This blog post has been a long time in coming. Yes, I’m actually going to blog about Mary Worth.
For those of you who don’t know, Mary Worth is a syndicated comic strip about an old widow who lives in an apartment complex. She deals with the social issues of the day, such as drugs, teenage pregnancy, etc. Very soap opera-ish stuff and very, very boring. Check out Wikipedia for more info.
Still with me? Good. I’m getting to the good stuff now.
Of course, this was not a comic that I read regularly — or at all. The local newspaper here has enough decency to not carry it. However, back in July, I was alerted to an intriguing new development in the comic that I just had to learn more about. I found out about this at a forum I sometimes check out, called Forumopolis. Be sure to check out the thread they have going there to monitor the Aldo Kelrast storyline. It’s gone well over 100 pages and has some extremely funny stuff in it.
Anyhoo, a character named Aldo Kelrast was introduced to the strip. Aldo is a cousin of Hal Kane, one of the tenants of Mary Worth’s apartment complex. Aldo started staying there while his cousin was away. Aldo’s in his 40’s to 50’s, a little chubby, and looks a lot like Captain Kangaroo. Oh yeah, he also has the hots for Mary, who like I said is in her 60’s. Aldo arrives into Mary’s life just as her current beau Jeff is off in Cambodia doing volunteer work.
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve probably noticed that Aldo Kelrast’s name is an anagram for “A OLD STALKER”. Change his name to NALDO PERSON KELRAST and you get AN OLD PERSON STALKER. Ok, that last one was a stretch. You can see where this is going now, right? Aldo pursues Mary only to be rebuffed time and time again, but does he give up? Of course not, he’s the gosh darned Aldo. He gets more and more agressive until Mary reaches her breaking point.
This isn’t very funny in itself but the dialog this situation is phenomenal. Check out some of these quotes:
– Such lovely hands need protection
– I needed a change of scenery … ‘And so far I’m enjoying what I’m seeing’ (in his mind)
– What about lunch or dinner, then? What say you Mary Worth?
– And it’s best to dispel rumors, before they fester into fact.
The thing you have to realize about Mary Worth is, is that it is very, very slow. Weekday comics are only two panels each and the first panel recaps what happens in the second panel of the previous day’s comic. They have weeks upon weeks of conversations that could have been wrapped up in two sentences. They tend to repeat themselves a lot. They use different words to arrive at the same meaning. Their dialog festers into the same general ideas. Ok, I’m done now. The Sunday strips have more panels but they just reiterate what happened during the week. Keep in mind, this strip has been written since 1938 and during that time, maybe a couple of weeks have elapsed in the comic.
One of the best parts of this comic is how bad the art is. For instance, Aldo has a magic shirt that changes every panel. Also, everyone seems to be looking off into different directions while talking. This leads me to the following video:
The above video shows what a Mary Worth storyline would look like if the actors positioned themselves the same directions that the characters face in each panel of the comic. Notice that they cover at least a month’s worth of strips in 3 minutes.
I kept up with the comic until this point just to see what would happen next. And a little bit happened (which is a lot for Mary Worth)
Don’t read the following if you don’t want to be spoiled:
Week 1 – Aldo introduces himself to Mary after secretly watching her in the bushes
Week 2 – Aldo begins to flirt with Mary. Here is the first mention of his dead wife. This plays an important role later on. Also, Mary gives Aldo a flower, which sends him the wrong signal.
Week 3 – Aldo asks Mary to lunch. Mary refuses. Aldo is upset at this (who could resist his charms?) but remains steadfast in his desire to “play bingo” with Mary, if you know what I mean. I mean old people sex. Stalkerish tendancies become more evident: “You’ll see me around. I guarantee it!” This brings me to another point I wanted to make. For some reason, some of Aldo’s text is bolded. There’s really no rhyme or reason to it, though. I got to start doing that.
Week 3.5 – Halfway through the week, Mary goes to lunch with Toby, who you’ll grow to hate. Toby takes a week or so to tell Mary that there are “rumors” about how Aldo’s late wife died. Very suspicious. Mary doesn’t want those rumors to fester into fact so she dismisses them.
