As I write this, I do so in the knowledge that it's been pretty much ten years since we had to watch April make an ugly fool of herself not admitting to what an armpit Becky's life actually is. While we see a damaged person who craves human contact, the deluded ding-dong April has it in her head that a lonely existence where she's a walking, talking object lesson for every envious jerk who wants to console him or herself with the idea that people doing better than they are actually envy the also-ran muttering about putting on one pants leg on at a time is actually exalted and happy and Becky actually is having a great time really because that's what happens on television.
The reason that I mention this is that it's the justification she uses for her unpleasant habit of lashing out at anyone she perceives as having betrayed her. It isn't that she's got a lot of rage and jealousy and envy stored up ready to fling at someone who pisses her off, it's that someone is making fun of her even though they aren't. Eventually, people will probably stop engaging with her for fear that saying the wrong thing will lead to insane accusations and years of broken friendships.
As I said yesterday, Mike and April behave in very similar ways. We have the need to fit in, the fear that everyone expects them to just sit down, be quiet and accept that they're bit players in their own lives and the very real need to want Elly to admit they did her a favor by being born. The difference seems to be in how they handle the concept of responisibility for their own actions.
In Mike's case, he seems to regard being told that he's responsible for the bad things that happen to him as a sort of evil lie whose purpose is to force him to admit that yes, Lizzie has to be carried around on a litter and no, he can never be right or happy because no one can love him because doing so would break the world or something. What this means is that by trying to allay a fear that he'd just run over Lizzie if he wasn't held back, Elly stupidly gave the world another stubborn idiot who thought that the world is plotting his ruin because it hates to see him happy.
Another way in which her being terrible at talking to children messes with the way children deal with conflict is that she's got an older daughter who sees herself as a helpless pawn in eternity's vast scheme surrounded by cruel people who want to make her miserable by telling her that her actions have consequences when she knows that they're fated to happen. Lizzie's fear of being punished and thus not having her DADDY love her no more has given the world a passive twit who blames everyone but herself for her troubles.
The same cannot be said for the Martian because of the very stupid way in which her idiot grandmother tried to convince her that she didn't kill Farley by being naughty. As the book "All About April" tells us, Carrie seems to have meant well but her stupid, sappy gibberish about how Farley gave up his life for her has convinced the child that yessir, she did kill a dog who was so old and crippled up, a stiff breeze would have taken him out of the picture. To this day, she tells herself that if only she had listened to garbled orders from imbecile old people who are crap at explaining things to kids, he would probably still be alive today despite that whole "his heart would have exploded if April were watching Love Boat instead of wandering into ravines" thing I mentioned. This exaggerated belief in her power over the world not only led to her taking her silly rivalry with Becky too damned seriously, it's why she can't be told that she didn't will a tree onto a house.
As I said in the potted bios, it's obvious that all the characters in the Battle of the Bands series would have different expectations of the end result. Although she doesn't realize it, April wants a sort of vindication to finally prove to inattentive parents that she was always worth paying attention to as well as to prove to Becky that she can't steal everything out of her life just because she's cuter and people like her better, Becky wants to end a career that doesn't fill the void on a high note and give her pal a clue by four about how insecure she is and how rotten her parents are, Gerald wants to put paid to a pointless row meant to enmesh his friends in John and Elly's family politics and the Pattersons want to rid themselves of a means of escape from sick fealty to two boomer assholes who confuse having to wait more than five seconds for the fulfillment of a desire with genuine sacrifice. It seems to me that no matter who wins the contest, only Becky and Gerald would get what they want in a world where right and wrong have their usual meaning. This is because April doesn't know what she really needs and John and Elly should not only be prevented from fulfilling their agenda, they should also become even more scorned than they presently are.
Since April wants the wrong thing for the wrong reason because she's got it in her head that her parents would actually become wonderful people instead of the fetid shits they are, she's going to end up having to love what she gets: a final reminder that Elly will always be filled with anger and hatred because she has to do things she doesn't want to like parent when she doesn't want to and John will always be a closed-minded jerk who jealously protects what little power he has. Since she can't have parents who don't see her as anything other than an imposition, she'll have to learn to love being a Candace or a Weed who loves being well away from them and their folly.
