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Headscratchers / For Better or for Worse

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  • Having looked back at some of the old comics that some of the "new-runs" are based on, I've come to the conclusion that the writer is actively retconning Papa Patterson into an uncaring, irresponsible idiot, presumably because the man he was based on left her. That being the case, should we therefore assume that she's come to the conclusion that Liz's marriage to Anthony was a mistake? After all, Papa Patterson was the one who pushed it so strongly.
    • But Elly pushed it too, making it one of the rare things they saw eye-to-eye on. There's even a strip showing April fretting over the notion of Anthony and Liz cheating on their wife/boyfriend while Elly and John celebrate in the background — and since April's The Un-Favourite, readers aren't meant to agree with her.
    • Even in the original versions of those early strips, John was often chauvinistic, insensitive, and sometimes borderline stupid. She really didn't have to retool them very much to make him unlikeable! (You could make a case that this is Early-Installment Weirdness, as he was a very different character from the mid-80s onward.)
  • Why a realtime comic? Just why? She could've stretched out time like Marvel does, but no, she has to attempt realtime.
    • It started off based loosely on her own family; she aged the characters along with them.
    • Because she liked the idea of a realtime comic?
    • Because the idea of a real-time comic was rare at that time? What's wrong with doing that?
    • Realtime isn't a flaw. It's pretty much part of the premise; what makes it what it is. It's the execution that bugs me.
    • Putting the strip into realtime was probably the best idea Lynn Johnston ever had.
    • How many other newspaper comics actually had time progress in real-time? Yeah.... I didn't think so.... that's one of the reasons the strip stood out. it took how long until Funky Winkerbean actually started moving?
  • Why are the characters so often drawn with long, flat heads? It's so ugly.
    • Art Evolution Gone Horribly Wrong? What bugs me about that is how starkly that style stands out with the reruns.
    • To expand on that: Why are most of the adult female characters so frumpy? Especially Ellie. Middle age is hardly "one foot in the grave" anymore, so why does Elly have to be so drawn so unattractively and act so old? The only attractive one is Therese - oh wait -she's the evil career woman who didn't want to have a baby!
      • This is probably a reflection of how Johnston feels about herself — Elly reflected her own personality and appearance. Though oddly, Johnston never looks anywhere NEAR as overweight as she acts like she is. She says she's overweight in real life, but she looks like any other older lady, and looks actually kind of thin for her age. So... low self-esteem is the answer, I guess?
  • Johnston feared and loathed the idea of her second husband cheating on her. In the strip, Elly fretted about the idea of John cheating on her despite all evidence that he was completely faithful. Eventually, Johnston found out that he HAD cheated on her. Yet when Anthony emotionally cheats on his wife, openly longing for another woman, we're supposed to feel sorry for him and believe that Therese deserved it? What?!
    • And on that same subject, what about how Anthony pleads for Liz to "wait for me", yet Therese is evil for getting a divorce? Just how else was that situation supposed to be resolved, huh? Did he expect Liz to wait until one of them DIED? Or was Therese just supposed to wait for Anthony, mister Passive-Aggressive Pushover himself, to ante up and file for divorce first?
    • Johnston's just blind to her own faults. After all, Therese was one of those horrible liberated females... surely no one could ever view a proper woman like her that way. A lot of people are that way.
  • Why does Lynn Johnston think that making some of the characters blink will add "animation" to the strip?
    • Technically it does add animation, as the eyes are being animated to blink. That's all the animation it added, though, and it had the side effect of being startling at first, then kinda creepy afterwards. The real question is why she felt the need to add any kind of animation to the strips at all.
  • Micheal and Deanna's respective careers as a freelance writer and a pharmacist. Doing freelance work doesn't exactly bring a steady income, especially for supporting a family on. Pharmacists actually make a lot of money. There is something wrong with this picture, but considering the sexist views of the comic, I probably shouldn't be surprised by this.
    • Worse, in the epilogue strip that reveals the characters' futures, it's stated that Deanna gives up being a pharmacist to start a "small sewing school". That would likely reduce her income quite a bit.
  • What kind of parent actively encourages their child to break up a marriage? Even an unhappy one, much less one with a new baby. It's a bit jarring, considering the overall socially conservative tone. Good old fashioned values are great...for anyone who isn't a Patterson. Really, pretty much the whole Blandthony storyline, but a few parts stick out. Elizabeth leaves Mtigwaki for him; him leaving Milborough for her, or the two of them moving, is not an option. Even though his generic accounting job shouldn't be too hard to pick up anywhere, but teaching positions are much harder to find. Johnston tries to fix it by making Liz homesick. Really? Who gets homesick for suburban Toronto? And that's not knocking Toronto, could easily replace with, say, Aurora, Colorado or Plano, Texas. They don't even move to the actual city; hell, even a DIFFERENT suburb.
    • YMMV, but sometimes two people SHOULDN'T stay together. Even with a kid, especially since the unhappy marriage would set a bad example.
    • Oh, no question, but that wasn't the point. I meant the parents' reaction. "Yay, our daughter's a homewrecker!"
    • But don't forget, Anthony has no hoooomme!
  • In the fridge section, it says that Elizabeth was assaulted by Howard and no charges against him were pressed. Isn't that kinda terrible, the woman was almost raped and she got no legal help? I haven't read the series mostly just saw the cartoon so could someone explain this to me? Did they plug in a PSA for RAINN?
    • Anthony talked her out of pressing charges, ostensibly so he could get her safely home to her parents sooner and she could tell them what happened... though instead of doing just that, he proceeded to take her to the park and dump his Drama Bomb on her. Word of God is she never intended to have Howard charged for anything, and was surprised people actually wanted her to address what happened after the Near-Rape Experience, so the trial was purely fanservice.
    • Anthony didn't talk Liz out of pressing charges, but on the other hand he didn't do anything to facilitate it either. When he caught Howard assaulting Liz, he grabbed him and ordered him to apologize and go away. This was poor judgment on Anthony's part — he should have kept Howard there and had Liz call the police to arrest him there — but most likely it was the result of failing to think clearly in a crisis rather than a deliberate decision. Liz did eventually file charges against Howard.
    • Charges were pressed. He was put on trial and it was discovered he had attempted to rape other women. But he got off easy in the end with a two year sentence, which Liz naturally wasn't pleased about.