dreadedcandiru2 (dreadedcandiru2) wrote,

The Patterson children not actually Menaces: official......

In a recent strip, we were forced to see an example of something fairly commonplace: adults acting very strangely to a common-place phenomenon. What happened was that Danny's mother Alice asked Lizzie what she thought of all of this farm country; when Michael told the lady that Lizzie kept asking to see Old MacDonald, Mrs Cruikshank's reaction was to stare in something that could reasonably be described as confused horror. The underlying logic to the strip seems to me to have been that since the old doll didn't expect to see a fairy tale character hanging around the north forty, Lizzie's belief that this was the case was not a three year old being a three year old but proof that the child was evil, crazy and wrong.

This, of course, is owing to Lynn's chief failing as a creator: her need to think that a device that pleases her is somehow required. The same need to think that a car must be seen to hover in order to show that it's moving required her to swipe an old gag from Hank Ketcham. Another commonality is that just as she didn't understand why hovercars were, she didn't really understand why the Mitchells went bonkers every time Dennis acted like the dirt-ordinary regular dumb kid he always was and always will be.

Granted, as a fairly uncurious child of the fifties, she'd be at a distinct disadvantage on that score but it isn't hard to figure out why the Mitchells used to run around like refugees from a hysteria ward. On the one hand, we have an aerospace engineer dad who got hoodwinked into thinking bullshit like "Since Dennis does things like putting a frog down Margaret's dress and not understanding why the whale swallowed Jonah, that means that when his moral laxness allows the Soviets to burn down the church and lynch the minister, he'll be rooting them on." and on the other, we have a mother surrounded by professional maiden ladies who tell her that since her son is a human being instead of a lobotomized horror freak, she's a failure as a woman, a mother and an American.

Since she doesn't understand that the Mitchells were Bircher nitwits who thought that their plain vanilla kid represented the grim spectre of international communism because he shouted and tripped over his own shadow, she thus made the adults in the Patterverse look like simpletons. The reason that she eventually had the characters do what she wanted to and laugh the sticky-out-tongue laugh seems to me to have been the end result of being tired of being asked what insane asylum Elly escaped from.
Tags: child rearing disasters, one big oblivious family

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