Week 4.5 – Mary receives flowers from Aldo to thank her for the flower she gave him. If only she had known he was after her flower, this tragedy might have been prevented. Ok, I apologize for that last sentence. While she is looking at the flowers, he watches her through his windows, all stalker like.
Week 5 – Mary starts to realize that Aldo wants to be more than friends and decides to be more firm with him. She’s not into those sort of shenanigans. At this point Aldo is starting to appear out of nowhere and invade Mary’s personal space. He makes some awkward comments to her as it’s obvious he hasn’t flirted in a while (or ever. I’m still not convinced he was actually married, or that anyone would marry him willingly).
Heres what it would look like if Mary Worth was an animated cartoon:
Aldo Kelrast pursues Mary Worth
He invites her to lunch again, which she refuses again.
Week 6 – Mary settles down to eat a whole casserole when she gets a call from, you guessed it, Aldo. She tells him she’s not interested but he just won’t take no for an answer. At the end of the conversation, she realizes that her number’s unlisted. If that’s so, how did Aldo get it? He has his ways. Oh yes, he has his ways.
Week 7 – Mary ponders recent developments, promptly ignores them and eats her casserole (a whole one) and goes to do some volunteer work at the hospital, whilst thinking of her beau Jeff. On the way home, though, Aldo suprises her and he’s getting rather aggressive.
Week 8 – Still talking to Aldo. Mary tells him she’s not interested, “Capische.” Sensing he’s losing Mary, Aldo decides to tell Mary the truth about his dead wife. He got drunk one day and she slipped in the bathtub and died. All in all, probably the right move for her. Somehow, instead of turning her on, Aldo’s wife’s death creeps Mary out even more. She slams the door on him and goes to talk to Toby for another week. Of course, Toby has her schemes. Toby sucks.
Week 9 – Mary invites Aldo into her apartment. No, she didn’t succumb to his charms, she has something else planned for him. I like Aldo’s attitude during this: “It’s about darn time. I will not be denied. I’m gonna get me some old people sex”, and so forth.
Weeks 10 and 11 – Suprise! It’s an intervention. Which is a great idea, because it’s not like there’s a group of people out there specifically to protect us against stalkers and other bad people. People in blue uniforms, you know, that fight crime, have shiny badges and all that. So Mary, Toby, Toby’s aged husband Ian (who for the purposes of this post will heretoafter be referred to as Sean Connery. Try imagining his lines with Connery’s voice. It’s awesome), and Wilbur Weston throw an intervention for Aldo. Yes, the Wilbur Weston. They tell Aldo to back off and he finally get’s the hint. Mary then feels bad for him, because it’s not like he was stalking her or anything. Maybe they were a little too hard on him.
Week 12 – Aldo falls off the wagon. He drinks and drives in his suprisingly sporty car and drives off a cliff. NOOOOO!
Here’s a re-enactment:
Weeks 13 and 14 – Mary gets the news that Aldo is no more. Wait, did Aldo specify Mary as his next of kin? Never mind. If you think about the plot holes in this strip for any set time, your brain will implode. She, Toby, Sean Connery, and Wilbur Weston meet to discuss this tragic turn of events. Somehow they each go from “It’s all my fault, I shouldn’t have been so hard on him” to “It’s not our fault, he’s a drunk. It was bound to happen. We had to do the intervention. It couldn’t have happened any other way. He had issues. I don’t care anymore” Their rationalization mojo is working overtime, to be sure. The weird thing is that Toby’s the one that takes this the hardest. Her intervention festered into death. Of course, Mary doesn’t feel any guilt whatsoever.
That about brings you guys up to speed on the Aldo Kelrast Saga. If you are still reading this, I pity you.
So what is the moral of this tale of woe and angst? I’ve narrowed it down to the following:
– Interventions kill
– “Your lovely hands need protecting” is one of the funniest pickup lines ever.
– Don’t mess with Mary Worth when she’s eating a casserole, capische?
– Old people can get their groove on too. That doesn’t make it right.
– Help stamp out stalking! Say yes!
Yeah, it’s not a very good comic.
* Goodbye Aldo, we’ll miss you. Not really, but yeah