Friday, September 12, 2008

Mary Worth 312

There are some things that I don't know about, too. Like how a cupboard suddenly materializes on a kitchen wall. I plan to educate myself right away. If I could install cupboards this easily, my kitchen would be remodeled in a week. Including new tile on the floor.

I've never been particularly fond of the character Toby; however, I've never disliked her to the extent I've disliked other characters like Ian, or Mary, or any other character in this by process of elimination, she may be my favorite. At some level, I have found her to be remarkably tolerant to spend as much time as she does listening to Mary drone on and on. I know at times, I've wanted to jump off a bridge when Mary opens her mouth, but Toby will ask questions encouraging Mary to continue. Yet, I've never thought of Toby as especially stupid until this storyline. There are a couple of reasons I've felt this way: First of all, Toby has been especially stupid. Secondly, and panel two is an excellent example of this, she's starting to look dumber and dumber as well. It's wonderful when we get to watch a character evolve, even if there is no logical explanation for the evolution.


Mary, Quite Contrary said...

Well, Toby's dumbness must be starting to irritate Mary too. In that last panel, Mary looks like she wants to take that coffee cup and whack it upside Toby's head. And, who could blame her?

viscosity said...

I think the cupboard is there but it's freakishly high on the wall. Between panels 1 and 2 Mary has slid into the chair so she can menacingly threaten toby with her finger of doom. As we do so the angle of our view has dropped to below the table looking up (as evidenced by the suddenly perky flower arrangement). Hence a cupboard somewhere around the 10 foot level comes into view. It's where Mary keeps all the plastic plates for the pool party.

boojum said...


I like your spirit, kiddo. Defending the art of Mary Worth takes a certain brand of moxie.

So let's accept your theory for now. After all, it only violates the laws of physics, logic and art -- and assumes that both Mary and Toby have suddenly grown to the extent that each is at least fifteen feet tall from the waist up. Giella and Moy have strained my credulity much further than this before.

But how did the wall change color? If we're correct, and wanders can't hire Mary's cabinet installers, can I have the number of her painter?

spike said...

wanders: I first took Toby's expression in Panel II as proof positive that she really is a Stepford Wife. I now realize that there are other possibilities:

(1) The Dark Queen is causing Toby's crossed-eyed expression with the power of her finger.

(2) Toby is showing her own moxie in reacting to Mary's Pointed Finger. [Talk about names for Ska Bands!] Two days ago it was Mary who was doing the cross-eyed expression on Toby when Toby's back was turned--How déclassé! Toby, however, has no fear and faces Mary straight on with her own silly facial expression--Take that, Mary!

Mary's power is all in that finger--she seems to have conjured up a cupboard out of nothing, changed the color of the paint on the wall, possibly changed Toby's facial expression and revived those flowers on the table--unless she's decided to levitate 'em!

viscosity said...

ok ok let's take a different approach. How about if we rotate our view so we are sitting close to toby (say somewhere near to the coffee mug) and looking across the table so the new coloredwall and cabinet are in the spot which previously was all black (aka can't be bothered to draw it). I think it's chancey but by god it might work.

maryk said...

When Toby first came on the scene, she was so controversial. It has come to break my heart that this once vital woman is a shell of her former self. Is agoraphobia her next story line?

Anonymous said...

Come on people, there are extremely simple and logical explanations for the cupboards and changing wall color--light and perspective! The source and physical qualities of light have radical effects on color. For instance, take a picture of someone in a fluorescent-lit room and then two minutes later in bright sunlight, and they will look totally different in those two pictures, even though it's the same person at essentially the same time.

What's happening here is that in panel 1, the shutters, curtains, and everything else that lets in or shuts out natural light is closed. The dual fluorescent tubes in Toby's kitchen flicker away at high speed, giving the naturally light avocado walls a yellowish tint, which is softened slightly by the fact that the "beholder's eye" is above the angle of reflection.

Then, in between panels, Toby and Mary rapidly opened all the curtains and shutters and shut off the lights. The beholder's eye now views the wall from below the angle of reflection--reflection of beautiful, natural-color-revealing natural light. That's why the 70's-era avocado green is now visible.

