For Better or for Worse

Lynn Johnston Concludes Her Story

FBOFWThe final daily For Better or for Worse strip was published today. If you read the strip in the Toronto Star, you'll see this strip in tomorrow's paper. This concludes Lynn Johnston's 29 year story about the Pattersons in fictitious Milborough, Ontario.

Forever I assumed the story would end with the words "for better or for worse", but I assumed they'd be said by Elizabeth at her wedding. I'm guessing everyone thought that so Lynn threw a little curve ball by having Iris say them about her and Jim. I was also pretty sure Jim would pass away, but as we learn in the final Sunday strip, he lives another two years.

I just realized I have a whole bunch of For Better or for Worse entries so it's time they get their own category. On the day this 29-year ritual ends for me, someone who started reading them daily only a few years after they debuted, I introduce you to my Foob entries.

For Better of For Worse

Update: I went downstairs to check out my copy of today's Star. That let me see what happened to the characters. It seems, everything works out for the Pattersons. Elly and John retire, Grandpa Jim dies at 89, Elizabeth teaches and has a son, Michael signs a film contract, Deanna begins a sewing school and April works with the Calgary Stampede.

This final insight into For Better or for Worse reminds me a great deal of the final ten minutes of the Six Feet Under series finale. I loved that show and thought the final ten minutes were stunning. April is the Claire of FBOFW and the only difference is Six Feet Under showed us the death of each member of the Fisher family where Lynn wisely stuck to the life. To see the final ten minutes of Six Feet Under and that amazing scene, shoot over to this entry.

It's over.


Update #2: It seems we Toronto Star readers didn't get the whole story! They edited the final destiny strip for space so my scan above doesn't show the first row. Below is the actual unedited final new strip of For Better or for Worse.


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For Better or for Worse Winding Down

fbofwLynn Johnston's comic strip, "For Better or for Worse", is winding down. She says the larger For Better or for Worse story will wrap up at the end of August, and the final new Sunday strip will reveal what the characters get up to in the years to come.

I've written quite a bit about this strip as it's the only one I read daily and I've been reading it for almost 25 years. I'll never forget the heroic death of Farley and the controversy surrounding Lawrence's homosexuality. Lynn wrote a touching, interesting story and I'll be sorry to see it end.

I'm wondering what that final Sunday strip will tell us about the characters we've seen age these past few decades. I'm sure John will retire and work on his trains, Elly will enjoy her grandchildren and see her father pass away, Michael will become a successful author, Liz will enjoy married life, become a school principal and have children of her own and April will study Veterinary Medicine at the University of Guelph.

We'll see how I did.

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Lynn Johnston Makes Me Feel Dumb

fbofwToday's For Better of For Worse strip is sweet and all, but I didn't get it. I simply didn't know what mucilage meant.

I need you to be honest with me. Should I have known was mucilage means? I suppose the real question I'm asking is, without cheating, do you know what mucilage is?


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Has Jim Passed Away?

fbofwThe Leaf game was breaking my heart, so I pulled out today's Toronto Star and checked out For Better Or For Worse. The Toronto Star runs the Sunday strip on Saturdays, so this strip hasn't appeared online yet. I could be wrong, but I think Jim just passed away.

Jim was just foreshadowing his imminent demise by suggesting this may have been his last Christmas. Then, surrounded by friends and his loving Iris on New Year's Eve, there's this:

Has Jim Passed Away?

For the record, my wife doesn't think Jim passes in this strip. What make me think he's gone is the look Iris gives him in the second last frame. It's her realizing he's gone while the party sings "and who knows when we'll be all together again". Then, the final frame with Jim in the same peaceful pose and Iris giving him a kiss and silent message "Happy New Year, Jim".

This could easily be Jim having fallen asleep during the party, but wouldn't this make for a wonderful death? I'm hoping Lynn has finally let Elly's dad go.

Is Jim dead or just sleeping?

