Let’s face it, sequels suck. For one thing, the novelty factor is lost forever. A sequel has to be the same as the original, but different, but not too different. And even if the formula can be replicated, the tone of the original is never quite recaptured. It’s tough to get lightening to strike twice.
Unless it’s Greased Lightning. Grease 2 is the most AWESOME sequel ever. With classic songs like “Do It For Our Country” and “Lets Score Tonight (Let’s Bowl, Let’s Bowl, Let’s Rock n Roll)”, how could it miss? With all but a few minor characters reprising their roles (and who misses Olivia Neutron Bomb and John Revolta), the acting is top-notch. Maxwell Caulfield was completely wasted in The Colbys, and Adrien Zmed carried Shatner in TJ Hooker. I’m not sure what happened to the chick that played Stephanie. She was pretty hot, but I haven’t seen her in anything lately.
But I digress.
When I first wrote about Ted Forth, I emphasized how his middle-aged life mirrored mine. What I neglected to emphasize was the warm and loving relationship he has with the titular (there’s that word again) heroine. Lots of comics have couples that fight and bicker constantly. The Lockhorns. Andy Capp and Flo. Hagar and Helga. Gen. Amos Halftrack and the Battle-axe. Herb and Jamal. Cheap laughs from bad, bordering on abusive, relationships are easy. It is so much harder to convey the give and take of a devoted loving relationship between equals.
In the nearly eleven years of their marriage (Note to Ces: We still need that long overlooked failed pregnancy test/whirlwind engagement flashback), Sally and Ted Forth have stood by each other and grown stronger. I would dare say that in all of Western literature, Sally Forth is the strongest portrait ever depicted of a deep and abiding love between two androgynously drawn comic strip characters.
Let’s look at some examples:
|Ted goes to chick flicks to keep his wife happy.|
That way she doesn't have anything to complain about when he wants to rent Ben Hur for the umpteenth time.
|Ted wants to take his wife on a romantic vacation. |
His vacation got spoiled by a sick cat. That’s why I won’t own a cat. I did take my wife to Paris. Unlike the Forths, we took our kid. I like their idea better.
|Ted checks with his wife before going out with the guys. |
That’s not being whipped. It’s just common courtesy. It's also a great excuse to keep yourself out of situations you don't want to be in.
|Ted doesn’t take marital advice from divorced guys. |
That's a good philosophy to follow. Don't take financial advice from broke people either.
|Sally supports Ted in his career decisions. |
Sure he's a pop culture loving goofball that hates his vaguely defined office job, but with Sally's support he can make it.
|Ted takes Sally out for a surprise dinner evey now and then. |
A little spontaneity goes a long way towards keeping the magic alive.
|Ted still thinks his wife is sexy. |
There is someone for everyone and sometimes a quick wit is just as sexy as a hot body.
|Ted is not afraid to tell Sally he loves here. |
That kind of daily affirmation is needed to keep a love alive. You can never tell someone you love them too often.
|Ted and Sally are still "romantic."|
Even though they've been married a long time, there is still magic and romance in the relationship. Couples need to make time for each other.
|Okay! Enough already! Get a room! |
Ted and Sally are a married couple that has ups and downs, but they face their challenges together. They are not afraid to be playful and affectionate with each other. Since comics stay awfully PG, we really don’t know much about the Forth’s private life, but I’m sure Ted gets more action than any other middle-aged comic strip character. Except maybe for Arlo. That Janis is one frisky minx.
As before, clicking on the picture will bring up the full strip. Shhhhhh, just don't tell King Features Syndicate. They like to charge lots of money to look at old comics that you can find on the web if you now where to find them.