For Better or For Worse
October 27, 2007 6:46 AM   Subscribe

For Better or For Worse has become a hybrid. Lynn Johnston has been making some changes to FBOFW gearing up for the time when the characters will stop aging in the strip. Unlike most comics which are frozen in time, the characters in For Better or For Worse have gotten older, made changes in their lives, fallen in love, and had children. Some people aren't so happy with this fundamental change in the strip. However, FBOFW is no stranger to controversy. Michael, the oldest child of the Patterson family, had a gay friend who came out in the strip prompting some papers to run completely different strips on the days the homosexuality issue was mentioned. In recent years, however, the internet has been abuzz over the issue of middle child Elizabeth's love life. Thankfully we can read all about it from youngest child April's perspective. (Previously)
posted by josher71 (87 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
You know, for a mainstream newspaper cartoonist, Johnston always had integrity. Her characters aged and died, and she had a definite retirement plan. This news disappoints me. Guess you couldn't really quit suckling that Universal Press Syndicate teat after all, eh, Lynn?
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:56 AM on October 27, 2007


I always thought that the strip would eventually end, probably on a happy note, like April's wedding or something.
posted by Vindaloo at 7:00 AM on October 27, 2007


I suppose the idea of mixing old and new doesn't bother me much, nor does the idea of it simply ending.

But the thing that made FBOFW stand out in my mind and always made it interesting for me was the fact that things happened in it. People were born. People aged. People died. Now if it loses that aspect... well, it just has one more thing in common with Garfield. And no one wants to have things in common with Garfield.


((Admittedly, I don't really READ it, or any other strip, anymore, but I've been known to fire up the wikipedia every year or so and see what's been going on in the story line))
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 7:06 AM on October 27, 2007


Guess you couldn't really quit suckling that Universal Press Syndicate teat after all, eh, Lynn?

It's actually a little sadder than that. One of the reasons for her retirement was so she could spend some time with her husband (who John Patterson is based off've). Right before her plans came to fruition, he dumped her for one of her assistants. Now she's single and has a lot more free time than she thought she would.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 7:08 AM on October 27, 2007 [6 favorites]


Faint of Butt

How'd you develop ESP? I guess Lynn has played me this whole time, when I thought I as being entertained.
posted by Mblue at 7:11 AM on October 27, 2007


Right before her plans came to fruition, he dumped her for one of her assistants.

Wow, hadn't heard that...yet. I'm going to phone my mother immediately! Maybe she has more dirt!
posted by KokuRyu at 7:14 AM on October 27, 2007


I've had the pleasure of meeting Lynn on several occasions. She's as genuine and sincere about her work as anyone you could meet.
Ending a long-running strip like FBoFW is a hard thing to do. Lynn appears to be taking the "gradual withdrawal" method. I wish her the best of luck.

Guess you couldn't really quit suckling that Universal Press Syndicate teat after all, eh, Lynn?

I can assure you, it's been a mutual suckling between UPS and Johnston.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:15 AM on October 27, 2007


Now if it loses that aspect... well, it just has one more thing in common with Garfield. And no one wants to have things in common with Garfield.
I am man enough to admit that I really like lasagna.
posted by Flunkie at 7:17 AM on October 27, 2007 [10 favorites]


For Better Or Worse is awful, though I am still sad at this news. I , like Vindaloo, was anticipating an end. apparently though, FBoW will be sucking the funny out of the funnies for eternity
posted by MNDZ at 7:33 AM on October 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


I guess it's For Worse, then.
posted by Floydd at 7:54 AM on October 27, 2007 [9 favorites]


Wasn't this news, well, a month ago?
posted by jpburns at 8:12 AM on October 27, 2007


I don't read FBOFW either, but I semi-keep up on it through The Comics Curmudgeon. Speaking of which, can anyone tell me why FBOFW is often referred to as FOOB?
posted by arcticwoman at 8:12 AM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


I just want Grampa to die. Jesus!
posted by everichon at 8:15 AM on October 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


The strip is coming to an end.

It ends the day the hybrid starts. Then a new strip begins in it's place, using the same characters and setting.

