Elegy for a fallen cartoonist

A newspaper cartoonist I once admired, Scott Adams, is having his strip Dilbert ceased from publication across several major newspapers. He went on a tirade about race on his YouTube series. He said black people are a hate group, white people should stay away from them, among other things.

This is not his first controversial antic, but it’s one that’s capturing the attention of the press. He’d said Donald Trump was a genius in the 2016 presidential election, nonetheless said he would vote for Hillary Clinton because she terrified him. He’d said he identified as black, though I can’t recall why. Did he want to reap the benefits of affirmative action? Was it a solidarity decision or some form of mockery? For whatever reason, there had been no zeitgeist to punish him. Maybe because he could emerge from those periods of lucidity and later speak calmly about his love of cartoons and storytelling.

I like the Dilbert comic a lot. I insist it still has been funny well past the 1990s. Thus, I was offended by The Plain Dealer‘s statement in their discontinuance of the strip that it was “not a difficult decision.” Adams has been a broken man for some time, and now he drew the line? The comic, clearly, has brought a lot of joy to my life. I’ve been reading it on my own since 2002, and likely before that when my mother or father would read it aloud for me. I didn’t always understand the corporate speak, but I liked the office setting. I liked Dilbert’s silly design, with the cloud-like hair and curved upright necktie. I liked how his dog and cat would not only outsmart him, but his entire workforce. I enjoyed the quirkiness, the Pointy-Haired Boss’s ineptitude, Wally’s mediocracy, Asok’s effort, Alice’s temper, etc.

I also liked how these characters basically worked with my mother, as the office was based on Adams’ time at telecom company Bell Pacific, the former sister to her company Bell Atlantic. Even folks who weren’t exactly in the same industry but worked in an office setting found a lot of similarities in the strange hierarchy and idiosyncrasies that come with white-collar work. The funnies pages garnered my interest in the newspaper and really aided in alleviating my reading anxiety that persisted in my formative years.

I don’t know if Adams would ever admit it, but I think his bigotry is sick. And I mean sick as in a real mental and physiological deficit, an impairment. I do mean it’s sick in a sinful way too, but beyond that. When I’ve read his blogs and interviews, his narrative oscillates between sanity and insanity. Apparently, he and his wife divorced in 2014, and some suspect he could still be upset and bitter about it. He also had a stepson who committed suicide and Adams may have driven him to such. Maybe he feels guilty about it and is trying to inflict cruelty on others so he comparatively didn’t seem so cruel to his late son? I apologize for not sourcing anything here. I suppose I am just awash with the new info that I’m still ruminating in it. Going back and looking at a biography or human interest profile of him will just give me too many variables to analyze him. Anyway, it’s hard to say definitely without meeting Adams. I could run through more primary sources. Look at his blogs and interviews, sift through them, find some morality that I’m sure I’d seen before in him, but I won’t do that now.

Defending him can get tiring, and he may argue he doesn’t need the pity, or at least not that kind of pity. I worry he does not want to pity his mania, but instead his cancellations. Apparently he has already opined in this way on his Twitter. He seems to stand by his derogatory comments, but is dismal that his livelihood can never recover. And sure, at the rate he’s going, if he refuses reconciliation, it cannot.

However, I still hope he has people in his life who can love him enough and tell him not to take interviews with Fox News, OAN, Breitbart, etc. They will enrage him further only make him feel more victimized. And he is a victim, alright…of their partisan brainwashing. I hope someone can convince Adams to seek therapy or spirituality.

I hope while the papers stop publishing Dilbert, he genuinely reflects on why it happened. I hope he realizes the breadth of people who enjoy his comic (including black people) and see that antagonizing them and alienating them is hurtful.

Almost a decade ago, actress Amanda Bynes would act similarly on her Twitter account. She would get cocky, sexually harass men (especially black men, like Drake or Kid Cudi), disparage ugly people, dress provocatively, threaten to release diss tracks, etc. Fortunately, people like her parents caught on, and had her formally diagnosed with bipolar disorder, granted a conservatorship on her, of which she was released this year, and she enrolled and graduated in fashion college. She later became aware of her mania and spoke frankly about it on social media and interviews. She apologized for calling her father abusive and her friend Wayne ugly. She had retired, then unretired from acting. She hasn’t returned since leaving retirement, but her lawyer says she may one day. She overall seems to be recovering sufficiently since her downfall.

