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Recap: Penny And Aggie Hunger
"There's a need for those who just like to keep things simple, who aren't as concerned with self-actualization as with what others want."
— Dr. Edith Walper

This brief arc focuses on Michelle's character, as it stands several months into her recovery from an eating disorder. An unseen narrator observes that Michelle isn't "deep," and seeks only "unconditional approval," even being willing at times to fake being someone she isn't, for that purpose. The scene shifts to Penny, at the mall with Michelle and Aggie, trying to enlist Aggie's help in getting out of her promise to volunteer with her at the eating disorder clinic, but Aggie won't have it. So, as the narrator observes that being "not deep" has its advantages (see page quote), Penny keeps her promise, albeit with obvious discomfort around the patients.

As they leave the clinic, the reason for Penny's unease is revealed: guilt over the possibility that she contributed to her friend's disorder by always talking about carbs and jogging. Michelle assures her this wasn't the case, and adds that while it'd be easier to go on blaming others, she knows she has it better than most of the clinic patients. The narrator wraps up by observing that while Michelle's future won't be easy, she's already realized that one can lead a fulfilling life in listening to and helping others with problems one's experienced personally. The narrator is revealed in the last panel to be Michelle's psychologist, Dr. Edith Walper, who, given her thin, somewhat haggard appearance, may herself have survived an eating disorder.

Tropes

  • Call Back: The opening strip references Michelle's sucking up to Penny in this strip from The Best of Enemies and, less directly, Michelle's false-bravado seduction of Stan in Second Looks.
  • Flat Character: Subverted. Walper describes Michelle as "not Silent Bob" and "not deep." However, the arc, by noting the potential strengths and advantages of such a personality, and showing them in Michelle's selfless volunteering and acceptance of responsibility for her own actions, renders her an even deeper, more relatable and human character than before.
  • Guilt Complex: Penny blames herself for her friend's disorder, when in fact, as Michelle puts it, "You...saved me."
  • Irony: Aggie uses verbal irony when Penny tells her to stop judging her for her reluctance to visit the clinic. "I'd never judge you," she says, followed by a sly half-smile, because they both know Aggie used to judge Penny all the time when they were enemies.
  • It's All About Me: Discussed. Michelle, with gentle humour, disabuses Penny of the notion that she's to blame for her illness:
    Oh, no. You made me exercise. Someone call the bitch police. Not everything's about you, you know.
  • Literal-Minded: When a clinic staff person thanks Michelle for her help with the words, "You're the best," Michelle tells Penny, "I...I've never been the best before! I shouldn't be so happy, it's so unfair to all the other patients-turned-interns..." However, given her previous self-esteem issues, this comes across as a poignant, rather than a comically delusional, misunderstanding.
  • Narrator All Along: Dr. Edith Walper, Michelle's therapist.
Penny And Aggie The New Reality Part OneRecap/Penny and AggiePenny And Aggie Stickjocks

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