Tags: exile farm

Snarky Candiru2

Irrational Buffoon: Elly's Christmas Of Total Fail.

As you know, we're about two months away from what appears to me to be Elly channeling Clark Griswold by launching in to a big, stupid and ill-considered attempt at bonding with her husband's extended family and enriching her children's lives by, you guessed it, visiting Exile Farm in the middle of December like a big, deluded idiot from the city who doesn't get what that might entail.

I'd originally thought that she was doing so to cool down a relationship that Mike is quite frankly too young for but we all know that it takes a year and a half from now for Elly to learn that Martha exists and that Mike's been in an on-and-off thing with her all that time. What's happening is pretty much her trying to make things better by being with family and maybe showing Mike and Lizzie the real meaning of Christmas: being harangued about being spoiled and lazy by arrogant and clannish hayseeds.

We start things off with this being discussed behind Michael's back because he might object to any plan to make him Suddenly Wonderful by exposing him to the beauty of an ice-cold winter in beautiful Middle Of God-Damned Nowhere, Manitoba because central heating and pipes that aren't frozen solid are a luxury that's making him bad and cruel and mother-hating. So, it would seem, is not especially liking old people who want to doze away the day so KEEP IT QUIET, being reminded that a Grunt-Burg used to be a cow, being packed in like sardines and, yes, being lectured to be smug fist-magnet farm-folk about how foolish he is for being materialistic and rebellious and the like.

What caps things off is that when someone points out the defects in Elly's logic and how the results are that Mike feels miserable (and was forced to stand out in the cold to Think About Being A Bad Guest by his graceless, thin-skinned moron hosts because he finally told that snippy, yapping annoyance Laura where she can shove the attitude she needs to lose yesterday), she gets all angry about how wonderful her ill-thought out plan is. The only thing that would have saved this is if Lynn had followed through on her plan to pack Danny and the gang down to Milboring so that nitwit Laura can get cut down to size.
Snarky Candiru2

The dropped plot threads of 1988 examined.

Now, to get back to the fact that Lynn seems to have just plain forgot to give Liz a sleepover of her own despite giving Mike and April one, it seems to me that said affaair would be used for the same purpose the ones Lynn bothered to write: to reinforce a character trait of the birthday girl. In Mike and April’s case, we were reminded that both children have the unhappy tendency to want to test the very narrow limits of the very drab and anticsocial idiots they call parents. (What this means is that having John glower at April and her friends while congratulating himself on being able to do is an amplified version of Elly glowering at the ‘peep’ strip.)

The reason that I mention this is that were twelve-year old Lizardbreath try to twist things around so that her aloof, standoffish nature, blank-eyed inability to pick up on or recognize social norms and sullen resentment of people who clearlt want to “steal” the friends she has are why Elly would have the devil’s own time coming up with a guest list for a slumber party, we’d probably end with the whole thing getting scrubbed because Elly had the same problem for the same reason. This means that the closest the Breath is ever going to have to one of those things is her bridal shower.

This is akin to how the closest thing to the threatened visit by the Cruikshanks in which Saint Laura would spew treacle from her mouth about how lazy, soft, entitled and ungrateful Mike and Lizzie are for not wanting to be lectured all the damned time about how they’re moral monsters for not getting all giddy about the prospect of being at the southbound end of a northbound horse in the comfort of their own home is, of course, the Settlepocalypse…..not, of course, that we got to see that either. Lynn had priorities like having Elly talk about how great it was that Liz took over the wedding like what should happen.

Snarky Candiru2

Triple trouble on Exile Farm.

The interesting thing about the real Cruikshank family is that they have three daughters. The other interesting fact is that they're much the same age as Kate and Aaron are. This is why whenever Cousin Laura appeared, she seemed to be just a little older than the Patterson child she was calling a clodhopper. What this tells us is that something entertaining is happening that the Patterson family are too dim to realize: Bev and Danny also have three daughters. For the sake of convenience, let's call them Karen, Laura and Melanie. They look similar enough that someone not especially familiar with their family would confuse them with one another and none of the three of them especially loved playing baby-sitter because their idiot uncle from the big city was too big of a girl's blouse to deal with the alleged out-of-control behaviour of his slug-like imbecile offspring.

