Snarky Candiru2

The empty mess.....I mean "nest."

The interesting thing about Lynn's wish-fulfillment fictionalization of her parents' move to Hope is that it we have to read between the lines to see what it is that bothers her most about her parents' move away from 'home'. First off, we have to deal with the fact that we have a supposed adult thinking of her parents' house as her 'hone' in the first place. The mental image is that of someone who honestly does think that she can get away with going back hthe ome to mother when the world gets to be too much. It's a great threat but it's also a hollow one because mother would never allow it as she has better things to do than coddle a twenty year old infant.....unless, of course, if mother is Elly herself.

This is because for a very weird and stupid reason, she sees nothing wrong with having her adult children mooch off of her and displace her from her home. Mike and Liz's first impulse to a minor reverse in their lives is to turn tail and run sobbing to Mommy because they're Lynn. Lynn appears to have wanted the option of licking her wounds in her old bedroom and plopping her child in her mother's lap like she was a kid or something. Ursula's response was to send Alan to Hamilton to get her back on her feet and also to keep her from cramping her style. This is probably the real reason we get all the bullshit about witches with whips.
Snarky Candiru2

Whose memories are they anyway?

Of course, the truly irritating thing about the mess with the pump organ is not that Jim maybe kind of foresaw a giant, stupid fight and did something equally big and stupid to forestall it. A man with normal children would have not have to resort to a stunt he declared to be to the benefit of all when he knew damned well that it benefited no one and solved nothing. The irksome thing is that he had to in the first place.

This is because it must have gotten back to him that for reasons unknown and unknowable, his children came to the daffy notion that by downsizing, he and Marian were somehow selling their childhood. Since he was a Depression Child, it didn't make sense that he had raised two dumbbells who thought that if someone else lived in the home they were raised in, the locks had been changed on their pasts. His last days were equally baffling because for some reason that was lost on him, his passing would somehow make a woman in her sixties a poor orphan girl and he couldn't even tell her that she was talking bollocks fluently.
Snarky Candiru2

On the fuzziness of Marian's mind.

As we know, the last years of the strip were spent watching Elly and the others underestimate how much of Jim's personality, intellect and mental sharpness was left after the stroke. Since they weren't trained to notice things, it was damned easy for them to write the old boy off because they can't actually read minds. The reason that I mention this is that it looks like we were watching a repeat performance.

This is because things Marian says and does in the last years of her life make it look as if she was slowly sliding into a state of dementia. It isn't actually funny or cute to have a 'joke' that has her forget a potholder in the oven after dismissing Jim's concerns about her mind going but the thing exists. So does the fact that it looks as if he's taking advantage of a woman whose mind is as sharp as a sack of wet leather.
Snarky Candiru2

Marian and the pump organ: a mystery.

As we know, Phil and Elly have for some stupid reason decided that their parents' pump organ should serve as a prize to indicate who truly is The Best And Most Beloved Child. As we hint at, Jim sees the pump organ as an unwieldy mechanical contrivance that's safe to donate because he doesn't find it especially useful. What we never get to see is what Marian thinks about all of this. We end up learning that Marian doesn't really like the idea of giving all of her memories away or having her cherished mementoes casually classified as junk by her idiot husband.

This tends to hint at a power dynamic that is lost on their daughter. Marian probably did want one of the kids to have the damned thing only to be talked into doing something stupid and antisocial because it's 'for the best' by a manipulative old coot who doesn't want an argument to be resolved. If the war between his kids ended, he'd have to admit that he's mortal and he can't take that.
Snarky Candiru2

Liz versus understanding Martha.

As we all know, Liz has a rather poor grasp on how people interact because she's fairly sheltered and isn't especially bright. We get to see this come into play when she doesn't ask questions when Ugly Brother and her parents talk about the undesirability of Martha. Mike's accounting of events is self-serving, blame-evading and blame-deflecting and is thus suspect. Elly lets her insecurities and feelings of inadequacy do her thinking for her. John goes along with things because he's not too swift about people.

The reason that I mention this is that Liz really ought to know better because Mike's accounting of their incessant sparring is self-serving, blame-evading and blame-shifting. Elly lets her self-pity do her thinking for her when talking about how Liz is a problem. John doesn't make waves because interacting with people when it ain't fun is not on. Since Liz is a twit, she thinks that she's the only person Mike is a complete knob to, she's the only person Elly singles out for persecution and the only one John won't defend. This gets in the way of her liking a fellow sitting duck.
Snarky Candiru2

The Invisible Break-Up Of Michael Patterson.