It'll be like a TV show based on the movie.
posted by JWright at 8:21 AM on October 27, 2007


While I never really enjoyed For Better or Worse as a comic strip, I've always respected it as an experiment in the medium. Other than Doonsbury and maybe Berkeley Breathed's works, there have been few comic strips that have managed to sustain an extended plot and cast of characters. I'm saddened to see that experiment come to its conclusion.
posted by lekvar at 8:22 AM on October 27, 2007


You know, for a mainstream newspaper cartoonist, Johnston always had integrity. Her characters aged and died, and she had a definite retirement plan. This news disappoints me. Guess you couldn't really quit suckling that Universal Press Syndicate teat after all, eh, Lynn?

Comic Book Guy: Last night's "Itchy & Scratchy" was, without a doubt, the worst episode ever. Rest assured that I was on the Internet within minutes, registering my disgust throughout the world.

Bart: Hey, I know it was great, but what right do you have to complain?

CBG: As a loyal viewer, I feel they owe me.

Bart: What? They're giving you thousands of hours of entertainment for free. What could they possibly owe you? If anything, you owe them.

CBG: ...
...
...
...Worst episode ever.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:26 AM on October 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


I was going to post most of this yesterday, but I got distracted with work.

I was gonna lead with that Anthony essay though, since I think that's the funniest thing to come out of FOOB in years.
posted by klangklangston at 8:29 AM on October 27, 2007


It's actually a little sadder than that. One of the reasons for her retirement was so she could spend some time with her husband (who John Patterson is based off've). Right before her plans came to fruition, he dumped her for one of her assistants.

She should put that in the strip!
posted by LarryC at 8:33 AM on October 27, 2007


April's wedding? I remember when April was born!
posted by k8t at 8:36 AM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


I read the comic online every day, simply because I've come to enjoy (and laugh at) how pissed off I become at its lameness.

I've really come full circle on this one - followed and enjoyed as a child, hated as a young man, and now read it just to annoy myself (like poking a bruise, I suppose).
posted by davey_darling at 8:47 AM on October 27, 2007


That's hardly fair, XQUZYPHYR. I wasn't complaining about the content or merit of the strip itself, I was criticizing what I perceived as Johnston's lack of integrity as an artist for failing to follow through on her previous promises. I leapt to the assumption (not entirely unjustified, based on the past behavior of many other newspaper cartoonists) that she had done so out of greed and a willingness to succumb to public pressure. Of course, I also hadn't heard about her husband leaving her for the assistant, and it would be churlish of me not to acknowledge that there are certain life-altering events which can justify changes of plans.

So basically, I'm sorry, but you're still being too hard on me.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:50 AM on October 27, 2007


How about that Leroy Lockhorn? Will that dude ever get a break?
posted by The Straightener at 8:51 AM on October 27, 2007 [7 favorites]


Wow. I didn't want it to be about greed, and the article says that she's doing the ageless thing so she can have more time and because she can't keep up with the heavy research of changing technology and the culture to today's youth. She's sixty after all. I don't know if that's the reality, or if she's being greedy, but I think those are good enough reasons for me. She retains creative control at least.

In fact, I feel that she's setting up for when she dies.
posted by Mister Cheese at 8:59 AM on October 27, 2007


FoB, she's sixty and has been doing the strip for nearly 30 years, aging the characters as she went... exactly what were you expecting- for Johnston to sit there and slowly kill from old age all the characters she created, many based on her own friends and family? The fact that you provided absolutely no context as to what this magical "integrity" you found a person who has been steadily producing a cartoon for 30 years to suddenly be lacking by (gasp!) changing the format of it made you look even more like an ass. "Suckling that Universal Press Syndicate teat?" Jesus. What the fuck does she have to prove to you, anyway?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:06 AM on October 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


I haven't seen the strip in quite a long time, but I quite liked it, years ago. I think the mother character reminded me of my sister and her life, raising kids. But I liked the humor. Sometimes, it's nice to have some humor that isn't all sharply clawed. Never knew a thing about the cartoonist. Interesting back story.
posted by Goofyy at 9:09 AM on October 27, 2007


They won't age? Meh. What's the point? That was one of the reasons I found the strip interesting.

