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Bill Roper's Journal
Running Toward the Happy Endings 
26th-Jul-2006 02:41 pm
If you've read For Better Or For Worse for a while, you're probably aware that the strip will be ending before too long when Lynn Johnston's current contract with the syndicate ends and she retires. So I've been watching carefully as the author moves the characters around the board like chess pieces to get everyone into the position she intends to leave them in when all is said and drawn.

Elly's sold the store and is thinking about a comfortable retirement with John. Of course, when April heads off for college, the Patterson homestead will be much too large for them. But that's ok, because Michael and Deanna are going to be in desperate need of a place to move into with their two children before too long, not just for space, but to get away from the neighbors from hell, even if it means giving up the landlord from heaven. So I expect that they'll be buying the place eventually as John and Elly move to a condo or apartment.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth is -- I'm pretty sure! -- about to be dumped by her boyfriend, Paul, in favor of the new teacher and old friend of his up in Mtigwaki. Heck, he didn't want to move to Toronto anyway. And Anthony, Elizabeth's old boyfriend, has now been thorougly dumped by his cheating wife, along with baby daughter. In contrast to the previous time when they spoke, Anthony's now got his head on straight -- I recall the reader complaints at the time -- so the previous barriers to their relationship are all about to go bye-bye.

And today, Elizabeth's off to Gordon's car dealership, because she needs a car. Of course, Anthony's working for Gordon, so I'm just betting they'll be running into each other shortly.

Knight takes pawn, check.
26th-Jul-2006 07:54 pm (UTC)
I totally had no idea she was planning to end the strip. I guess much like Calvin and Hobbes all good things must come to an end. But now that you've laid things out some of the random threads do seem to make more sense.
26th-Jul-2006 07:56 pm (UTC)
I didn't know she was retiring, either. Damn. Along with Doonesbury, it's one of the very best written strips ever.
26th-Jul-2006 07:57 pm (UTC)
Knight takes pawn, check.

Yeah, I've been waiting for that one for a while too. Probability's increasing... :)
26th-Jul-2006 08:16 pm (UTC)
Mmm. We'll see. It's a nice satifying ending to the strip, but I'm not too sure about that Lizard Breath and Anthony.
26th-Jul-2006 08:19 pm (UTC)
FBOFW gets a *lot* of discussion in rec.arts.comics.strips, btw. You might enjoy some of the threads there.
27th-Jul-2006 01:18 am (UTC)
I certainly did before I got sucked into LJ and stopped reading Usenet. :)
26th-Jul-2006 08:35 pm (UTC)
Okay, wait a sec: syndication in papers may be ending, but she's happily doing all sorts of new things in the online incarnation of FBoFW:

They've just added (minimal) animation, and there has been no announcement there of ending things!

I would be SO disappointed if Elizabeth were to end up with Anthony! After all her adventures and growth, to end up with the terribly vanilla childhood sweetheart would be sad. And she now has firm connections to Mtigwaki -- I think she's destined to go back! Whether to her police officer or to her helicopter pilot, though ....? ;]

I think you may be right about the disposition of the family house, though ...
26th-Jul-2006 08:49 pm (UTC)
I quite like the minimal animation. It is well done, although it will be years before artists figure out how to integrate animation into a strip format without being distracting.

I'm just upset because it is a strip that my mother reads and I read. It has been many years since I even lived in the same corner of the country as her and it gives us something pleasant to chat about. She doesn't watch the same movies or read the same books, but we share the strip. I wonder how many families have grown up with the Pattersons as a "neighbor family" they can always chat about.
26th-Jul-2006 09:05 pm (UTC)
I didn't realise she was stopping either. Yes, on that basis, it is all believably heading for closure. Anthony's drawn so old though. I'll have to read that back story when I see oreouk's collection this weekend.
26th-Jul-2006 10:00 pm (UTC)
His moustache is just too unflattering. She should cave and give him a nice sexy beard ;-)
26th-Jul-2006 10:15 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so totally betting E and A end up together. Her parents have been wanting that to happen for ever. Lots of 'I do like Anthony' and 'He's such a nice young man' kind of comments. I have to say I pretty much follow Bill's analysis of where things are going. But I agree about the 'tache - it should go.

Veterinary school for April? The animal loving arc of her life isn't as prominent these days, but it's still not out of the running.
1st-Aug-2006 12:29 pm (UTC)
And now right on target she raises that arc for April again. So I think the wrap up process is accelerating.
26th-Jul-2006 10:32 pm (UTC)
Sounds lke things are moving along nicely since I stopped reading (because I could no longer get synicated notifications on when the strip updated).
26th-Jul-2006 10:35 pm (UTC)
I hadn't heard that For Better or for Worse was winding up. Wah! I'll miss it. Alot. I do like your summation. I think that Elizabeth should wind up with Anthony, the whole Paul thing was just WAY to contrived. I don't suppose you know when "before to long" is eh?
27th-Jul-2006 01:18 am (UTC)
I found a reference that says the contract ends in 2007.
27th-Jul-2006 12:13 am (UTC) - Doesn't Sound Like it to me ......!
According to the News Bites page on the FBoFW web site (see my other post up there, *waves hand vaguely upwards on this page):

"It is our pleasure to hear fans express their enjoyment and love of both the strip and Lynn. It was an exciting week! We look forward to continue building alliances between companies and the Patterson family."

That's dated last month. I'd say that sounds like they have no plans to end the strip just yet, wouldn't you? ;]
27th-Jul-2006 01:17 am (UTC)
Contract's up in 2007 apparently.

If you scroll down the page here, you'll find the article that I remember having read at one time or another. It's always possible that she's changed her mind, but...
27th-Jul-2006 02:31 am (UTC)
Okay, yes, now that you point it out, I do recall something about a degenerative medical condition, from a press release a few years back. It may very well be that the mention of actively pursuing business alliances (that was from a trade show last month) could refer simply to continued distribution of collection-books and potential movies -- but it doesn't say. I suppose all will be revealed in time, though .....
27th-Jul-2006 01:26 am (UTC)
I SO don't want Lizardbreath to end up with Anthony. He's such a spineless dweeb, for to dull for her.
27th-Jul-2006 01:29 am (UTC)
I think people just have this unreasoning prejudice against accountants.

(Said the MBA... :) )
27th-Jul-2006 03:52 am (UTC)
I've rad it for years, and get all the books. And I enjoy the website, although Í only look at it occasionally. I'd read somewhere about her planning to retire, but thought it was supposed to have been by now already, so thought maybe she'd changed her mind. Still, your summation makes a lot of sense, and maybe she'll keep the website going with updates on a slowerpaced schedule.
I'm of two minds about Anthony. I think they were always meant to end up together, but he looks so much older than than Elizabeth! But she seems really attached to Paul .....
27th-Jul-2006 01:13 pm (UTC)
i just love this strip...i hope you're right about elizabeth and anthony...
27th-Jul-2006 03:25 pm (UTC)
right on schedule, there's Anthony...
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