I hope Adams can make a recovery. But the difference is, Bynes was 26 during her downfall. Adams is 65. Maybe old dogs can learn new tricks, but who knows. Like Bynes initially, Adams is standing by his misdeeds and insisting he is not in need of pathological help, but that can’t always endure. People can see through it in due time. Scott Adams deserves the accountability here, but I really hope he does not make his situation worse for himself.


Job interviews are picking up, and I did a paid freelance project for the first time in a few years! I’m often updating this blog here, sometimes writing notes or stories for myself, but it’s always good to get a monetary recognition, or the glory of a byline… Or both. The project I did will only have the former, sadly. But I’ll have more opportunity to pursue a byline as I just wrote a flash fiction, which I’m submitting around the lit mag and contest scene. I’m pretty proud that I wrote a flash fiction. I’m so verbose, and in college I’d written a flash fiction that was almost a thousand words, which gets into more short story territory. The one I wrote recently was just under 500, which is the sweet spot.

Oh, but I saw the dermatologist today, and this problem I have with my hair loss might be gynecology related, so now that’s incentive enough for me to finally go. The derm ordered some blood tests to figure it out, but I’ll visit regardless. I just hope they can find my veins when they draw it.

Critism of a pro-life journalist: textualism or jealousy?

To begin, this is just an overview of my criticisms for now. I am not going to dive too deep into this, nor am I going to pull up exercepts of this fellow’s work to make my point. A lot of the passages where he gets into his anti-abortion diatribes make me anxious and uncomfortable to begin with, so I’d rather not quote them for now.

So… I read this newsletter called The Pillar, hosted through Substack, initially, though I think they have since migrated to a similar service. Anyway, they have some very hard-hitting stuff in the Catholic world. Financial woes, clergy debocles, descrimination, etc. I like it. I’ve been reading it for a few years. However, during these years, a creeping animosity often seeps into the twice weekly updates, and usually from one cofounder/lead editor, that being Ed Condon. Both Condon and the other co-founder, JD Flynn, are canon lawyers, meaning have a degree about the laws that govern the Catholic Church. They also, like many Substack creators, previously reported in legacy media. In their case, it was National Catholic Reporter, which is a left-center magazine in ideology. As far as their successor’s leanings, it is similar, but sometimes more right.

Condon is sometimes a textualist as far as Canon law goes, meaning he often goes directly by the texts which govern the Church before making decisions or changes. It’s a philosophy that can be applied to any sort of set of laws, rules, or regulations. Quaranic law, rabbinic law, civil law, rules of American football, etc. Maybe because I am very literary minded and somewhat of a low-context communicator, I consider myself often to be a textualist as well. But there are limits to textualism, as constitutions, regulations, and canons can only include so much. They are written generally, and do not “hold your hand” to any specifics. Like, SpongeBob in an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants gives an example of something that would never be in an employee handbook to his boss, Mr. Krabs (who, in the moment, he does not recognize as Mr. Krabs, but a robot impostor): “If we were discussing Krabby Patty secret formula while eating vanilla pudding on the third Wednesday in January and it’s not raining outside, what would you say?” Thus, Condon seems to know to still treat LGBT people fairly, provide women with equal opportunity (to an extent, he still is rigid on exclusion to women’s ordination to priesthood), among a few other progressive thoughts.

However, I do not believe he treats those who have, give, or support abortions with enough of the respect they deserve. He is very staunch and argumentive about how Catholic doctrine cannot support this. He uses his expertise as a canon lawyer to justify his distaste. Still, it is very hard for me to see his textualism as solely the reason for his harshness. He has provided several anecdotes about his personal life. One that particularly strikes me is that he and his wife made several efforts to conceive a child with no avail for around a decade and a half, give or take.

Thus, I take it his knowledge of accidental pregnancies irked him, and filled him with jealousy. And to see this accidents end in abortion just twisted the knife. I really regret having to make another SpongeBob reference again, but it was like when SpongeBob and Patrick ran a profitable food stand, Mr. Krabs shrieked after learning they had burned, shredded, burned, and gave away much of their earnings. “You have the opportunity I want, and you destroyed it.” That’s really why you are pro-life, Mr. Condon. Unfortunate personal experiences. Not simply because you are a canon lawyer or journalist in the Catholic niche.

