The irritating thing about having to remember how much Liz gave up on the fool's errand to finally be approved of by parents who only want more Pattersons is having to remember that she actually met interesting people only to treat them like props in the tawdry melodrama that was her life. The most interesting character she wants to admit knowing is, sadly, her sitcom antagonist from high school because she 'teaches' her something by being a boring drone acting about to hide the hurt. Liz's whole entire life is devoted to acting badly because she wants her parents to notice her and say that they're glad she was there but since she can't admit that, she talks about what an odd person someone she's identical to is.
This refusal to admit who she is also explains why she hates Therese so much. Therese is trying to do the same thing she is but to impress people Liz will never meet and thus is a bad and jealous person acting irrationally....and not Liz's Franco-Ontarian equivalent despite being exactly that.
As was pointed out, Jo Weeder is a walking, talking cliché: The Rebellious Rich Kid Who Refuses To Join The Family Business Because Art Is His True Passion. People like him are really damned boring to watch because we'd laugh our butts off at them to their faces in real life. Since Mike is so sheltered, he could be mistaken for an alien who's really bad at impersonating a human being, it's likely that he'd never even conceived of such as Weed. I tell a lie: he didn't. Since Weed is a novelty to the numpty, he can't get enough of the stock character.
What makes Weed even more of a nuisance is that his issues with his parents give Mike licence to do something he would have done anyway: feud with a mother in law whose crimes are offering to help him financially (which must be a trap because he judges things by his prehensile and entitled parents) and accusing him of things he's guilty of doing (thereby exposing him to the dreadful possibility that his parents are the horrible failures he suspected they were). Since Mike isn't of this world but of his parents' world, he's in a space where a minor irritant like Mire looks like a supervillain. This says a lot of bad things about how he lived his life in a fog.
As we know, Lynn has a rigid and untenable view of social dynamics owing to being something of a self-made wallflower back in High School. Usually, it manifests itself as the blank-eyed inability of people from different social circles to even realize that they could talk to a member of an outgroup or how a conversation can't include more than two people. In the case of Mike's social circle, it manifests as the daffy idea that if one of the Guys is going steady, he's pretty much engaged and well, single people and married couples just don't mix and so on through the blurred vision of how people behave.
The fear of losing HIS friends and the benefit to all of Martha losing her friends is kind of why he acted like the Platonic ideal of the massive flapping anus to her. It's also why a long-standing phenomenon in the strip is quietly retired: the collection of scruffy oafs Mike used to pal around with. Gordon is with Tracey now and is thus unavailable because Lynn's desperate need for any male companionship makes it so that he's not allowed to hang out with people who ain't her. Brian is a cipher and a keener and also not really Mike's friend as such; he's more the older brother of a Patterson's friend. Lawrence invalidates himself because Lynn's need to lash out at policeman for calling her a reckless imbecile who has no business behind the wheel of a motor vehicle manifests itself as a Very Special Episode. Not!Gordon was only there because Lynn was used to drawing a fourth person. Going forward, it's as if every day is going to be a mini-reunion...which clears the way for a fine bromance with the brosephest broseph who ever brosephed: Weed.
The interesting thing about watching Gordon feeling like a big lump of manure because a girl he stands no chance with treats him with polite disinterest is knowing that she's already got herself a boyfriend. The boy she likes can be a bit of a cad but, hey, he can at least say what he wants to say and doesn't have hormone attacks. That seems to mean nothing to Gordie because he thinks that since he likes this girl, he's entitled to have her or some such high school bullshit. If he's sincere enough, Allyson will realize that a scruffy hoser with bad diction is what she wants in a man.
The reason that I mention this is that the girl Lynn assigned him makes a babbling fool of herself throwing herself at this Martin dude she fixates on in front of his date. She too is sick with magical thinking and also feels like something that got scraped off of a boot. This leads the both of them to realize that the safe option is each other. It's like they had Liz's love life in one night.
Looking back at the whole mess with Gordon and Tracey, it has started to dawn on us that it was never really necessary for her to be retroactively friends with Gordon that everyone suddenly remembered. After all, Lynn had a hell of a response from the whole "Mike stands around screaming that he feels alone in the world because no one really likes him only to have company feeling alone in Martha" thing. Gordo could have yelled the same thing about Allyson and Tracey would have just shown up out of nowhere with the same complaint and they would have slowly drifted towards one another anyway.