I hope she decides to change it from "they won't age" to "they won't age as if they're caught up in some slip in the space/time continuum." They age WAY TOO FAST now. Like they had second child how long ago and he's already walking and talking? Wtf? Slow down, Lynn, but don't come to a stop.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 9:10 AM on October 27, 2007


I love this comic strip, have loved it for years. It can be a bit bland, yeah, but it's also poignant and funny and real. I love the soap opera evolution of the characters. I love the little Canadian touches.

The new format isn't working for me; particularly seeing the old art style. I think it'd be great if she'd just kill grandpa, show Anthony to be the cad he is, and send April off to college and be done with it. Oh yeah, and have John dump her, if that's the real world story (ouch!).

It's good when things end.
posted by Nelson at 9:12 AM on October 27, 2007


While I never really enjoyed For Better or Worse as a comic strip, I've always respected it as an experiment in the medium. Other than Doonsbury and maybe Berkeley Breathed's works, there have been few comic strips that have managed to sustain an extended plot and cast of characters.

Gasoline Alley
is the classic example of this.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:27 AM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


My mom loves this strip, partly because I'm the same age as Michael. Consequently, when I was at library school at UWO he was in the journalism program there, which was in the same damn building. My mom asked me a few times if I'd ever seen him around, which was sort of funny the first time but rapidly grew less so.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:38 AM on October 27, 2007 [5 favorites]


When you were a kid, this was one of those comics you would skip over to read B.C. or The Wizard of Id.

Boring.
posted by wfc123 at 9:54 AM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


FBoFW was a favorite of mine for many years, although I stopped following the strip several months ago. I actually like the idea of recycling older material--it's interesting to see the changes in animation style over time in comic strips.
posted by pushing paper and bottoming chairs at 9:55 AM on October 27, 2007


I still read it online...apparently she's had second thoughts about the hybrid since her husband left her.

I think Warren--who made the grand gesture of showing up at her graduation in his helicopter--would have been best for Liz (but did Eric give her an STD from all of his fucking around? At the time one could write letters to the characters and all the fundies were shrieking that she was living in sin; what I wanted to know is whether or not she was using birth control--Eric was the sort who would have talked her out of condoms).
posted by brujita at 9:55 AM on October 27, 2007


Paging MeFi member GaelFC to Thread #65937...GaelFC to Thread #65937...thank you.
posted by briank at 9:59 AM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


I like that FBOFW episode where that one character has Big Startled Eyes in the last panel.
posted by everichon at 10:05 AM on October 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


I haven't read this strip in years, but I used to follow it. I remember actually crying when Farley died (and I was at my desk at work, reading it over lunch. How embarrassing when passers-by asked with concern "What's wrong??")

wfc123, I skipped stuff like Prince Valiant and Modesty Blaise, not FBoFW. But I did read Gil Thorp for some reason.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:05 AM on October 27, 2007


I'm not a huge FBOFW fan (I don't think her heart has been in the strip for quite some time), but I read the strip quite a lot out of habit -- the number of papers in the States that carry it is staggering. I thought the Lawrence storyline mentioned in the FPP that Johnston did was quite a walk out on the limb at the time, and she got a lot of heat for it -- which meant, unfortunately, that she never mentioned much of anything about Lawrence's personal life ever again after that.

If I had to express a preference, I would have liked to see the "aging" process in FBOFW continue, not frozen in amber -- but I sorta think Johnston has the right to do whatever she wants with the strip, actually.
posted by blucevalo at 10:09 AM on October 27, 2007


"I don't read FBOFW either, but I semi-keep up on it through The Comics Curmudgeon."
-arcticwoman

I was actually going to chastise the poster for not linking to The Comics Curmudgeon before I notice their handle, "josher71".

What is the derivation of "FOOB"? I've always been curious too.
posted by puddnhead at 10:14 AM on October 27, 2007


The origin of "Foob". A bit of made-up Canadian slang.
posted by JDHarper at 10:31 AM on October 27, 2007


The departure of FBOFW is long overdue. I'd like to see that slot go to some more deserving up-and-comer with talent.