Admittedly, Condon knows he is hot-tempered and begrudging. He does intend to work on this, and I implore him to explore this aspect of himself. I encourage him, instead of chatisting a liberal Catholic movement or group, such as Catholics for Choice and others, listen with them. No, don’t just listen to the gimmicky rallying cries, but actually listen to them in their own words, intimately. Don’t just pray for them to change. Some Catholic hospitals out there do perform abortions or give birth control and other gynecological care. Talk with them.

I say this because I know his burdens will feel so lessened if he radiaccally accepts this reality. It is so weighty harboring so much jealousy in your heart. I already do like some of the efforts to where his pro-life exploration has taken him. His coverage on fighting eugenics (especially the emphasis on how people with Down syndrome are leading the fight), and eliminating death penalties, and curbing the ease of assisted suicide, especially in Veteran Affairs facilities in Canada, are all great, respectable pro-life angles I’d love to read about.

Anyway, I just thought it would be good to write an open letter about this, as I really don’t want Mr. Condon to think I am being accusatory. I think there are a lot of people in the pro-life movement who may think like him and ought to hear something like this.

Epiphany, January 6th reflection

I spent the morning of January 6th, 2021 drinking tea, chatting about the news, as always. I was actually feeling happy, as today was Three Kings Day, or the Epiphany. It represents an incredible journey of perseverance and wonder, as Melchior, Caspar, and Balthazar traveled the desert following the North Star to see the newborn messiah, Jesus.

I laughed at these people gathering with no cause and passion like these Magi. They are sore losers. I spoke with my therapist that afternoon about how ridiculous they are. But when our session was dismissed, it got worse. The mob breached the Capitol, and everyone had to hide.

Excerpted from my diary entry on January 11th, 2021

The diary entry above is somewhat incomplete, as it was done as part of a timed exercise at a work-based wellness zone. During the time I mentioned, not only was it the Epiphany, but John Osoff and Raphael Warnock had won their senate runoff races in Georgia. I was rooting for them not simply because they are Democrats, but also because the Republican party in America has become a perverted, reactionary heap who views lack of hygienic safety as a “personal liberty,” among multitudes of other problems. Both bring refreshing, faith-informed perspectives to our governmental system. Seeing them win, I thought this contempt for humanity had died, but alas.

In the morning, there were people outside the Capitol building. They were shouting, they had flags, signs, Trump-themed paraphernalia, some Revolutionary and Civil War paraphernalia, mostly those which signified sympathy towards reactionaries, and some megaphones. It was, in its formation, a protest. But protests have a movement, and keeping a tyrant who lost his reelection in office isn’t a movement. It’s just sore losership. I chided them. It was pathetic.

But the pathetic often becomes the disturbing. Seeing them breach the building, knowing lawmakers and their staff had to hide, watching rioters loot, vandalize, and defile is just disgraceful. Knowing a US Armywoman had been deluded by her president to attack fellow law enforcement and defense officers for his sake is disgusting. This veteran held a duty to defend the country and its electoral procedures, not to subterfuge them. While she survived her tours of military duty, she died after being brainwashed into believing fellow defense-men were her enemies. But even after seeing one of their own get killed, many rioters will still defend their perverse actions.

The Attack on the Capitol in 2021 was a journey. Caravans loaded up on buses, trains, cars, taxis, and bikes. Similarly, the first Epiphany approximately 2021 years prior to that day, there was another journey. Magi and shepherds came to visit a new miracle. It was a messiah that Jewish prophecy foretold about. He was a poor infant boy, living in a manger. Mangers tend to be dirty, and magi tend to be neat, but they overlooked the mess because they knew there was something awesome among them. There was a righteous ruler. Naive King Herod presumed this meant the child would usurp him one day. but the child never expressed such an interest, even in his adult life. The magi visited the infant Jesus in a tender, fleeting moment. Soon after, he and his family would have to return to Jerusalem to take the census, then to Nazareth to escape a draconian decree to have every infant boy killed.

I think about how arduous travel is. It takes hours. How could these rioters drive and ride, watching clouds and roads go by and think “yes, this is what I’m meant to do”? “Yes, this is my pilgrimage”? “Yes, this is a cause worth dying for”?

