dreadedcandiru2 (dreadedcandiru2) wrote,

Phil versus Elly: A closer look

Another nifty thing about the strip catalog is that it allows you to explore the toxic relationship that Phil and Elly have from the comfort of your own living room. As I've said before, the two of them spent their youths fighting like scorpions and Elly isn't ready to let go. Now that their past has been laid bare, we can see why they fight; a cursory reading of the strip tells us that Phil was something of a hellraiser as a child and more or less got away with it while she was more or less sat on because she was a girl. First off, he got a bicycle before she did. Given that she was two years older, it was pretty unfair and selfish of Jim and Marian to pry open their wallets for their son and more or less let their daughter play catch-up to him 'cause she was a girl. (Unless, of course, they thought that both children, being only two years apart in age anyway, could do things at the same time and it wouldn't matter.) She also had more restrictions on what she could and could not do; Phil had later curfews, more latitude in where he went and who he kept company with and, above all, more tolerance for deviant behavior. Said reckless behavior seems to indicate that he was the same sort of destructive twit Mike is; he wrecked a beloved toy, charged his pals a nickel a gander to watch her get dressed and got away with it more or less. Elly's complaints about said behavior seem, you see, to have fallen on unsympathetic ears and she was apparently subjected to angry lectures about how, as a girl, she needed to know her place. He also seems to share Mike's inability to realize that he did anything especially wrong, treating her complaints as being more or less irrelevant and harrumphing that she should let go of the past. He also invokes her somehow more that making up for it by being an annoying busybody who lectured him non-stop about how to live his life. This, as you may have noticed, is somewhat familiar; that's because I've more or less described the Pattersons. We have as primary caregiver Marian who, from what little we know of her, seems to have been a monster of passive aggression who spouted cliches, was obsessed with her public image while ignoring anything like substance, inflicted medieval gender stereotypes on her children and ruled by intimidation, physical force and pleas of martyrdom; the Train Man to her Flapandhonk was dour, anti-social, literal-minded nitwit Jim who gets along with the real John because they're so much alike. There was a son whose malevolence was ignored more or less because they loved his roguishness and a daughter who was kept down because of a maternal fixation on archaic standards of behavior. All that was missing was Elly murmuring that the son is in her eyes. The worst of it all is that, since Elly had no real friends growing up that I know of, she doesn't have any idea that her background was abnormal and wrong; since she was isolated from the world, she assumes that all families are either like hers was or should be.

Tags: elly: lynn's fantasy self, phil: bee and bop king, the catalogue

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