Also, Anthony could have just as easily been given a compressed version of John's back story. He could be a new kid in town who fixated on someone plausible looking without really noticing or caring much about the girl's personality and we'd have proceeded on to Liz trusting in fate, faith and finally being accepted despite the son being in her eyes. There was no real need to imply that he was there all along. The reason it happened the way it did has to do with Lynn's probable baffled disappointment that the great loves of her life faded. Since she's reluctant to admit blame, she seems to have settled on the idea that her problem was marrying strangers. If she had been partners with a classmate, she assumed that she might have had a lasting love.
As we all know, authors have favorite subjects that baffle and irritate people. Schulz loved to torment the Round-Headed Kid, Batiuk wants the world to pay for his wife dying of breast cancer and Lynn Johnston loves panicky teenagers with skin problems. What always happens is that the child tries to hide a disfigurement that no one else sees leading to an overreaction that worsens the problem.
The reason this matters is that Lynn tipped her hand when April got zits. Lodged in the useless and contradictory health tips was Elly's flat-footed attempt at consoling April. To wit, April shouldn't feel so bad because while pimples go away, wrinkles do not. While Elly thinks that she made April feel better by telling her that she was crying about nothing, the end result is that yet again, Elly's need to be the victim of all victims surpassing all others (yeah, I'm guilty of it too) made her kid feel like she was a shitheel.
One of the most irritating things about having to remember what the Pattersons called The Great Shuffle is having to remember Deanna's trying to retroactively include herself in Mike's childhood and assign herself greater importance, knowledge and influence than she actually had. We remember a girl on the periphery of Mike's life who kind of drifted away before he started taking dating seriously and only ended up back in his life via a contrived coincidence. She didn't know much about Mike or his day-to-day life because she was tangential to his daily existence. That doesn't stop her from pulling a slight of hand trick wherein she tried to include herself in a past that didn't really exist in the first place and will no doubt end in her correcting him about things she knew nothing of.
The reason that I mention this is that despite John's never seeming to have discussed his past with Elly, she herself is not stopped from doing much the same thing to a man she had no idea even existed until the early seventies. A missed opportunity for cringe comedy at its finest is Elly encountering a person from his past he didn't mention because he didn't think he had to. Too bad Lynn can't see that, eh?
I just noticed something while looking through this week's "Let's get all wistful about Lynn's parents" thing when Elly was telling Liz that nowadays, fundamentally incompatible people can simply get a divorce without much fuss. While it's pretty much certain that Lynn's first husband was being slammed for being unreasonable, the way she went about doing it revealed something about Liz. This is because the punchline only makes sense if you assume that Liz doesn't really see her mom and dad as having very much in common and are only staying together to give her and her siblings a home.
This becomes more amusing when you realize that aside from her taking an instant dislike to anyone who dared to set limits on her behavior (which leads to her cherry-picking facts to have an excuse to hate someone irrationally), one of the things Liz crows about when talking about when Therese isn't using jealousy to make her life bad, she simpered that Anthony's starter marriage was doomed to failure not because he still had feelings for her that warped his perception of what was important but because the two of them were incompatible. Since she does see Anthony as being a version of John, this might mean that she sees Therese as a version of the reproving mother who lived to spoil her fun and make her life bad.
As we all know, April spent most of her life being jealous of the only real friend she can be said to have had. This, I think, is the end result of her not being able to process the fact that her immediate family had no immediate use for her because she was in their way and, in her quest to make it so that she wasn't the problem, fixated on a girl whose only real crime was making her feel like the garbage person her mother treated her like and made her why this was.
Not, of course, that April can admit to a negative emotion given how she was raised. The Pattersons burn with envy but insist on not seeing it because they're 'not' bad people. This means that while April is sure that Becky wants to crush her with her star power despite her lying eyes showing her a girl who doesn't want to, there's no way April is burning with envy. This means that I don't see reconciliation as part of the solution despite April's destiny to be a Manchester tribute band to Elizabeth. There is the matter of 'saving' her Twoo Wuv from an evil snob to be taken into consideration.