Also, the natural light casts some shadows around the edges of the cupboards, revealing them for the first time. Everything was blended together by the harsh immediacy of those awful fluorescent lights.

Simpe, really, when you do the math and stuff.


caroline said...

Am I the only one who thinks Toby looks like a cartoon Barbie in the second panel? If I could figure out how to post a pic in here I would!

The magically appearing cupboard is something though...

Anonymous said...

I don't know why Toby is so worried. Ian likes 'em young and dumb; he just smart enough to know that an intelligent woman who is attractive enough to pull off wearing the same lavendar outfit for weeks on end would not stay worshipfully married to a blowhard tub of lard.

Mary is surprisingly circumspect in giving advice for this plotline. First, she tells Toby to seek advice from someone other than Mary (ruining my fantasies of weeks of strips showing Mary installing anti-phishing software keystroke-by-keystroke. Drat) And now, she pulls her punches as she tells Toby how stupid she is. OF course, she doesn't come right out and reassure her only actual friend that she is not stupid. But, then again, she doesn't come right out and call her as dumb as a box of hammers. Instead she goes the circumspect "Oh... I'm sure there are many other people who are just as bone-crushingly stupid as you, many of whom may be reading this strip right now...." Mary is really being uncharacteristically kind. No wonder there is a ripple in the time-space continum that causes a cabinet to spontaneously manifest itself on the wall.

Lindsey said...

I almost spit out my drink when I saw Toby in panel two. They had to make her look that stupid on purpose, there is no way that's a mistake.

boojum said...

viscosity: I like it! Much more believable -- as, indeed, is any theory built on the assumption that Giella was simply too lazy to draw something recognizable by the human eye. Under our new theory, then, as I understand it, Mary grabs the chair in the first panel not to sit down, but to shove it viciously 120 degrees around the table. There she sits down, her back to the table, pointing at Toby over her own right shoulder. Like me, she's too disgusted to look her full in the face.

anonymous: I think your solution has merit as well. You no doubt forgot to mention that Toby and Mary, in addition to running around to open shutters and switch off lights, also went to the extra effort of changing their clothes, creating an arrangement of different flowers, and dyeing Toby's hair. Otherwise, these colors would presumably have changed as well. For extra fanservice, perhaps we'll find in the next few days that Mary has broken her old lady hip in all the excitement, and has now collapsed in her chair in excruciating pain. And Toby, of course, has forgotten what they were talking about.

I'm still not quite convinced about that cabinet, though. You have lights that can make a mustard cabinet disappear into an avocado green wall, so that it appears a seamless expanse of yellow? Are you sure you're not using a grow-lite? And what is it you've got growing there, huh?

dias said...

(1) They moved from one condo to another in mid-conversation, taking the floral display with them;

(2) They quickly built a cabinet and repainted the wall while pausing to ponder Toby's options;

(3) Wrapped up in conversation, neither realizes that they are being stalked by a cupboard;

(4) A super-dense cosmic string one proton thick and a trillion light years long has whipped through the general vicinity of Charterstone on its freewheeling trip through the universe, causing the neighbor's cupboard to invert through the wall along with the neighbor's wall paint color, whilst simultaneously 'bubbling' space-time to allow the floral arrangement to appear to levitate along side the suddenly distended torsos of the women;

(5) Bad meddlin' ju ju. The reality-altering residual energies left over after an intense meddling session just does stuff...

pandagrandma said...

In addition to practicing her silent movie queen drama roles, Toby has also apparently been practicing her "dumb blonde look", because she certainly has perfected it! But Mary is not amused and she is losing her patience with Toby.

The first thing I thought of this morning, though, when I saw Toby's face in panel 2 besides the "duh" look is that she looks like some kind of Disney character -- kind of Snow White-ish or something.

You know, I have also felt for several days now that another sub-plot to this storyline should be Toby's obvious lack of self esteem and the mental abuse apparently inflicted on her by Chinbeard. Toby could buy Dr. Phil's book on personal growth and self esteem on Well, maybe that's not such a good idea.... But Mary could surely coach her on that subject, couldn't she??

Toby should be more than just Ian's arm candy.

Ethel Mertz said...

As usual, I'm late to the party. I was thinking that Toby's 'luude just kicked in.