As you know, we're about to be subjected to the "Pattersons go camping" story arc. The premise is that Doctor Ted graciously allows John and the family the use of his cottage in Muskoka. When they arrive, they find themselves not at the cozy little cottage Ted had led them to expect but a dilapidated shack in the middle of nowhere. Hilarity ensues as Farley is sprayed by a skunk and shaved bald rather than treated properly, Elly ends up doing all the housework and tending the kids on what she assumed would be a vacation because John can't get it through his thick skull how overwhelmed she is, the kids are bored, angry and disobedient and, to top things off, the days where it doesn't rain are so humid and blackfly ridden, soaking downpours seem an improvement. When they arrive home to tear Ted a new one for subjecting to this Hell, they find that John had gotten the directions to the place wrong because he can't find his head with a map. This allows Lynn to take her martyrdom show on the road and tell us things we're supposed to know:
- The great outdoors is for chumps: Lynn has made no secret of her boredom and disgust with the wide-open spaces of the world. Her ideal vacation spot is somewhere she can shop, snack and get smilingly hammered.
- Men are pigs: John is made to be a smug, imposing dick by harrumphing that Elly needs this opportunity to do real work for once in her life. That's right; John not only doesn't realize that Elly feels overwhelmed, he thinks she sits on her ass eating bonbons.
- Men are stupid: Their vacation was ruined because John is too foolhardy and arrogant to remember the directions to a home away from home.
- Children are annoying burdens: Since Lynn can't find it in her to feel empathy, she can faithfully record her children's angry comments about how bored they are, how there's nothing to do and how much they hate things while, at the same time, regarding this as an imposition on Elly's time.
- Pets are burdens: Since the Pattersons can't be bothered to take care of Farley properly, he wanders loose, gets sprayed by a skunk and is given quack remedies that make things worse. Since they're jerks, they blame him for their idiocy.
- Elly is put-upon and under-appreciated: This is the basic premise of the strip and does not change, no matter where she goes.
The most annoying thing of all is something that we don't see; this is the beginning of the Connie-Ted debacle. It turns out that Connie and Ted meet up when she's looking in on the Pattermanse; one thing leads to another and the next thing you know, the Pattersons are wringing their hands in apprehension as two incompatible people try to parlay handjive into something more. It's almost as annoying as remembering that Elly is going to hold every little reverse over everyone's heads for-freaking-ever.