This led the three of them to formulate a plan to prank the moron city folk; said plan involves their conceit that whatever 'Laura' stuck Foob-sitting is an only child. Since idiot Mike and clueless Liz are almost attentive as their moron parents, the gag is a viable one and since by the time the Martian showed up, Karen and the real Laura had moved elsewhere, it seemed appropriate to just let the idiots from the city go right on being ignorant. It should be noted that John was probably as big an asshole as an older brother as he is a father and husband so it's easy to see why Bev and Danny would get in on the fun. After all, there's nothing farm people love better than putting one over on city folk. The success of the Letters From Wingfield Farms series of plays is testament to that.
Snarky Candiru2

Cherry trees and farms of exile: John and Elly are stupid and useless.

Of course, the real problem with the Peeping Mike arc is that it highlights a dilemma John and Elly brought on themselves by being stupid parents. This eternal battle against having the kids stay home during the Summer seems, as all things, to be a multi-stage omnishambles that has distinct subcomponents of stupidity:

  1. Since Michael is stupid, lazy, anger-prone and misogynistic, he doesn't ever spend his summers doing anything constructive. Sooner or later, he finds a way to spend his time that outrages and inconveniences his family.
  2. John and Elly have no interest in policing Mike's behaviour because they have lives.
  3. John and Elly are inept fools who believe that exposure to magic will make him wonderful.
  4. This means that they end up making Mike's idiocy someone else's problem.
  5. Since he cannot be with his friends and he's also exposed to the change he hates more than anything else, this convinces Mike that his parents hate the idea of his being happy because they're too old to enjoy life any longer.
  6. Go back to Step One.

This is why next year, Mike ends up getting packed off to summer camp in order to instill in him a love of nature that will somehow make him the grinning gumdrop they want instead of the sullen goof their ineptitude would have to create. This is why doing chores that he hates all the next summer further convinces him that they're Nazis who hate happiness. This is why they get him a job in order to keep out of trouble and why he ends up thinking even more that his parents are too old to laugh and enjoy life and want to punish him for still being able to do so. This, finally, is why they hit on the idea of sending him and his siblings off to that damned farm. The idea seems to be to cut him off from the familiar surroundings and familiar friends and anything that would allow him to feel as if his opinion matters. Exposing him to horned cattle, grain and old people who look down on him and lecture him will somehow make of him the pliable drone that they think they want. Ah, well. Evil people pay for their sins sooner or later and since they got what they wanted, they're finding out that they were fools to want it.
Snarky Candiru2

On Exile Farm and gift-giving.

The odd thing about all of this talk about the band and stuff is having to remember John's useless advice about how Becky had traded FRIENDS!!! and FUN!!! for a silly day-dream that kept her from the good things in life like serving the interests of grasping yuppie vermin who think that having to wait more than five seconds to get what they want makes them the victims of all victims surpassing all othershim and Elly. The reason that I mention this is that his sovereign cure for what he sees is his children's ingratitude and defiance is being exiled to a failing dirt farm and being lorded over by an obnoxious hippie and his smug idiot daughter.

The reason for this is not, of course, just that he and his imbecile wife have a sort of stupid fetish about farm life. If it were just that his belief that exposure to horned cattle, horses, chickens and ass-scratching hicks magically make children wonderful, it would be one thing. The problem is that we have to read his retcons and endure his getting all sentimental about the long, hard days being at the south end of a north-bound horse. Simply put, when he proposed sending the kids to Danny and Bev's farm, John was basically being a typical man and giving unwilling people a present he'd like for himself. Ah, well. At least his being the same sort of goof who'd have bought Elly a socket set if he thought he could get away with it makes him better about it than a wife who won't admit to why she's doing something.
Snarky Candiru2

On ignition points.

