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Mary Worth, 11/17/04

It’s now obvious that Mary Worth is an addict. She’s not addicted to crystal meth, like some people we could mention, of course. No, hers is a more psychological addiction. In today’s strip, we learn that Mary Worth is addicted to drama.

The King Features marketing blather about Mary Worth says “The reader is asked to remember that Mary Worth stories are not about Mary. They are about a continuing parade of people who enter Mary’s life.” You know: cranky old restaurateurs, violent English professors and the co-eds who love them, tweakers. This bit of ad copy glosses over an important fact, though: how does it just happen that all this fascinating human pageantry takes place in Mary’s apartment complex?

Now we see the truth: kindly old Mary Worth is really a Machiavellian puppet master, callously using her deep insights into human nature to manipulate her neighbors into deeply inadvisable courses of action. In today’s strip, Mary is urging one of her neighbors to go after a married man. There’s no other way to interpret this. Oh, sure, she’s covering her tracks with “not as a romantic pursuit,” but really, how many of you would receive a phone call from an old flame telling you that you were someone he or she “still cares and thinks about” and not think the worse (or best, depending on your point of view)? For God’s sake, look at her face! Look at the way she’s crossing her scheming fingers! She’s practically salivating at the thought of the romantic carnage she’s about to unleash! Oh, the shame!

Incidentally, here’s another fun line from the King Features site: “Contrary to popular belief, Mary Worth is not a continuation of the Depression Era favorite Apple Mary.” Never has the word “popular” been so sorely misused.