As for said worthless parents, since a new creator would have no loyalty to John or Elly, two old fools are finally going to get a hot steaming bowl of karma dumped in their laps. The man dumping said bowl would, I should think, be Becky's dad responding strongly in the negative to John's smug commentary about how Beckers is dressed as well as Elly's jealous idiocy as to how girls with dangerous body language seek out attention from slobbering vermin like John because the alternative is her being irrationally jealous of a victim of objectification by an assbucket who needs to be God-damned gelded in public with a pair of rusty garden shears. It's bad enough that they're lousy parents who resent having to parent or that John wastes his life playing with toys like the biggest, meanest and most selfish toddler ever or that Elly is a screaming maniac. Publicly shaming someone inoffensive because of what she's wearing is going to finally expose April to the ugly truth about ugly people who aren't worth her time.
To continue on with my look at how John and Elly would be the real villains of the Battle Of The Bands series if we were to follow the strip to any extent, we'd have to look at why he sits in parking lots grumbling about having to be there for his kids. What April won't realize until years later is that John was dead set against the idea of supporting his children's interests because of a really stupid pair of coincidences that led him to fear the embarrassment that he sees as being the worst thing ever. Because he couldn't record a pageant because no one thought to have back-up batteries for a flashlight Star of Bethlehem and because he got called on forgetting to remove a lens-cap, our idiot is sure that children only do things to expose him to the ridicule that's sure to destroy what he falsely believes to be a reputation second only to God's. This misplaced dread of public humiliation also goes a long way to explaining his discomfort with the idea of his little girl "parading around on stage like some sort of hussy"; simply put, the big stiff is trying really hard not to admit to himself that the women he ogles like the disgusting slob he is ARE someone else's little girl and he's a horrible person for objectifying them SO he hides behind a double standard of shielding himself from the truth.
The other interesting thing about his discomfort relates to why it was that Greg tossed Lawrence out of the house when he got bullied into outing himself too damned early because idiot Mike thought he was being laughed at. All the bios agree that Greg's real motive was to avenge the fact that poooooooor stupid Connie was upset. It would seem that in the Foobiverse, right and wrong took a back seat to settling down a stupid woman because her favourite illusion is going away. What this means is that it might have taken John thirty years to admit it but he's finally accepted that Elly wants to be seen more as a housewife. He thus sees it as his job to make her life easier at the expense of the children who don't realize how fragile and broken she is. Just as it doesn't matter how much homework April has or how cramped her living space might be because Elly needs to be coddled, he can't see the point of having the band upset Elly because April will get over the disappointment because unlike Elly and maybe Liz, April is tough enough to get over a little discomfort.
That being said, it's probably just starting to occur to the John Patterson of 2016 that he was a big swinging dick to his kids for a selfish and stupid reason. He can't do crap-all about it and he hates to admit it but there it is, ugly and stupid as he himself is. Being a dad is more than being a walking ATM that dispenses bad advice and his sordid, ridiculous failure at the one job he had is living in his old house writing bad novels, married to a spineless twerp who ain't going nowhere and living in Calgary not talking to him.
As I said yesterday, the problem is that April's insecurity, fear and jealousy blind her to the fact that her parents are the real enemy that she has to defeat in the Battle Of The Bands. Since April is a good kid (despite what John and Elly seem to believe), she doesn't quite want to admit that they don't like her band and want her to channel her energies into the productive pursuit of paying them back for not throwing her out into the street. Since the callous nitwits can't ever admit that they had a duty of care for defenseless children because they're essentially lazy vermin, they make passive-aggressive noise about friends and fun and that sort of garbage.
While Elly and John travel the same path, what April will only have just now figured out is that they came there by different roads. While I'll get to John next, I'd like to remind you of Elly's real problem: she does not know what music is for. As history teaches us, the reason that she systematically destroyed Mike's interest in the subject was because she assumed that the point of his accomplishing things was for her to be praised for dragging him across the finish line. She clearly had an image in her mind of her being praised for his hard work and skill because she's hardwired to see things as an opportunity to be flattered and his wanting to not take things as deadly seriously as she did was seen as his wanting her to die an anonymous death. Since no one is going to praise a ghost who won't support her daughter because she hates the genre because it's popular and also because the lyrics preach the dangerous message "parents don't actually know everything", she can't see the point of the band.