The interesting thing about the Pattersons' experience at summer camp is that it has a commonality with sending the kids off to Exile Farm and when John got Mike a summer job selling hot dogs from a cart. Said common factor is that they're immediately proceeded either by Elly having to mediate a row between Mike and Lizzie or by Mike proposing to do something that would heap shame on the family name.

As I've said before, the children have to go away because they were never taught how to spend their time productively and that conflicts not only with Elly's somewhat unreasonable expectation that her own children should somehow behave better than she did when she was their age but with John's amnesia as regards what a pain in the neck he was when he was a child. This has the result of taking what could otherwise be a rather positive and normal experience and making it into something of a punishment owing to the refusal people have to explain themselves.
Snarky Candiru2

Exile Farm: The Next Generation.

Of course, the saddest part of all of this "Let's pack Mike off somewhere because Elly is too self-absorbed and immature to deal with him as if he's a person too" business is that Mike grew up to be an incredibly self-absorbed and damaged human being in his own right. Given that he has been systematically denied any freedom of expression and sympathy for his own viewpoints, he quickly turned into another self-pitying, self-contained idiot who cannot empathize with others or identify with their point of view.

This is why whenever his children want reassurance that Daddy actually cares about them and likes knowing that they exist and want to be with him, he screams for Deanna to keep the scary, scary little children he can't identify with away from him. Since he is unable to understand why people do what they do, he can only think that people are doing what he thinks they're doing. This leaves him with a very low tolerance for children actually being children.

When we combine this with his need to position himself as being the victim above all others, it doesn't take a genius to realize that at some point in the last five years since the Settlepocalypse, the Delicate Genius must have come to the stupid conclusion that his children need to be exposed to farm life to control their baffling need to impinge on his awareness and their disappointing lack of gratitude that he actually takes care of them. This means that obnoxious hayseed idiot Laura's obnoxious hayseed idiot daughter is currently mocking Meredith because she doesn't know a tractor from a turnip. This also means that a man named Paul Jones from Saint John, New Brunswick wants to gut-punch the Delicate Genius for having a skull filled with horseshit.
Snarky Candiru2

On the exile of the Patteson children and what the neighbors REALLY think.

Remember a few months ago when I talked about how pissed off Liz was that Dawn took up with Shawna Marie during her stay at Exile Farm? The idea seems to have been that Dawn should have done absolutely nothing with her life while Lizzie was away so that she would find things to be exactly the same as they were when Elly and John lost their shit and packed her off to Bev and Danny's place. It's like how Mike turned into a whiny little bitch because Jason Finkbeiner was THERE for Martha; in both cases, people are simply expected to sit on their hands and do nothing because the Patterson children expect to be sent away and not have to cope with people living their lives without them in it.

I think that that is a very stupid and self-centered thing to expect. Not only does it assume that Mike and Liz are the axis around which the world rotates, the other idiotic underlying assumption is that the people in the Pattersons' neighborhood aren't used to the idea that Mike and Liz will not be allowed to have a summer at home just hanging out like other children. Either they go on a family trip to hang out with old people who lecture them or John and Elly send them away because they're too fragile to deal with the idea of children being underfoot all summer long. If you were to ask Dawn or Gordon or Lawrence about this, he or she would shrug and say "Well, that's what happens. Mike and Liz and their sister, they just go away for the summer and that's that." If you were to ask a stupid person like Connie, you'd get a huffy comment about Elly being tormented. If you were to ask someone who doesn't think much of Elly's parenting skills like Annie, you'd be told Elly doesn't like being a mother so tends to send them away. This makes Annie better than the other people I'd mentioned.
Snarky Candiru2

Shawna Marie: A proud product of Exile Farm.......

