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  • Lance Mannion
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I thought at some point over the years you had said you were into model trains...

Ralph Hitchens

Thank God someone is addressing the Important Issues Of Our Time! Seriously, I've been wondering about that strip (FBOFW), only having picked up on it in recent years. Certainly she painted the pilot as being a self-absorbed asshole, which, being a pilot myself, is something I can relate to in some degree. But thanks, Lance, for giving me the backstory on Elizabeth and Anthony; maybe Ms. Johnston will pull a rabbit out of her hat and have that dream marriage crash and burn.

Meanwhile, Trudeau soldiers on, aging his characters not only gracefully (if irregularly), but with a barbed and wholly revealing perspective on the strange realities of contemporary life. One thing that has always surprised me is how devastatingly accurate Trudeau is about things military. Despite never having served, he knows and cares far more than most of you civilians.


Er. I may be willing to accept my assignment, but you need to define it more clearly. I'm supposed to figure out how old characters in Gasoline Alley would be if the strip aged its characters accurately? Is the strip still being written, for cryin' out loud?

I'd rather think of Apartment 3-G, if it's all the same to you. Whoever that artist was, he could draw legs.


Hi Lance, long-time lurker, rare poster.
Another website for the blonde that dissects FBOFW is the a href=""foobiverse journal.

I used to be a fan and returned to the cartoon as a comforting old shoe. but in the last year it has become just wretched.

Anthony also is an awful character because of his self-absorption. He visibly pines after Liz at his own New Year's party soon after his marriage and hits on her right after "saving" her from a rape.

But I like your analysis that she's just reliving John and Ellie in a new generation, over and over.


She's going back to the beginning again, but not figuratively through Elizabeth and Anthony. From a press release on her site: "Calling the next phase of her comic strips "new-runs," Lynn Johnston announced that beginning Monday, Sept. 1, her immensely popular "For Better or For Worse" will start over again. Using new comic strips drawn in the style she used 29 years ago when the Patterson family first appeared on comic pages, Johnston will begin retelling their story from the beginning, eventually blending at least half of the classic original comic strips with new material." So I guess this wedding was the ending.


Here’s what might make the strip interesting again. I don’t know if you know this but Lynn’s husband, the model for Jon, left her last year for another woman. If she has the nerve to do it, Jon having an affair and walking out on Elly would provide the drama the strip needs. Lynn’s the writer after all – she can make Jon as big a heel as she wants to, get all the kids lined up on her side, make the other woman a bitch and even get Jon begging to come back. Instead she’s got this icky passive-aggressive thing going where she’s trying to relive her initial romance with Jon through Liz and Anthony, the most unconvincing romantic couple since Anakin and Padme.


Right on, Lance. I've been reading this comic daily since I started reading comics. I have a hard time cutting out favorites, going cold turkey. It's about time for me to stop reading this turkey, though.


People who used to watch the 80s prime-time soap Dynasty will recall the Moldavian Wedding Massacre, which is how I desperately want FOOB to end. Alas....

It's also worth noting that both Michael and Elizabeth have managed to end up with their grammar school sweethearts; both live very close to home (actually, Michael literally lives there, having bought the ancestral Patterson house). What was a kind of amusing punchline at the end of that movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", when the married couple end up living next door to the bride's parents, seems to be what Lynn Johnston genuinely believes should be the case.

I wonder how April would have turned out, had Johnston kept the strip going. I suppose she'd grow up, live close to home, and marry that kid she's in the band with.

(I also loved how Michael got a big enough advance on his first novel that he could quit his job and become a "full time writer". Gahhh!!!)


I haven't been reading this for a while - the re-run strips finished if off, though bringing Elizabeth home was probably where it stopped being worth caring about. Though or a long time, Liz was the focus of most of the melodrama, being buffeted and abused by life - and men - literally. There was that year she spent living with a guy - who was cheating on her, or maybe worse. Wikipedia says she insisted on having her own bedroom, but these are consenting adults here.... It was always sort of an odd story line - on one hand, her life was a series of miseries and failures and disappointments, on the other - she had a life outside the family, outside any family - she was independent, interesting, involved in the wider world - you kept rooting for her. You couldn't root for Michael - ever time things looked tough, someone offered to publish one of his books or give him a house or something... there's hope for April, since she's young enough not to be pushed around so much, but... When the strip brought Elizabeth back hoe, it felt like she was giving up.

Mike Berry

Another thing that drives me crazy about FBOFW is that nobody in the strip knows how to use birth control. "I don't know how it happened!!" was Elly's refrain when Michael was conceived. And even though she's a licensed pharmacist, Deanna said the same thing about Meredith (though there's a suggestion that the pregnancy wasn't as accidental as she let on to her spouse, which is even worse).


Geez, For Better Or Worse?

Why not just read Curtis and really go off the deep end?

And you'll notice the only real sex life any of the kids have is the gas station owner (who apparently was so successful he now owns the Sunoco Canada Shale Oil division), who was pumping out babies like they were, well, sperm in a gay bathhouse.


Lance, did you know that she's basically bringing the strip to an end? I just saw this article in the Washington Post:

How's that for a weird coincidence?

James K.

It was Warren the pilot, not Paul the cop, who showed up unexpectedly at her door.

Elizabeth did live with her boyfriend Eric (who later cheated on her) for a time, although they supposedly had separate bedrooms.

Anyway, I agree that the strip is awful, but I thought those two points should be corrected.


Uh, why are you SO concerned with the sex lives of imaginary characters? :P

I just plain HATE the whole comic strip and the entire cast, including little Princess April Patterson, who happens to be the cartoonist's maternal fantasy. :P

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