We also have to contend with the fact that she tends to regard parenting itself as being this horrible imposition that fills her with anger at the time lost and hatred for the dependent children who distract her from her alleged destiny and the awful people who use the evil phrase "moral obligation" when telling her that only chickensh*t people wish there was a return bin for children when one is bored of them. Since the band is an inconvenience that reminds her that she can't simply declare victory and say that she's done being a parent just because it's a minor difficulty, she's hoping and praying that Becky humiliates April into admitting that anything that doesn't mesh with the family politics is bad.
If you want to know my personal of what became of Becky and Gerald in the last eight years since we saw them, I think that they're living a quiet, tidy life without really worrying about what John and Elly Patterson think of them. While they might joke with friends about John's vindictive fantasy about how 'turning her back on friends and fun leads inexorably to ruin and despair and being murdered with murder weapons by bikers', they don't honestly give much of a hoot because neither of them are especially ready to be pitied by boomer idjits who dare lament the fact that they don't meekly knuckle under and get enmeshed in Elly's family politics. While the April of today is aware of what really happened and what Becky really wanted, what high school senior April thought her frenemy wanted is poles apart from what she actually wanted because she got the same sort of biased information from approved sources that Liz got about Therese from a Mike who felt threatened by a girl girling up his sandbox. An honest accounting of Becky's wants and needs would thus look suspiciously similar to April's save for one entry:
Hate Sink: As long as Becky can remember, April has made no real secret of the fact that she believed deep down that just as she tried to 'steal' her pet rabbit by naming him Furgus, she would inevitably steal boyfriends and love and affection and everything and leave her to die alone and forgotten because that's the deal with being a Patterson: being a throbbing vortex of neediness and defeatism. Becky has by this point given up on getting her friend back but simply wants to point April to the real problem: having the sort of self-indulgent, negligent, uncaring, unfeeling and idiotic parents Butch Hartman created the show 'Fairly Oddparents' to castigate.
The problem, of course, with simply replacing Duncan and Luis in order to avoid the irritating complication of Lynn being someone's obliviously racist aunt is that it is itself somewhat racist. One is doomed either way no matter if one selects a generic white kid or one coughs up another ethnic scrappy to show how tolerant one thinks oneself to be. That being said, I would tend to think that a new creator might screw up and confuse online notoriety with merit as a character. In that spirit, I present my take on Gap-Toothed Smiley-Faced HOO!!!!! Guy:
Name: Frank Douglas.
The new guitarist for 4-Evah and Evah (thereby making it four) and Gerald's wingman, Frank has two main goals for the big battle of the bands: having a good time and making sure that some of the more ardent don't take it too personally when both they AND Becky lose.
A decent awareness of his surroundings: Frank has noticed that the artificial conflict between his pal's band and that washed-up one-hit wonder type Becky is serving to distract both sides from doing quite their best.
A decent awareness of the stakes: While Frank isn't going to slack off just because he thinks what he's doing is probably futile, he is aware that in the grand scheme of things, a low-grade pissing contest between two girls because one girl won't admit that she's jealous of the others isn't going to matter much.
Excess of candor: He tends to not make his feelings about how silly this all is much of a secret. This leads to April questioning his loyalty to her cause because she doesn't realize that smart-ass has a point.
Of course, it's not just the underacknowledged racism that made Lynn give Dawn slanted eyes that factors into how Liz 'made' Paul up because he got sick of dealing with her crazy bullshit. The upcoming mess with Greg's somehow getting a transfer to Milborough just like that is also a problem that's based on her creator's ignorance as to How Things Work. It seems to me that given how Doug probably damaged his career by moving to Hamilton in order to be a supportive husband, she seems to have somehow convinced herself that if someone loves you, he (and it's always a 'he' because for a woman to follow her man around is a defeat) should be willing to uproot himself on a dime to prove it. Since fate and faith weren't powerful enough to overcome the real world concern that Paul couldn't bounce around like an idiot merely because some flighty twit he was dating wanted it to happen, he had to be a lie in order to prove that the way Pattersons are raised is totally freaking stupid and self-serving.