(I feel the same way about most strips. The funny pages are looking more like Night of the Living Dead every week.)
posted by Reggie Digest at 10:39 AM on October 27, 2007


Man, that's disappointing news. I kind of wish I'd skipped this post. But then, I guess I've been getting less involved with the strip ever since Liz came back from Mtigwaki and started getting (back) together with that drip Anthony. (Like klang, I loved the anti-Anthony rant.) This is really depressing:

Lynn Johnston has never made any secret of the fact that she’s not a feminist and doesn’t look too kindly on working women.

Now that I think about it, that makes sense, but I just tend to take for granted that all thinking women are feminists, so it never occurred to me. This is horribly accurate:
In retrospect, Liz’s story arc is clear. Many readers—particularly, no doubt, young readers of Liz’s age like myself—thought that Liz’s enthusiasm for her teaching career and exciting life in Mtigwaki represented a young woman’s development into an independent person capable of fulfilling her dreams and making her way in the wide world. To Johnston, however, Liz’s young-adult life—the fulfilling work, the exploration of new places and cultures, the sexy boyfriends—has been nothing more than playtime. She’s had her fun and sown her wild oats, and now it’s time for her to grow up and adopt a “real” adult life: a life as much like her parents’ as possible, complete with prefab house, prefab toddler, and a husband picked out by Mom and Dad.

For years, characters have periodically commented on how much Anthony resembles Liz’s father, with the implication that this makes him perfect for her. By reuniting with him, Liz will accept her destiny as a pale copy of her mother, keeping house right down the street from her watchful parents. The path to adulthood doesn’t lead to independence and a vast horizon of possibility; it leads right back to the childhood doorstep.
Fuck that shit. Now I wish the strip had ended years ago.

I sorta think Johnston has the right to do whatever she wants with the strip, actually.


Sure, and we have the right to bitch about it.
posted by languagehat at 10:50 AM on October 27, 2007 [8 favorites]


Chick strip.
posted by wfc123 at 10:56 AM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


This thread is completely incomplete without the pertinent Shortpacked comic.
posted by emjaybee at 11:04 AM on October 27, 2007


Chick strip.

Yeah, Andy Capp and Hagar are where it's at.
posted by everichon at 11:05 AM on October 27, 2007


Sounds like a way to semi-retire yet keep the strip alive. It is interesting how much of her own life is in the strip.

Found a recent interview with her in this podcast.
posted by eye of newt at 11:21 AM on October 27, 2007


I liked the fact the the mother had a slouch.
posted by furtive at 11:31 AM on October 27, 2007


Egads, XQUZYPHYR! No! You misunderstand me. Look-- Johnston announced in 2001 that she would retire in 2007. "I have six years to go on my contract and plan to wrap up my strip then." She said she would quit, not repeat and repackage. I appreciated that announcement, since I thought it showed that, like Bill Watterson or Gary Larson, Johnston knew when to end a strip. Now that the deadline has rolled around, Johnston says that she's not really retiring after all. I was upset at the flip-flop. Nothing more.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:42 AM on October 27, 2007


B.C. or The Wizard of Id.

I skipped over those to get to FBOFW.
posted by k8t at 11:49 AM on October 27, 2007


(Note: the following is imaginative conjecture. I have played around a little with sequential art but do not have a comic strip. I've read a little though, and much of this seems inescapable to me.)

It's interesting to see reaction to this. It is never easy to create and maintain something like a comic strip; besides the massive amount of art that must be generated according to schedule, to plot out and sustain huge overarching plots and storylines like she has is very difficult, and it's easy for either or both the creator and readers to reach the point where they feel that all the spontaneity has gone out of the strip.

Comic strips are produced with long lead times, from planning to drawing to submission to publication, so I imagine directing a long-term storyline strip, instead of a quick gag strip, is a lot like trying to steer an 18-wheeler as opposed to an economy car. You can't do quick turns without risking invalidating months of work, you can't suddenly have a character die, or turn out to be gay, or get rich in the strip without having planned it for ages in life.

