Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Let's Do the Time Warp Again...And Again...And Again...
Like most strips, Sally Forth is both stuck in time's frozen pond and yet unmoored from its rocky shores. (How's THAT for a confusing metaphor?). In fact, one look at the funny pages would make it appear as if every comic character was playing out his or her own version of The Picture of Dorian Gray, replete with all the allusions to the Aesthetic Movement, Faustian bargains, gothic horror and hedonism one expects to find in both Oscar Wilde's classic novel and Drabble.
This very time paradox in turn causes numerous narrative inaccuracies. Just like The Simpsons--in which Homer and Marge's dating period is first introduced to the strains of Steve Miller's "The Joker" and last explored to the tune of Bush's "Glycerine"--The Forths are blessed and cursed with a backstory that can constantly be rewritten but never be dependable. Sometimes that's freeing while other times it can be confusing to both author and reader.
Hence today's strip. Sally Forth first appeared in newspapers in 1982. Of course, since Sally says they have been living in the house for ten years, that means they actually moved in sometime in 1972. Which means, naturally, that Ted and Sally are in their seventies and Hilary is a 46-year-old twice-divorced mother of three who just can't lay off the sauce and has a weakness for bad men and good odds at the craps table.
Update: For more on the nebulous time zone that is the comics pages, check out Yellojkt's incisive and hilariously invective Comic Strip Temporal Dynamics.