January 16th, 2010

Snarky Candiru2

Lizzie and illness.

It occurs to me that a lot of Lizzie's clinginess comes from her being a somewhat sickly child growing up; unlike Michael who actively verbalized his discomfort, her timid nature meant that it took something really bad to make her break her silence and not, as is her predilection, sit in the corner and whimper to herself. The two occasions in which the Pattersons actually managed to notice she wasn't feeling well had much the same pattern and can be broken down as follows:
  1. Inconvenience: We start out with John and Elly regarding the "sudden" onset of her illness as both a shock and, well, an inconvenient disruption to their routine.
  2. Concern: Once they get over their initial frustration, they realize that the day-to-day annoyances that they live and love to whine about as if they were crimes against nature are, after all, trivialities. The only problem is that the realization doesn't last past her getting better.
  3. Resolution: Lizzie's illness is diagnosed and successfully treated. The Pattersons are relieved that things can get back to normal and they can stop being grateful for the people in their lives.
  4. Restoration: The Pattersons forget the resolve they make to be better people as Elly gets into a pointless argument with Annie Nichols about parenting methods. In 1981, Annie was hectoring Elly about the need to feed the kids better while in 1984, she was maligining working mothers.  

What we can take away from this is that the Pattersons are always slow to respond to a crisis but, when their default inertia, apathy, idiocy and self-absorption are overcome, they too can do what is expected of them in an emergency. Once the crisis is passed, however, they go back to sleep and revert to being the idiots we know and loathe. There are, sadly, too many people who don't learn lessons from disasters and slide back into destructive patterns of behavior because it's easier. She might not admit that this is what the Pattersons are but Lynn has managed to relate their story well enough so that their failings are obvious.  Since she was able to faithfully reproduce the oh-so-commonplace nasty behavior that took place in front of her in the course of her life, she's praised by millions for her keen insight into humanity. I wonder how many people out there don't realize that instead of having a camera in their house, Lynn is a camera.