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Mary Worth, 3/6/23

I have been a Star Trek dork since I was a wee lad in the early ’80s, and one of great joys of having lived as long as I have is that I have now lived through multiple instances of whoever the Star Trek IP rights holder was at the time saying “Oh, remember Star Trek? The thing you thought we were never going to make any more of? Well, guess what: we’ve decided to make more of it. Enjoy!” Anyway, the current set of shows, which I will watch every episode of because I’m a huge slut for Star Trek, are something of mixed bag, just like every other iteration of the franchise has been, but I have to say that my biggest gripe about them is that they follow the modern-day arc-driven 10-to-12 episode season format, which basically means every episode is almost entirely about the overall season plot. This means that there’s no room for episodes like “Kirk and Spock go undercover on Planet Al Capone” or “Dr. Crusher hooks up with a ghost” or “The DS9 gang challenges some Vulcans to a baseball game,” which were never anybody’s idea of the “best” episodes at the time but which anyone who was watching then looks back on with great fondness.

Anyway, this all has a lot to do with the shifting economics of television (and I’m also pleased to say that Strange New Worlds and Lower Decks manage to do classic standalone episodes to a certain extent), but weirdly I feel like a similar shift has happened to another franchise that I will never stop being a fan of no matter what, which is to say Mary Worth, despite the fact that nothing about the structure of the soap opera comic strip has changed in years. But we’ve gotten so used to the storylines all being about core-cast-adjacent characters (mostly Wilbur and women who for reasons nobody can explain have sex with Wilbur, let’s be honest here) that we forget that a lot of our most beloved plots used to be about one-off grandstanding oddball characters who would come and go, people with sibling inheritance problems and shopping addictions and ill-advised flirtations with erotic art collectors and such. So I personally would be pretty psyched if this current storyline was less “What’s up with Wilbur’s ex’s love life” and more “How can this uncle/nephew veteranarian team overcome unfair Yelp reviews?”

Dennis the Menace, 3/6/23

OK, I’ll admit it: it’s pretty menacing to make a big mess when you have guests over and then immediately say “Clean up my mess? That mess happened in the past, Gina. The past! I’m moving forward, not backwards! Why are you dwelling on this?”

Shoe, 3/6/23

Now that marijuana is legal-ish in most of the U.S., even the core Shoe demographic is ready for jokes about it! That doesn’t mean that they would recognize the names of more than one famous person who enjoys using cannabis recreationally, however.