- First, she tried to make him look like a poor sap who was dating an irrationally jealous girl who, because she was crazy and mean and wrong, didn't want to admit that Liz was no threat to her. The end result was to make him look like a manipulative shit who was trying to get that clod Liz to leap from the skies with claws bared and yell "Get your hands off my man!!!"
- She tried making him sympathetic by talking about how unreasonable Thérèse was being by expecting him to live up to his end of the bargain when plopping a child into her arms didn't magically make her want to be Suzie Homemaker and ended up making him look like a lying scoundrel.
- She tried to show us that his marriage wasn't working by saying that he tried to love his wife but made it clear that since she wasn't Liz, he wasn't trying all that God-damned hard.
- She tried to make him look heroic by giving Howard Erk a purple nurple and turned him into a skeevy drone trying to get Liz promise to put her life on hold so he could worm his way out of his bonds to the wife and child that weren't worth fighting for because they weren't Liz.
- She tried making him look like an honest man who'd got dumped by a hypocrite and made him look worse yet because she can't understand what an emotional affair is.
- She tried to make him into a house-husband and turned him into the sort of horror freak that Joe Mantegna goes up against on Criminal Minds.
- She had Liz tell us Thérèse's back story and, at best, made him look like a hopeless goober who couldn't handle his wife's post-partum depression.
- She wrote the Please-Love-Anthony letter and made it sound as if Liz had to marry him so that her parents would keep her in their will.
- She tried showing him looking comfortable with Liz and ended up making him look like his lobotomy worked too good.
- She tried showing him engaged in innocent horseplay with Françoise and we ended up getting the message "This is Daddy's girlfriend's big, fat, Pattterson ass. Kiss it or I'm cancelling Christmas."
What this tells me is that we would have seen in the strip itself is Françoise suddenly vanishing as if she or her mother had never existed in the first place. Eventually, Anthony would talk about how for some reason he can't fathom, the child who knows that he and Liz love her decided sight unseen to chase the same distracting sort of star that ruined Becky and April and Molly and Gayle and all the other poor unfortunates who don't see how wonderful John and Elly are. We'd also be told that he acts like Travis God-damned Bickle when we're not looking at him. This is supposed to make him look like a pillar of strength facing a cruel world but instead makes him look like a pathetic dolt who got hammered in a custody hearing and who can't take reality any better than the family of grasping imbeciles he married into.
Well, either that or we'd get a ludicrous abomination custody hearing that would be painful to behold, be as divorced from the facts as anything else Lynn has written and be an exercise in beating Thérèse over the head for wanting to deprive Elly of her rightful payoff for all the hard work she never actually did and emotional support she never really provided. More on that tomorrow.