dreadedcandiru2 (dreadedcandiru2) wrote,

Dreams of escape and how they fixed Michael.

The interesting thing about the irritating arc that we've put behind us is having to remember that later on, Mike actually behaves as if he had been grounded when they punish him. Oh, he complains about the unfairness of the punishment imposed on him but he does accept the punishment instead of trying to duck it like he does here. Before 1988, he was so out of control that he actually was a burden to Elly. He wouldn't go next door when she wasn't home, he seemed bent on trying to chase Lizzie away and he does horrible things like climb up trees in hopes of seeing if the girl next door is wearing a bra or not. Afterward, he stopped looking like Evil Linus Van Pelt and started acting like Generic Inoffensive Clueless Dumb Guy From The Sticks Number Two. This leaves us asking what external force came and changed him from an antisocial monster into the dullard wondering why his parents want to give him a hard time by having him around to call irresponsible. I think I have the answer and she has the body and the language Elly Richards never allowed herself to have.

The reason I think that Martha did Michael the world of good is that she was the first person he seems to have met that actually seemed to want to really have him around. While he'd later go on to cast her as yet another person who only pretended to like him so she could bust his ass and mock him for thinking he deserved to belong anywhere, the plain fact is that before her, I cannot think of a cast member who was really grateful that Michael Patterson is part of their life. Elly's undiagnosed post-partum depression and hatred of conflict means that she loves her son but cannot resist telling him that she cannot like him, John is looking for instant obedience and Lizzie seems to not much care for him. What escapes Elly and the others is that the reason Mike doesn't much like the people he's with is that up until the fire messed with his brains, he saw the Pattermanse as a penitentiary filled with cruel guards that lived to treat him like a shitheel. What could they expect of him other than rebellion? Since Martha allowed him to dream of escape from the tyranny of filial piety, his behaviour improved because he felt an emotion he hadn't before: hope.
Tags: mike and the gang, the middle years

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