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OK, let’s leave Mary Worth‘s Mike and Jenna alone on the beach to figure out one more time why it makes a lick of sense for Lonnie’s death to propel them into each others’ arms. Other soaps beckon!

Apartment 3-G, 9/20/10

Credit Apartment 3-G for playing the long game. Faithful readers will remember that Blaze recruited Tommie back in January to sing in his theatrical production (Stop the World: I Want To Get Off! set in a Turkish prison) — the diversion that lured her to the stage of I Dressed In the Dark. But only the truly obsessed will recall the misty origins of the Great Tommie Makeover — in 2006, when Tommie’s old flame’s cheatin’ wife Lucy dismissed suspicions of her husband’s adultery on grounds that Tommie and Ted were both just too dull for sins of the flesh. She was right, of course, but for some reason it didn’t sit well with Tommie.

Josh commented at the time, “I can’t wait to see Tommie try to tart herself up.” Well, he had to, but she did, and I just hope everybody’s happy.

Judge Parker, 9/20/10

Sometime around 1965, Judge Parker figured out that law is ghastly boring and they’d better diversify. That was a huge boost for the career of Sam Driver on the right here, who got all the wet work while Judge Alan opined from the bench and L’il Randy was all “O jeez, Dad!” Well, Randy — the one with the brush cut on the left — is all grown up now, and a judge himself! But manly glass-thrusting aside, he’s still pretty much “O jeez!”, only now it’s Sam pitching the worldly wisdom.

Tonight, he will school his young protégé in cars, the ways of professional criminals, and how to slip the cunning traps of chesty sylphs who even now plot his enslavement, in the kitchen, over wine. And after that? BUSINESS PLAN!

Mark Trail, 9/20/10

One odd thing about Mark Trail (and there’s a party game for you!) is its covert but abject horror of Nature: truly wild animals — hibernating bears, for example, or gators — are implacable malevolent soulless evil beasts who would as soon eat your sorry ass as look at you and need to be wiped out. WIPED OUT!!!

Ahem. But give ’em a collar, train them to walk on their front legs, or name ’em “Lucky” and they turn into helpless forest flowers who would never hurt a soul and, after some half-assed “wild animals should not be pets” lecture, deserve a nice warm kitchen, a saucer of milk, and eternal vigilance over their welfare.

So if Stepfather Frank had taken the trouble to stock his pen with unruly, poorly groomed, loathsome wild animals instead of dozy half-pets, he and his pals could blast away all afternoon and Beth would be all smiles, cookies, and lemonade. And if he had shown the foresight to 12-gauge Lucky to kingdom come before that vermin set one goddamn hoof in his kitchen, well, he’d be halfway to The Honorable Stepfather Frank B. Mr. Governor Sir by now, wouldn’t he?

Rex Morgan, M.D., 9/20/10

Mayor Stu, the slowest student in the history of Public Relations, is determined to get as far behind this story as he possibly can. When he sees the “MAYOR HAS PROSTATE CANCER” billboard atop City Hall, he’ll demand — demand — to know the signpainter’s name. He’s making a list, by God!

— Uncle Lumpy