To get back to what I was talking about the other day, I realize that for Lynn and her fans to come close to being satisfied with the outcome of the strip, certain things have to happen owing to the constraints of the medium. I know that in a novel or soap opera or similar form, people would realize that characters fade in and out of the lead actor's lives so a future in which John and Elly weren't within walking distance of their adult children would not bother them; this is not the case here. In a comic strip, you have to have the same lead characters you started out with if you don't want to be like Jim Davis and endure questions about what happened to Jon's room-mate Lyman. The first of these three things is that Liz had to marry Anthony; this is so Lynn could deliver a leaden moral about continuity in human affairs, how the new generation was taking up the reins from John and Elly and so on and so forth. The problem, of course, is that Lynn made a series of ridiculous errors that turned what could have been a mildly touching story into a repulsive farce. If you'll indulge me, I'd like to remind you of what steps Lynn could have taken to not look out of touch with her audience:
- First off, she could have had Anthony declare that since he still had feelings for Elizabeth, it would be wrong of him to string an innocent person along and live a lie. This would have the wondrous benefit of not turning him into a classic villain; since he would not then be an example of how to not live one's life and not have has fictitious virtues trumpeted by parents and Captain Ethnics like Shawna-Marie, he'd be less of a bastard. Also, we wouldn't have to be repulsed by all the unfortunate implications that her handling of Therese raised.
- Second, have Liz realize that her channeling Elly was what drove Eric from her side; realizing that she didn't have all the answers would make her a more interesting person.
- Third, arrange things so that Liz's time in Mtigwaki was not some grand adventure in an exotic locale loaded with stereotypes but simply a duty she'd have to perform as part of her scholarship. We could then get an inside look at a part of the world we don't see without making her look like a dilettante; Lynn meant well with this arc but, as I said, her execution stank.
- Fourth, eliminate contrived pieces of nonsense like the Going-after. From what we understand of John and Elly's courtship, it proceeded more or less organically so showing their replacements going through the same process would allow Lynn to remind us of her Generation Xerox concept without making her characters look ridiculous.
- She could also show us Elly actually participating in the wedding planning instead of standing in a corner with Connie boasting about how loving and kind she wasn't; this would allow us to see what Lynn's idea of a wedding looks like and how she thinks a mother of the bride should behave.
- It would also have been a good idea to bump up the Settlepocalypse a bit earlier; this way, we could have Jim's latest health scare coincide with Liz's giving birth to the first of her two children. Again, Lynn could talk about life going on and that there.
The reason she didn't see that is that she seems to not have realized that using daytime television as a source material would tend to make her characters as repulsive as the people who populate the soaps.