It’s pretty much assumed as an article of faith that when Lynn Johnston retires from For Better Or For Worse sometime in 2007, she wants to tie the package up with a nice little bow for her devoted readers. For the past years her more undevoted readers have been watching the gears of her apocalyptic plot machine grind and clunk into place. Every week now includes some anvil to the head form of foreshadowing.
Let’s review the major characters and see where the Calvinist (that’s John Calvin, not Calvin & Hobbes) staff at Foob Central is sending the characters. Unfortunately, I am calling the shots as I see them happening, not as I would like them to. For real creativity, read some of Ellcee's foefic. Here we go:
|Michael and Deanna. |
Michael has been locked in his Dickinsonesque dormer for months scribbling the Great Canadian Novel while still holding down the editor job at Vanity Vogue For Us Dull People. During this time he has been oblivious to his growing hellspawn except when they develop second hand smoker’s cough. Elly, who has no known publishing qualifications except taking the same community college photography course for two decades, is copy-editing this guaranteed bestseller despite the plot that sounds derivative by historical romance standards. Meanwhile the rash of pregnancies in Ontario from customers following the Deanna birth control method is overcrowding the local schools.
|John Patterson. |
Trains, trains, trains, trains… Sorry, I blacked out there for a minute. The most vestigial appendage of the Patterson clan has been trying to downsize the house he does no chores in for quite awhile. He’s got his eye on the neighbor’s cottage for no reason other than it fills the plot hole necessary for Mike and Deanna to move into the big house and carry on the family line. Mike needs some big moolah to buy out the equity, hence the necessity of Little House in Saskatchewan to be a huge bestseller. This is how these stories interlock in a minuet that even Shannon could figure out.
April is the fifth wheel in this whole house-trading key party. As an “oops” baby, she gums up the whole go-quietly-into-the-good-night happy ever after ending. At fifteen, she is too young to send out to pasture, so the resolution of her story arc will be messy. Ever since she killed Farley, her destiny has been to atone for it by becoming a vet. Her whole trip to Alberta this summer was meant to telegraph her interest to all the readers still without clues. I think there are some hints she may even change to human medicine and cure cancer or something equally saintly. That means her garage band is doomed to failure, but Eva, the ambiguously ethnic singer for 4-Evah, will emerge as some wholesome cross between Celine Dion and Alanis Morissette.
The matriarch and doppelganger for Lynn Johnston has had one foot out the door for years now. She sold her store because there was so much vacuuming and grammar checking to do around the house. The whole “I’m so bored with my life” ennui she now exhibits serves mainly as the central metaphor for the laziness the strip has taken on. Lynn has thrust onto Elly a quiet desperation that comes only from being stuck in a career with no escape. We can always skip the strip, but she has to live with this monster she created. Her characters yearn endlessly for retirement but there’s no Moira behind the counter to hand off the daily tedium of making the blandest comic strip characters in Canada clever and interesting.
This mac and cheese loving schoolmarm has become the central character of the strip as her narcolepsy inducing love life resolves itself. Many people long ago predicted the inevitable Liz-(Gr)Anthony union. I was briefly fooled by Mountie Red Herring, but it is now clear that Anthony is finally going to get into Liz's rapidly expanding pants. This sniveling bushystached bookkeeper is easily the most despised character in all of Foobdom, which is what makes him so perfect for Liz. The highpoint of the entire FBorFW endgame is watching this runaway train collision unfold in slow motion. The Howard “Erk” Bunt trial as the spark for reigniting their lukewarm flame is more effective than ipecac for inducing nausea. The distastefulness of this whole rehashed sexual assault followed with violins and candles is just wrong on a near infinite number of levels. The only suspense left, if it can be called that, is how and when Paul “Dudley-Do-Me” Wright is dispatched to the ice floe of discarded suitors. My money is on him and his ethnically appropriate hook-up buddy from high school getting caught in flagrente delicto. Since this would recycle the whole Cheating Scum Boyfriend Eric plotline, the lazy storytelling is just icing on the cake.
Update (1.11.07): My prediction has come true and it is the fault of the Bad Idea Foobs.
No matter how (assuming if – there is always the chance the syndicate refuses to kill their most golden goose) the strip ends, the only guarantee is that it will be uplifting, heat-warming, and mind-numbingly vapid. Which should sell a lot of commemorative books.
Blatant Comment Whoring™: Feel free to spin out your most disturbing revenge fantasy. Be sure to include some violent graphic deaths like this one.
For my previous snarking about the foobs of the world, see this post, or this one, or even this one.