It's not just me: see the Foobiverse Journal. Josh the Curmudgeon admits the same twisted obsession. I can't explain it. I hate, despise, and loathe every. single. character. Yet, I cannot stop reading it. It's the first thing I look at, either in the actual newspaper or online, often before email.


Blogger yellojkt said...

This is the definitive rant against the whole Officer Mountie storyline. Liz has been a tease to every man in her life and somehow we are supposed to accept that her and Anthony are star crossed lovers that can now finally be together.

I'm not buying it and any reader that goes "Awwwww.." when she finally walks down the aisle is cheering a manipulative beyotch of the highest order.

I need to take my meds now.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Brendan said...

yeah, me too.

The worst part is that LJ expects me to root for this creep. i can't do it. It's like rooting for Regan and Goneril.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Dimestore Lipstick said...

You left out the part where the skeevy bastard laid his whole "Boo-hoo, my wife doesn't love me, and incidentally I want you to wait for me to get shut of her because I never stopped loving you but I'm not the lying, manipulative, two-faced one, she is!" rap on Liz immediately after she'd been physically assaulted by a co-worker.

I'm really starting to belive that these two low-lifes truly deserve each other. At least if they were together, they wouldn't be inflicting themselves on some other poor suckers.

3:29 PM  
Blogger MaryAnnTheRest said...

I'm so with you guys! Did you see today's (June 1)? Where we learn that Liz told her class of children that everything happens for a reason? They actually came up with something to portray Liz as even dumber and more self-centered and oblivious. Frankly, I tune in to this strip in the hopes that she and her sensitive artist brother will be eaten by a Canadian Grizzly Bear. Someday... someday.

3:41 PM  
Blogger somegirl said...

baloney pony? did you really say that?

4:30 PM  
Blogger Brendan said...

I did indeed use the term "baloney pony".
I believe I got it from "The Breakfast Club."

4:53 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Hi, Brandan. I know you've moved your blog, so I don't know if you'll see this or not, but I have to tell you I am glad you called this one.

I have no idea WTF is up with this strip; I used to love FBOFW. It took a set of brass balls this big:


to do the whole Lawrence is gay thing back in the early 90s. And while the Pattersons collectively are about as risqué as a loaf of Wonder Bread, they're usually entertaining, albeit saccharin. Apart from Doonesbury, Get Fuzzy, and Dilbert, FBOFW is the only mainstream strip I bother reading, but the past year or so it's been for all the wrong reasons.

I hear that Lynn Johnson is retiring the strip in the fall of 2007. If this is the best she can do with her characters anymore, I'd say it's time.

One last thing - as big a tease as Liz is, I am really, really pissed at LJ herself - not just because she's writing the strip, but because as the omnipotent narrator of the series, she's actually an active participant in screwing-over Paul.

Phew! I'm glad that's out of my system; I need to get a life. But not nearly as bad as Liz does!

8:17 AM  

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