This enables the creator to allude to plot revelations long beforehand, but it also means that the creator won't be as surprised by things either; she can't "improvise" in the story too much, figuring things out at the drawing board. I can imagine getting sick of that really fast. Obviously, however, my temperament is different than Johnson's, and there's also a rewarding aspect to world-building.

It's a lot easier to plot these things out when the strip is new, when circulations are less and there's not as much feeling of there being a franchise riding on one's work, when there's no weight of continuity to worry about, and when much of the world surrounding the characters is undefined and can be penciled in as need be. If you want a funny teacher to run Linus' class then hey presto, suddenly there's Miss Othmar. These kinds of decisions, often made quickly due to deadline pressure, can have long-term consequences both directly and from opportunity cost. Yet one cannot angst about bad choices; the pressure is always on, time is always moving forward.

That's a lot like life of course, and that's an advantage of the style, it adds verisimilitude to the strip. But a comic strip necessarily cannot be like life in that random things happen all the time, because that's not artistically interesting. One doesn't live constantly asking "Where is God going with this? What is going to resolve this story arc?"

The continuity strip creator doesn't have the luxury of God's negligent randomness; events must have direction, it's a lot of work to maintain that, and as it gets more difficult over the years it also gets harder to keep it going in a continually satisfying direction, all while the artist isn't getting any younger.

I guess what I'm saying is, it probably would have been best if she retired, but considering the problems in her personal life I can understand wanting to continue. Ah, c'est la vie.
posted by JHarris at 12:13 PM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


I like the Pooch Cafe. That Poncho is such a piss-cutter!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:16 PM on October 27, 2007


k8t: "April's wedding? I remember when April was born!"

Ack, I remember when Elizabeth was born.
posted by octothorpe at 12:26 PM on October 27, 2007


I think we're missing what's really important. And what's really important is that it's creepy as hell when the characters in the online versions blink at you.
posted by Partial Law at 12:32 PM on October 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


I think you can also argue that the current FOOB hybrid is an argument against keeping copyright terms as long as they are. If the earlier FOOB material was public domain, she'd be faced with either retiring or continuing to produce wholly new strips. This is one of those cases where the argument that without lengthy assurances of copyright, producers would have less incentive to create falls through; if copyright had a shorter term, there'd be more churn in the market.
posted by klangklangston at 12:34 PM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think I'd rather see any strip continue in remix form from the original creator than as a zombie strip like Peanuts (perpetual reruns of work from an artist long dead) or as officially sanctioned fanfic created by an imitator. But I'd be happiest to see the very, very few slots open to newspaper strips filled by people who are actively creating completely new and original work. But I guess that's (increasingly) what the internet is for.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:42 PM on October 27, 2007


Will the blinking be added retroactively?
posted by arruns at 12:42 PM on October 27, 2007


Man, that's disappointing news. I kind of wish I'd skipped this post. But then, I guess I've been getting less involved with the strip ever since Liz came back from Mtigwaki and started getting (back) together with that drip Anthony. (Like klang, I loved the anti-Anthony rant.)

Yeah, I pretty much broke the life-long habit of reading it (just something I did but didn't think much about, because it's Canadian, and it was there, and stuff) after Liz bailed on teaching up North, which I thought was a really interesting direction. I loved seeing the life of a small Northern town portrayed in the media-- it provided a good (and informed-- Johnston lived in the North) mainstream counterpoint to the stream of "First Nations in crisis" news stories. Not to discount the serious problems and racism faced by native people here in the least, but just to say that it was nice to see some Indian characters in something so widely read, and characters who were living regular lives with their kids, and having celebrations, and going to school, and all the other parts of Northern life.

But noooo, Liz had to run back home and hook up with that dweeb for whom she seems to have an inexplicable attraction. Ugh. And the analysis of Anthony's non-character is exactly right.

In the most recent strips, April has given up on music, too. I guess it was unrealistic to hope that she might keep on with the band and go on the road with her friends and stuff. Nevermind.

