dreadedcandiru2 (dreadedcandiru2) wrote,

Sunshine, Shadow and Convenient Memory: A reappraisal of Marian Richards

In a recent entry on the Foobiverse, the question "Why do people gang up on Elly's mother?" was asked. jschillig was troubled by the way in which Elly's mother was treated like the at-the-very-least emotionally abusive Ursula Ridgway when Lynn herself said that the two of them were distinct people. The reason for the negativity is that while Lynn might not have made her pretend mother as nasty as her real one, she did make her a somewhat frosty and high-handed person who had to have things just so. In her first five or six appearances in the strip, we could count on her not being especially sympathetic to Elly's struggles and somewhat critical about the way Elly lived her life. It's fairly hard to like someone who seems to live to find fault in the protagonist while blinding herself to the shortcomings of a favourite like Phil. It's like how we get pissed off when Elly herself slobbers over the bogus accomplishments of The Delicate Genius while wishing April would somehow magically vanish.

That being said, it's not one hundred percent her fault that Elly is an idiot no matter how panicked Elly's "overly strong" will and "abusive, controlling nature" made her. Sure, the same woman who angrily refused to even consider letting Jim have a dog because she read in a magazine that pets were on the way out went sat on Elly while indulging Phil because that's what she thought she was supposed to but let's be honest here. We are dealing with a woman who'd be an angry nitwit who'll die feeling jilted because she missed everything owing to wasting her life whining about what she doesn't have if Marian had been the most permissive human being alive. We know that Elly can't be happy with herself and feels compelled to do things the hard way because she has no sense of humor. We also know that she can't accept responsibility for her actions so she needs a scapegoat.

This is somewhat unfortunate because it blinds her to something that Deanna is also not aware of. Just as Evil Mira clearly seems to think that Deanna is a smarter, more capable person than the huffy, childish git who enables Michael, the part of Marian's Liography that wasn't about being unfair to Elly, domineering to Jim or indulgent to Phil was predicated on her belief that Elly could somehow magically be more than some dolt who'd wreck her life marrying a nerdy dentist who needed her to wait tables because he too was stupid with his money. It would probably not do any good to explain to her that her mother's disappointment with her stemmed from the fact that she saw intellect, ambition and drive that simply were not there because that would be a bummer personal responsibility trip.
Tags: grate grandmother marian

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