Lynn’s on-going attempt to foreshadow Michael and Deanna’s marriage (not to mention her moving to Burlington) in the new-ruin era of the strip is one of the more, well, idiotic things she’s done. It would have been better to see younger versions of the Sobinski family last year instead of Lynn's teasing us with the false hope that Connie wasn't going to go to Montreal. That way, we could have seen whether Deanna’s horror stories about her childhood held water instead of learning the super-important fact that Lawrence suffered from shy bowel syndrome. What makes it all the worse is that when it came to depicting Mike being in love, Lynn got it right the first time. What’s more, she did so three times:
- Deanna: In the original, simpler, better version, Michael acted like a regular dumb kid from the sticks who, like the incredibly average little boy he was, was of two minds about the little girl in pigtails with the soft-palate lisp. His curiosity and desire to be friends with a girl conflicted with his need to be one of the guys and, well, not be friends with girls. This, of course, meant that he did all the dumb things that regular people do when they have a crush on someone: he blurted out stupid things at the wrong time, he’d ignored (or, more truthfully, been totally unaware) of the times he’d offended her and generally acted like pretty much every kid who’d ever lived. Sometime in the middle eighties, she’d faded from view; at the time, a case could be made for her joining Daryl Smythe and Janice Madigan in some sort of Valhalla for characters who, having served their purpose, were never mentioned again.
- Martha: Michael first became aware of her while attending Summer Camp when he was twelve or so. They got to talking and found out that they had a few interests in common; they both accepted dares in order to fit in and be liked, they weren’t all that fond of Elvis and they were going to be attending the same middle school in the Autumn. As before, what we saw was a typical example of young, small-l love; we had the usual misunderstandings, the botched attempts to impress her, the idiotic refusal to get off his high horse when he thought she was doing him wrong and the panicky idiot parents who confused raging paranoia for a proper concern for the interests of their son. This, as I said before, led Elly to agree with his being shipped to Exile Farm; John, having conveniently forgotten being a moody young pain-in-the-ass when he was fourteen, shipped him there to ‘adjust his attitude’ while Elly feared and hated Martha because she reminded her of all the popular girls who got boys she wanted by the sinful and unfair means of smiling, dressing well, not slouching and, worst of all, not complaining about everything that ever bothered them since they were in diapers. It didn’t change his attitude any but, since Martha wasn’t allowed to write to him because her parents didn’t like Mike, had the desired result of torpedoing a relationship that would have collapsed on its own anyway.
- Rhetta: This brings us to the third of our boy’s love interests. He’d first met her working as a bag boy down at Megafoods and, well, went through the typical crap high school kids who take things way too seriously do. Even the rough patch wherein he bleated pathetically about his being a bug on a windshield because she (dun-dun-DUNNNNN!!!!!) said they should go on break while they were at University was something you could legitimately claim was realistic. If, in the year 1995, you had asked me what would be happening in the year 2010, I’d have told you that they’d be married and living a quiet, orderly life off camera. Every so often they’d show up to remind us that the Pattersons had adult children but the strip itself would be about John, Elly and their teen-aged foil.
That, of course, was before Mike had witnessed a motor vehicle accident and more or less forced a victim of PTSD to marry her stalker. To justify this, Lynn has revised history in order to make it look as if their union was destined; the end result, of course, was to make what was normal and healthy into an exercise in abnormal psychology.