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The FOOBiverse

fbofwI'm a For Better or For Worse fan, and I recently discovered a great blog for fans of the strip. It's called The FOOBiverse! and every day the strip is discussed in a very snarky and hilarious manner. It's the kind of blog I wish I had started.

Speaking of For Better or For Worse, Grandpa Jim had another stroke and is in bad shape. Lynn Johnston is doing a hybrid of old and new strips these days, and it's working out well. We just revisited a younger Grandpa Jim from the days when Michael was a baby and then we came back to the current day to see him suffer another stroke. The juxtaposition of the younger, vibrant Jim with the unresponsive, elderly Jim was pretty jolting, and damn effective.

Note to Self: You may feel fit right now in your youth, as if you can take on the world and accomplish anything, but one day, if you're lucky, you will get very old and die.

TGIF everyone!

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FBOFW Update

fbofwWe have a For Better Of For Worse update.

The strip isn't going away, but Johnston is scaling back. Next month, she will start running older material, which will occasionally be interspersed with new strips. She eases into it beginning today as older daughter Elizabeth, just reunited with her old high-school flame Anthony, reminisces with a friend in flashbacks about how Anthony went through a bad marriage and now is divorced.

"I'm looking at this as a real challenge so that I can have some time," Johnston said from her studio in Corbeil, Ontario. " ... I'm 60 and I want to travel and there's other things I want to do."

As a result, the characters, who have aged in real time over the past three decades -- a rarity in the comic-strip world - will put the brakes on the advancing years. They all will stay the same age they are now.

So that's it, the Pattersons will no longer age. For as long as I can remember, they've been ageing as I've aged, and now they'll be frozen in time. I'm surprised at how this little thing saddens me.

What maddens me is the recent focus on Elizabeth and Anthony. We saw this coming a mile away and now Lynn Johnston is driving this syrupy drivel home full throttle in every panel.

It's still the best damn comic strip out there.

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April and Eva Perform Everybody's Different

fbofwI've written about For Better Or For Worse in the past. It's the only comic I read daily, and today's strip has a new layer we could only dream about back in the day.

April and Eva are performing a duet at this telethon and along with the lyrics that appear in the strip we're presented with an MP3 of their song. It's a brave new world, and Lynn Johnston is all over it.

I know you're anxious to hear this masterpiece. Here's April and Eva performing "Everybody's Different".

Bring the noise.

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Nobody Saw This Coming

fbofwI'm shocked. I checked in on The Pattersons this morning and caught Elizabeth and Anthony sharing a kiss. I just didn't see this coming, did you?

Here's the For Better or For Worse strip, if you missed it. And yes, I'm being sarcastic, if you missed that. The final frame in the final strip will be the words "for better or for worse" at Elizabeth and Anthony's wedding.

You can take it to the bank.

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She Who Laughs Last, Laughs Best

fbofwI only read one comic strip on a daily basis. I check in on the Patterson's and see what's new in the For Better or For Worse universe.

I'm confused by today's strip. Read it below and we'll continue this discussion around the bend.

To laugh or to cry?

April and Elizabeth are clearly having a little sibling tiff while both rush to get to where they need to be. April loses it and calls Elizabeth "LARD BUTT!" and then I get awfully confused.

Lizzy is giving April the evil eye while April cries and says "She who laughs last, laughs best." What exactly does that mean in this context? Who's laughing? Why is April crying? Did Lizzy smack her in the head in a frame that got deleted? Am I missing something?


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Lynn Johnston Not Retiring

newspaperWe already knew Lynn Johnston was freezing the For Better or For Worse characters' ages next fall, but we now have more details. The strip isn't actually being retired, there will be new material that would include revisiting storylines from the past and expanding on them. Everyone will stop aging, however.

That Star article discusses Elizabeth's three suitors: former high school boyfriend Anthony, new love interest Paul, a policeman, and Warren, a helicopter pilot. It also reveals Warren's full name, Warren Blackwood. I recently wrote about another Warren Blackwood.

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