Yes, I realize that at the beginning of this post I claimed to have stopped reading it, but in fact I am still congnizant of the storyline. I can't help it! It's like the thing's just in the air.
posted by jokeefe at 12:48 PM on October 27, 2007


I think you can also argue that the current FOOB hybrid is an argument against keeping copyright terms as long as they are. This is one of those cases where the argument that without lengthy assurances of copyright, producers would have less incentive to create falls through; if copyright had a shorter term, there'd be more churn in the market.

Huh? She's doing this after 30 years of original material. I'm against the extension of copyright as well, but the original length under the 1978 Federal act was 75 years... exactly how much do you want it shortened?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:51 PM on October 27, 2007


I really can't stand FOOB these days, basically for the reasons languagehat mentioned. The Liz/Anthony thing is absolutely disgusting. The only thing that makes it bearable is Comics Curmudgeon.
posted by brundlefly at 12:55 PM on October 27, 2007


I heard that she had IDS.
posted by papakwanz at 12:58 PM on October 27, 2007


I haven't seen the strip in years. I did love them in the day, got them for my mother for years.

I don't anything whatsoever wrong with the new format -- more power to her. I don't think there's anything wrong with reprinting some of the work she's done for 28 years(!)

But I'm really sad about the antifeminist tone of the whole thing, something I'd never really seen. It seemed pretty progressive to me back in the day. If she ends up the whole series with a big conservative push it'll spoil it all.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 1:09 PM on October 27, 2007


And lest we forget...
posted by cortex at 1:17 PM on October 27, 2007 [5 favorites]


Right before her plans came to fruition, he dumped her for one of her assistants.

I wonder if her ex-husband and assistant will live off her alimony payments? That should provide a basis for some comic romps.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:09 PM on October 27, 2007


One of the more consistent comics in that it was almost always worth skipping. But had I been aware of the experiment at work, I might have tuned in more often.
posted by dreamsign at 2:29 PM on October 27, 2007


The Last Panel.
posted by Iridic at 2:32 PM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Huh? She's doing this after 30 years of original material. I'm against the extension of copyright as well, but the original length under the 1978 Federal act was 75 years... exactly how much do you want it shortened?"

Roughly 25 years seems good. The original term of copyright in the US was what, 14 years, plus one renewal if the author was still alive?
posted by klangklangston at 2:45 PM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm with Languagehat and Jokeefe. The Liz/Anthony "romance" killed off any enjoyment of FOOB for me, except for snarking at it. Liz's deserting the people who really needed her and running back home to Anthony was not only an incredibly stupid storyline, it smacked of racism. Paul's getting together with Susan and Liz's going back home to Whitey McWhiteboy practically screamed, "One of your own kind, stick to your own kind!" Yecch.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 2:56 PM on October 27, 2007


(Well, Rosie, I would expect the author of "A Waitress Lures a Titled Gentleman" and "The Pretty Girl Working Class Girl Who Trapped an Earl" to think like that. Jeeves!)
posted by maxwelton at 3:35 PM on October 27, 2007


This is why I prefer Sinfest.
posted by bwg at 3:59 PM on October 27, 2007


Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:27 PM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's rather odd to learn that my hometown's celebrity (well a 'suburb' of my hometown) is breaking up with her husband through metafilter. Rod Johnston is a driving force behind developing my city's waterfront. Hell, looks after my mother's teeth! (With some new high tech dental machine she says he gets as excited as a little kid). This feels very strange indeed.

I'd read FBOFW as a kid simply because of Johnston's proximity, but I don't think I ever particularly liked it. (My city's other 'celebrity' [shudders] would be Mike Harris).
posted by curbstop at 5:48 PM on October 27, 2007


The ironic thing is that her husband is leaving her for a train.

I've really not been a fan of Blandthony and his moustache's wooing of Elizabeth, but on the other hand, I loved Farley as a kid.
posted by drezdn at 6:07 PM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Adding to the FOOB (I love me some Comics Curmudgeon) as anti-feminism theory is the whole Anthony-Therese storyline: Therese was always portrayed in a pretty negative light for not much reason beyond that she is a professional woman. Anthony really wanted to have kids, so she does (somewhat begrudgingly) and then she and Anthony split - apparently because she places too much importance on her job and not eough on her marriage.
Meanwhile, Liz has really hit it off with little whatsherface (Francoise?) and is well on her way to being a nice cookie-baking stay-at-home stepmom. Goody.
posted by naoko at 9:02 PM on October 27, 2007


Hey curbstop, my mom was in high school with Mike Harris.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 9:45 PM on October 27, 2007


Boring.

