Now that I’ve explained why I’m sort of glad to see the back-end of Ray Billingsley’s tribute to self-defeating behaviour and snippiness, I’d like to tell you why I’m fairly glad to no longer have to deal with Ces Marciuliano’s look at the horrifying after-effects of familial dysfunction. What started out as a bland, sitcom family living in a bland, sitcom world has, under his supervision, mutated into a hellish look at a family of creepy outcasts who barely qualify as sane, let alone human. What this means is that the only two people I’m going to miss are Faye and Nona owing to their tendency to call Hilary out on being a bossy lunatic with a fear of failure. Granted, Hilary tunes them out because she’s as nuts as her folks but at least they tried.
I won’t, on the other hand, miss Ralph Preston much at all. What Cesco did with him is to take a generic character type like the Pointy-Haired Boss and show us what a dysfunctional and pathetic slob he’d have to be in real life. What we see is a delusional, self-aggrandizing hindrance who spent most of his life taking credit for Sally’s hard work while at the same time not noticing that she’d been carrying him all that time. I also won’t miss the fact that what made him horrible was not that he was a useless load of sludge but that he didn’t listen to her when she started lecturing him.
I don’t feel especially sad that I won’t have to look at Sally’s work wife Alice any longer. There’s just something off about her that I can’t describe but don’t like.
I won’t miss Sally’s younger sister Jackie. Having to look at the lazy drone be baffled and angered by the suggestion that she actually do things for herself, her default presumption that people will live her life for her and her utter lack of any gratitude are as irritating as the realization that Sally isn’t strong enough to cut this jerk out of her life.
Likewise, I don’t see myself as being all that choked up at having to no longer see their mother Laura. Her vanity, her default assumption that she’s a victim because her children’s need to have an involved parent got in the way of her contracting cirrhosis of the cerebellum, her inability to be pleased by anything Sally does, her belief that people exist to cater to her fragile ego and Sally’s inability to tell the old biddy to freaking die already make her absence from my watch list gladdening to my heart.
I’m equally glad to see the back end of what started out as “Generic Wise-beyond-her-years Sitcom Daughter” only to mutate into “Horrifying Combo Platter Of Her Parents’ Psychoses” Hilary. She combines Sally’s bossy nature and lack of tolerance for dissension in the ranks with Ted’s being a delusional maniac who doesn’t know what planet he’s living on half of the time.
Speaking of Ted, I liked him better back when he was a flat character who was only concerned about work, sports and meatloaf. Watching him degenerate into a pop-culture zombie who sees his life as being a sitcom and seems to be suffering so severely from Stockholm Syndrome that he believes that his killer robot wife is the only thing keeping him from working at Montoni’s is the second-biggest reason I don't mind not having to see him blather about his love of robot monkeys.
As for the biggest reason I'm sort of relieved to no longer pay attention to the Forthiverse, I’ll miss Sally least of all. Sure, it’s kind of satisfying to see what would make a person act like an ultra-competent sitcom wife in real life terms but when you consider that the price is a hellish childhood, a fear of disorder and a pathetic need to try to fix something that cannot be repaired, it’s kind of not worth it. Nor is it worth watch. This means that I’ll stick to following the man’s blog; Victorian Era Superhero and Todd the Robot Dad don’t sicken and scare me.