The latest news from the Johnston studios is that Beth Cruikshank plans to write a bio for Liz's sometimes friend, sometimes rival Candace Halloran. This reminds me that Beth loves the following themes:
Paternal Abuse: So far, we've had Gordon Mayes and his evil, alcoholic Dad, Fiona Brass's father chortling that it was his right as her father to fritter away her paycheque on his own selfish ends, Gavin Caine acting like Lord Muck, Connie Poirier's father cursing and swearing because he has no sons to be proud of, Therese Arsenault's father saying much the same thing and now Candace's step-father claiming handjive as his God-given right. The only decent father who will let his child be happy with no strings attached is, of course, John Patterson.
Maternal Neglect: The cruel, selfish, entitled patriarch that Beth loves to write about can only oppose the laws of decency and propriety because the mother either hasn't the will or sense to stand up to him or is dead. We have Connie's mother simpering that it would be sheerest cruelty to inform the obscurantist dumbfuck dad that it was his fault his line ran to daughters, the second Mrs Caine treating Anthony like a dimwit, Fiona's mom decomposing because she folded up and died, Gordo's mom joining her hubby bellying up to the bad and in Candace's instance, her mother refusing point-blank to confront her asshole husband because her need to have a man, any man, weighs more heavily on her mind than the well-being of her child. The only mother that is supportive, kind and honest is, you guessed it, Elly.
Unhappy, turbulent childhoods: Any childhood friend or associate of the Pattersons who isn't lucky enough to be born a Patterson usually has a miserable upbringing. The worst example of that was, of course, Fiona Brass; the only friend she ever really had was a stray cat. Candace is only marginally better off; caught as she is between the fires of a loathsome pervert step-dad and a gutless mother, it should be obvious that Candace's less lovely behaviors were a defense mechanism designed to protect her from the ravages of her wind-blown world. The only island of calm, serenity and happiness in the cold, down-beat world of the Liographies is, as could have been predicted, the Pattermanse.
Patterson Worship: Always and ever in the Liographies, when the subject first encounters the ultra-bland Pattersons, he or she outwardly judges them as being too weak to survive in this ugly world. This is, of course, because the protagonist secretly envies the calm, orderly lives the Pattersons lead, the quiet wisdom of the sainted Elly and the hidden fortitude of the noble John. This leads to the inevitable resolution: friendship with a member of the Holy Family as the only means to salvation. This means, of course, the sufferer, if female, will live a happy Patterlife with the car, the house, the boy-girl pair of kids and the husband who doesn't know where anything is because he just lives there. If male, the little woman will, after having done all the housework, have the sense to keep the offsprings out of the way while Daddy cowers behind his paper.
Beth's need to depict all fathers who aren't John as selfish tyrants and all mothers who aren't Elly as doormats who don't have the moral courage to protect their kids tells me that she knows to use her love of melodrama for its own sake to fulfill the objective of making the Pattersons look like the Ideal Family for this or any other age. It also, since the basic plot of the Liographies reads like Stone Season, makes her into a female Mike Patterson.