The nifty thing about the catalog is that it allows you to go back to pretty much the beginning of the strip and discover themes that might otherwise have escaped your attention. Since it's pretty much Michael's ninth real anniversary, let's explore how his love life was affected by the Holiday season:
- 1988: For some odd reason, John and Elly decided that the Pattersons should spend Christmas at his parents' farm in Aberdeen, Manitoba. This was sort of awkward for everyone given the cramped conditions, the fact that Mike and Lizzie weren't used to life on a working farm (which meant having to get up at seven instead of sleeping in like they were used to), the septic tank freezing due to a surprise flash freeze requiring them to use a honey bucket, the need Carrie had for quiet and the clash of personalities. What really made things suck was the fact that thirteen year old Mike was upset that he got dragged away from his friends in general and Martha in particular; Elly's response to that was to come to the inane conclusion that she needed to save her son from Martha's smothering embrace.
- 1995: The primary cause of drama was that his girlfriend Rhetta wanted to date other people while they were at school; her reasoning was that they should get all that out of their systems while they were in University so that when they got back together after graduation, they could settle down to a steady and quiet life together. Mike's response to this, of course, was to whine "Goodbye" and spend the rest of his life simpering about how a false-hearted woman tore his out and trod on it.
- 1988: This, of course, was when he declared his love for Dee by shouting it from a rooftop like a crazy person.
- 2000: The Secret Wedding; I've trod over this ground enough for you to know what I feel about it so I'll simply state my disgust that Dee gave her mother the gift of hypocrisy.
There's a unifying theme that I've noticed: Mike has being in love with being in love in common with Liz. He also shares her superficial nature; the thin layer of charm that people admire covers an endless succession of thin veneers. Once you peel them all away, there's nothing there as evidenced by the imbecilic reasons he gives for referring to his previous two love interests as Jezebels. Since he's a simpleton, he still doesn't know that Martha was the victim of Elly's campaign to drive a wedge between them because she represented the popular girls who got all the boy in high school while Elly, who probably trudged down the halls with a scowl on her face moaning that no one liked her, cried in her pillow because she didn't know why she was unpopular. As for Rhetta, she betrayed him by wanting to see other people when she was 'supposed' to have no social life at all; he, of course, was allowed to tomcat around like an idiot 'cause he was the guy.