As we all know (and as he clearly doesn't remember well enough to have learned anything from it), there is precedent for Martha claiming to want options that aren't Mike in order to get Mike to fight for her. Three years ago, Martha got sick of watching him channeling Hammy Hamster and decided that jealousy would spur the doofus into action:

The problem is that Mike is too dense to understand when things are happening to him:

because he suffers from the delusion that he's a keen-eyed observer of human nature when he's really just a muppet lost in the ozone.

There is also precedent for Gordon serving as a go-between when Martha wants to make things up with Mike when they go too far. This will happen this August when Jason acts like a normal teenager and moves onto the forever-and-always love of late summer:

The problem is that Mike has to see a real person with wants, hopes, needs and dreams:

and he just can't do that:

You might as well ask him to listen to conversations that aren't one hundred percent about him and his own feelings:


What this means is that he's the only person on Earth who doesn't realize that people see him as having dumped Martha in the most cold-blooded manner possible. It also means that explaining this to him would be an exercise in futility because it requires him to do something he cannot: put himself in the place of another person.
Snarky Candiru2

Disappointed By The Endgame

Of course, the irritating thing about the disjointed look at where Phil happens to be is that it raises all sort of unpleasant implications. As it stands, Phil got a bunch of people to pay Bullard off only to have him just buy a new dog with the money. As howtheduck said, the obvious implication is that people are going to be more pissed off at Phil than they ever were with Bullard and this makes it look as if he and Georgia got ran out of town.

The reason that I mention this is that yet again, Lynn is blind to what other people might see. She might know about when he moved away and why but doesn't realize that she has to share with the audience. We should be seeing a ham-fisted flashback that savages a land developer for expropriating land for a ew mall. We'd still get Lynn's blurred vision of the world but Phil would at least look like less of an idiot.
Snarky Candiru2

Further notes on unpersons in the Foobisphere.

The interesting thing about the strip is that it does not completely reflect Lynn's reality owing to a lack of an avatar for a prominent figure in her former life: her former brother-in-law Ralph Johnston. The in-laws that did most of the work raising her children were banished to Manitoba in strip for some reason that's about to become clear but Ralph must have done 'something' that warranted a complete unpersoning.

We see a broad hint as to what that thing was when we consider Georgia of the ineptly constructed nickname. We're bearing witness to her last star turn as a character before her transition into being a sort of living prop meant to remind us that like Alan, Phil has a wife Elly never bothered learning a damned thing about because all she sees when she looks at the woman is "the girl Phil married". Lynn's metaphor of a wall descending between Elly and the Nichols family tends to hint as to what the cause of the lack of interest in Georgia is: Lynn doesn't get along very well with the person in real life. Ralph appears to have triggered the mean girl in Lynn and is assumed to know what he had done to irritate her. As is the way of such things, he doesn't and she doesn't either. Joan Ridgway appears to have made the mistake of complaining about having confidences breached by an imbecile who doesn't care about other people's boundaries while zealously guarding her own. Thus is Georgia a cipher and thus did Ralph content himself with the idea that Lawrence is his avatar.
Snarky Candiru2

Harridan/Beatnik: The Unasked and Unaskable Question.

Since Lynn appears to like to copy ideas and themes from network television, one of the more irritating features of the strip is having to watch a main character do something that probably wouldn't happen in real life. This is why Elly appears to have been appointed gatekeeper of communicating her parents' plans to her younger brother when in real life, they'd probably have called him up after they talked to Elly. While I do realize that there are valid objections to my argument (such as 'they don't know his phone number', 'long distance costs too much', 'they hate getting the machine' and so on and so forth), there's something implied by this that Elly never wants to speculate about.

That something is the very real possibility that they might not like Phil as much as she thinks they do. Oh, sure, they're vaguely disappointed that she never did finish school and probably never will but they're okay with her choices in life as long as she's happy....and besides, she gave them something Phil seems reluctant to do: grandchildren. Since Elly's raison d'etre appears to be denying how similar she is to her mother, the 2021 version of her is probably texting Connie so she can fret about how rootless the Martian is and not realizing that Marian said the same damned thing about Phil. This is probably owing to her very real need to feel good about herself by feeling bad about herself. Just as she thinks that being told that she isn't fat and ugly is an insult because it 'means' that her feelings are a joke, any sign that her parents disapprove of Phil's lifestyle is a lie because it means that her feelings are again a joke too.