Thursday, September 27, 2007
"Mother, Oh God, Mother! Blood! Blood!"
Ever since it became apparent that Sally's Mom Laura might be spending some time at Casa Forth, the emails have been pouring in. Some are rather enthusiastic:
"Sally’s Mom is moving in!!! Yes!"
Others not so favorable:
"Don't let that bitch step into their house."
Unlike the initially abrasive Faye--who most readers welcomed with open arms because she gave voice to their own problems with the characters and strip--Sally's Mom has proved a far more divisive character. Detractors feel her presence lessens Sally and Ted's stature as adults, makes the Forths come off as helpless and reminds them of their own unpleasant interactions with their folks. "Friends of Laura" (F.O.L.) liken her withering remarks and "in-your-face humanity" in an otherwise genial strip to that of a nice, bracing shower of pure acid and regard Laura as proof that they're not the only ones who can't get through a phone conversation with their parents without screaming into the palm of their hand or hammering their own knee to divert the anguish. The end result is a significant readership schism, one so troubling and unsettling that it can only be resolved with the aid a quickie online poll.
So, dear reader, I ask you, "How should the current story arc play out?"
1. Laura moves into the apartment over the Forths' garage, starts referring to Ted and Sally as "Mr. and Mrs. F" and--during a very special week--manages to completely reassemble her motorcycle despite being completely blind.
2. Laura moves in to help the Forths raise their new child, a caricature of Jonathan Winters that ages backwards.
3. Laura gets shot at a gas station while waving to her grandchild seated in the Forths' SUV. Laura drops to the pavement and the car rolls over her head.
4. Laura moves in with the Forths and proceeds to close-out each week's story line with a Groucho Marx impersonation, telling some old joke about yet another uncle and complaining to the constantly visiting "sweathogs" about Sally's "world famous tuna casserole."
5. Laura moves in with the Forths only for us to learn that not only was the entire comic strip the product of a mentally-handicapped child's imagination, but that the mentally-handicapped child was, in actuality, a character in the alternate-universe diary Roseanne was writing in the final episode of her series, only for Bob Newhart to wake up from that dream next to Suzanne Pleshette...who was, in truth, time traveler Sam Beckett, who sadly just had found out that not only was he never going to leap back into his own body but that he was, in fact, Number One.
Remember, your decision could impact tens of readers (20 is a plural of "ten") in over three (but under five) newspapers across the globe (by which I mean Baltimore and Reykjavik). So choose wisely!