Thank you, Capt. 3rd Grader!
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:15 PM on October 27, 2007


I've noticed most of the Meredith strips deal with the nightmarish aspects of having a baby; it was more of a mix with April.

FWIW, when the website allowed interaction between readers and characters, someone responded to Connie's regret that Lawrence wouldn't give her grandchildren: making it clear that out gay people can and do raise kids. Elly/Lynn/someone in her office replied something on the order of "point taken".

I also didn't notice any flak at the time when Lawrence was portrayed as taking a male date to his prom.
posted by brujita at 11:44 PM on October 27, 2007


She's said her divorce won't be replayed in the strip, but that she had trouble drawing the husband character for a while.

Noticeable dropoff in quality of the strip this year--try predicting the last panel a few times--which might be what happens when you had planned for 6 years to end the thing but then backed off because of a sudden crisis.
posted by cogneuro at 1:54 AM on October 28, 2007


I heard that she had IDS.

Irritable Dowel Syndrome?
posted by wemayfreeze at 1:41 AM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was kind of stunned to see a bow and arrow joke about the Native ex.

I mean, bad puns are enough, without bad puns soaking in ignorant subtext.
posted by Sallyfur at 3:32 AM on October 28, 2007


The divorce thing creeps in anyway.
posted by Hildegarde at 6:44 AM on October 28, 2007


Wow, is that a real strip? It's terrible. She really should just give it up and find some other way to occupy her time. Strip-as-therapy just isn't entertaining.
posted by languagehat at 8:46 AM on October 28, 2007


Yeah, I also quit reading regularly when Liz dumped the cool boyfriend and went back to the drip. Much of FBoFW had felt pretty organic and natural to me, but Liz's abrupt departure from the North to return home just seemed so weird and out of place.

I cried over Farley, of course.
posted by rtha at 11:14 AM on October 28, 2007


The divorce thing creeps in anyway.

Wow. That strip..... wow. I remember seeing it before and thinking, huh, that isn't really very funny, is it? Now it's even less funny, and almost sort of.... mean? vindictive?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:15 AM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


The "divorce thing" seems to have crept in once; it remains to be seen if she incorporates it like she has other parts of her life. (Sounds like she's not entirely sure where the strip is going to go from here.) Interesting, and somewhat hostile, that she chose to rerun that particularly strip right now, of course. I thought the punch line was funny anyway. It's a middle-brow family drama comic that has been very nicely drawn. It's the funny pages, you know? It's not American Splendor.
posted by cogneuro at 12:32 PM on October 28, 2007


I've got it! After John leaves her, Elly's conciousness is raised and she becomes a raising feminist. She runs into Therese at a bar and she takes a job as Therese's assistant at the investment bank, where her late-blooming business saavy leads her to rapid promotion to a vice president by age 65. Liz realizes Anthony is a tool and goes to law school to become an advocate for native rights. Therese sues Anthony for custody of Francois and wins. The end.
posted by footnote at 1:18 PM on October 28, 2007


i was also pissed after liz left the north country. it just smacked me of clueless racism ... marry your own kind sort of thing,
posted by culturekitchen_blogdiva at 11:06 PM on October 28, 2007


So fascinating. The woman who doesn't approve of working women's husband runs off with the woman's assistant???

When I was little, I used to draw copies of comics in the newspaper, so I feel like I have Elly's eye-pops burned in my brain...
posted by armacy at 9:20 AM on October 29, 2007


Apparently the assistant thing is just a rumor. The assistant is married to some other guy named Rod, and has been for awhile.

Who Rod Johnston's new girlfriend is remains unknown.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:11 AM on October 29, 2007


The main link is registration only. Blech.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:23 PM on November 13, 2007


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