The reason that I mention this is that we can somehow use this stupid belief in order to counteract the stupid belief about being with one's own kind and embracing one's heritage and keeping some stupid old white woman from having to admit that the old tribal quarrels are as obsolete as she is by the subtle masterstroke of having Duncan's dad get a better job somewhere not loaded with Patterson-worshipers. While we'll have to endure the stupid whining about how this breaks up the 'team' just before the big useless fight with the sitting duck antagonist, it'll be well worth it in order to avoid having to watch his slow deterioration into Jar-Jar [BOXCAR!!] Binks.
Before I continue on with my honest bios for this battle of the bands thing Lynn was floating, it's my distinct displeasure to remind you of one of Lynn's more annoying peculiarities: the odd belief that for some reason, men of colour needs must stay where they 'belong' because participating in the 'majority' white culture will somehow magically kill them. The first such person is, as I've said, Pablo Da Silva. While in the book "The Lives Behind The Lines", he was merely stringing Connie along about his wanting to move to Canada, her on-site Liography has it that for some reason that is probably Lynn having grown up stupid under the Red Ensign, Pablo is some sort of hothouse flower who'd die of exposure if exposed to daytime highs of minus ten Celsius. This is sort of a foreshadowing of how Paul would melt because he's made of snow and can't be part of the Pattersons' world either. Those of you who've been paying attention realize that it's also highly likely that both men made an insane demand that needn't be taken seriously: expecting Connie and Liz to give up their lives back in Ofayland and living amongst the swarthy.
This by-product of being an unreflective, paternalistic dunce growing up arrogant and short-sighted in a white settler dominion is also why she's made of Brian a Westerner who, for some reason she never goes in to, decides to marry into a foreign culture because she believes him to be embracing his heritage when he's just embracing someone who can put up with his weak bullshit. The reason that I mention this is that she's got the same thing in mind for Duncan Anderson when he meekly follows Granny back to freaking Jamaica to be with his kind, embrace his heritage and get away from stupid Caucasians like the Pattersons who say shit like that. Also, everyone knows that Hispanics are in the country illegally so that's it for Luis Refugee and maybe Cantu and Castellanos should do something about the idiot Anglo-Canadian talking like a Trumpista.
Name: Gerald Forsythe Delaney.
The eldest son of one of Gavin Caine's partners, Gerald is the band's drummer and also their driver. His goal in the Battle Of The Bands is to finally put an end to April's counter-productive and false belief that Becky is trying to destroy everyone with her fake, impossible star power.
Professionalism: Much like Becky, he thinks that the idea of treating the band like a silly hobby that should be put away like John Patterson wants is something of an insult as it implies that they're simply wasting their time on frivolity when they should be preparing to be a figure of 'dignity' like the hypocritical man-child April over-generously refers to as a father.
Awareness of Parental Opinion: Unlike April and Eva, Gerald's parents actually communicate directly with him and follow his progress. They also keep him up to speed on what people really think about the obnoxious buffoon of a dentist in the Mr Conductor costume and his insane wife.
Wide Social Circle: Unlike the relatively isolated April, Gerald has a wide circle of friends he can call on in a pinch. Since they don't subscribe to the idiotic favor bank mentality of the Patterson family, he doesn't waste his time worrying about paying people back because they've got his back.
Laddishness: Gerald is hampered by the need to be one of the boys. Like Mike Patterson before him, trying to impress the lads with his prowess and machismo makes him behave in a stupider, coarser fashion than is actually advisable.
Shortsightedness: He's not exactly what you'd call a big picture thinker and it shows. He can't quite see what he's doing to antagonize April when he shrugs off complaints about being insensitive about her beloved grandfather and to the special needs kids.
Peacemaker: While it might seem to an outside observer that Gerald's lack of patience with the one-sided hatred April and Eva feel for Becky is a positive trait to be encouraged, what we, the readers, have to realize is that the one thing keeping April from giving up like her parents want her to IS the need to defeat a straw man.