Now that I've talked as much as I care to about the Enjo family, I'd like to discuss Liz's other token Magic Minority Friendoid, Shawna Marie Verano. Much like Lawrence Poirier, she's pretty much a product of Lynn's lack of any real knowledge of Latin America; much as Sarah Palin thinks that Africa is a country, Lynn seems to think that the world South of the Rio Grande is a homogenous mass of swarthy people who speak Spanish. Trying to explain that Brazil is the largest Portuguese-speaking country in the world or that the Argentina where the Veranos are supposedly from is a majority-white country (Buenos Aires, in fact, being indistinguishable from Toronto save for the language, the fact that the people dress better and who they think that certain sheep-ridden islands in the South Atlantic belong to) is the same exercise in futility that explaining to her that the Authentic Thailand never really existed save in the minds of a Hollywood script writer.

Not, of course, that it doesn't somehow fit that she's the product of Lynn's ignorance. After all, she came into Liz's life as the end result of her parents' panicky stupidity. You see, one summer, she had Dawn all to herself and one trip to Exile Farm later, Lizardbreath felt as if she was on the outside looking because "Dawn likes Shawna Marie best now." What really, really hurts about that is that John and Elly hadn't the courage or decency to do anything other than moan about how baffling it was that Liz never felt as if she belonged anywhere when it was their God-damned fault that she felt that way. It's like watching the potato-nosed harridan whine about how Liz never came to her with her problems when she and her non-stop moaning about how ungrateful she and Michael were WAS Problem Number God-Damned One.

Anyways, after their issues got resolved, Shawna Marie turned into a logic defying amalgam of Candace's being closer to the Earth and Eva Warzone's need to lecture Liz about how awful some woman she only knew by reputation was. I have no idea what possessed her and Dawn to talk smack about Thérèse or why she thinks that it's a great thing that she stuck up for that toxic little dink Anthony because she knew him; all I know is that I don't like it. I also don't like how her wedding from Hell to Brian Squiggly Line (seriously, Lynn couldn't even give the man a name) is where Liz FINALLY committed to Anthony after about ten or twelve years of false starts and missed opportunities. She might think that she witnessed magic; sane people will realize that a relationship that should have petered out and died ages ago was being kept alive by artificial means so that two selfish old people who think that their children owe them for the air they breathe can get money that they do NOT and never did have coming.
Snarky Candiru2

Vancouver: An Exile Too Far.....

As I recently reminded you, most of this summer will be spent watching Jim and Marian babysit Michael because Elly thinks that his attitude needs adjusting. This, as we all know is because rather than actually risk talking to their children and thus losing any hope of being 'authority' figures, the Pattersons ship the 'problem' elsewhere in the hopes that it will be cure the child of 'unreasonable' defiance. The form it takes this time around is that Michael is angry because his opinion about Elly's job has been declared to be selfish and a risk to his mother's freedom and happiness; this, as we've seen, is as accurate, generous and respectful of his feelings as the presumption that April wanted Mike and his family to freeze and die so she could be selfish and have a room to herself.

As I stated earlier, Elly decided sight unseen to pack Mike off to Vancouver in the hopes that they would subject him to the same parenting she both hated and wishes to emulate. The idea seems to have been that two months of what she perceived as being arbitrary brutality because she has never wanted to admit that she behaved far worse than Mike ever did growing up would make him soooooo grateful to be home where he is safe that he'd roll over and do whatever she told him.

Sadly for her, her clever plan collided with the disappointing reality of Jim and Marian treating Mike like a human being instead of a chaos-loving monster who wanted to eat Elly's happiness. Since this meant that Mom and Dad failed Elly, she and John had to find a better set of people so that their children would finally admit that they're selfish monsters who had no legitimate right to expect to be clothed, fed and housed no matter how many indulgent and silly people told Daddy "Look here, you stupid four-eyed (expletive deleted)!! Those children are helpless so you gotta take care of them no matter how much it cramps your style." Thus, they hit on sending them to a man who made all the right noises: Danny Cruikshank, bearded road-apple, professional hayseed and all-around condescending shitbag.