Donald Trump cheats tax collectors instead of befriending them. He denies knowing prostitutes and sex workers instead of outwardly acknowledging them. He snubs the paychecks of tradesmen like carpenters, such as Jesus’ adoptive father, despite the fact they had performed finished and satisfactory work for him. He had violently accused his late first wife Ivana of infidelity (despite his own wayward libido) and pressured her into sexual situations instead of telling adulterers to “sin no more.” In his continuance of presidential power, this is your epiphany? This is your pilgrimage, your hill to die on? Your revolution? Someone who, should he meet a carpenter’s apprentice-turned preacher in present day, would scoff?

This post has been almost a year in the making, so I’ve ruminated on this for a while. Point is, make sure your journey is meaningful and you chose battles that are worthy and have momentum. I am truly no one special. Just a former church youth choir girl and catechist’s pet at CCD. I’m also someone, who, in her adulthood, gained innate sense of justice and passion for persuasive diction. I may not be a clergy, pastoral associate, political aide, investigator, or lawyer, but nonetheless, I encourage you all to do everything with purpose.

Merry Little Christmas, Epiphany, Three Kings Day, Befana, or however you prefer to call it. Additionally bless the lives lost, tarnished, or periled in the events and aftermath of the Insurrection Attempt on the Capitol. Amen.

Oh hello. I’m being noticed.

I’ll let you in on a secret… Well, a lack thereof. This blog is no secret. It’s attached to my LinkedIn, it’s in my resume, and it generally ranks pretty high when you put my name in a search engine (I’ve looked myself up on Google, Bing, Duck Duck Go, and a few other engines that have gone in and out of vogue over the years).

But, regardless, I have my doubts that it gets much traction at all in my professional life. My resume is already pretty verbose, and a lot of the compositions here and elsewhere with my byline attached don’t always have much to do with positions I apply for. Nonetheless, I was in an interview today and the man I spoke with mentioned he had viewed some of my work. Granted, he didn’t say if it was here, or Medium, LinkedIn, Rooster Global News Network, Patriot Ledger, or wherever. But it’s good to know people actually read my resume and the links I provide. I often presume they go ignored. Well, if a company is overly reliant on ATS, they probably are.

This blog is kind of helter-skelter collection of thoughts, not quite a formal portfolio. I worry it’s dismissed as a trivial vanity project. And maybe it is, but those can sometimes be entertaining I guess. I know most of my stuff is pro bono and/or hosted on a platform that’s part of the user-generated content (UGC) space, but it’s good to know that despite the fact that a lot of my words are present on the web as a lay-user rather than a paid/hired worker, they still have an impact.

Anyway, if you got here after looking at my resume somewhere out there, likely on the internet, thanks for reading my blog. I’m sorry for being a scatter-brained hostess, moving from Stardew Valley, to SpongeBob SquarePants, to holiday stress, to going to church, to The Bell Jar, to taking public transportation, to the importance of pediatric vaccinations, to my trouble with friends, my yearning for self-actualization, to my quest for glory… Thanks. Thanks for noticing.

Communication changes

Remember when I said I had a domain email address that WordPress had set up for me? Yeah, that expired and I am not renewing it. Just use sheiladebonis@proton.me from now on. It’s free, Titan mail (what WordPress uses) isn’t.

I’m also now on Mastadon! Follow me at @sheiladebonis@mastadon.world. Still finding my bearings both on Mastadon and Proton mail. If you are really impatient with me and want me to respond ASAP, I guess you could just leave a comment or message directly here on WordPress.

Workshopping a story: updated Babysitter urban legend

I’ve been a little reluctant sharing some of my formulating ideas here, partly because I was worried they would be stolen or WP could claim them as their own IP. I recently learned I retain ownership of my content according to WP’s T&Cs, so I won’t worry about that. I’m also making an adaption of a public domain tale, so it’s already “stolen.” I planned on sharing the excerpts I’ve written, but maybe another time.

Anyway, it’s based on “The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs,” “The Babysitter and the Stranger,” “The Babysitter and the Strange Phone Call,” “The Babysitter and the Clown Doll,” etc. You get the idea, there are several iterations of this story. Halloween is an adaption of it, so is When a Stranger Calls, and so are many other pop culture staples. Our heroine is older than the archetype in a lot of versions of her (occasionally him), probably between nineteen to twenty-three years old. Currently, her name is Atula, which is Sanskrit for “limitless,” but I may change it if others don’t feel it’s feminine enough (I believe it could be a feminization of Atul; I do want it to be a feminine name but not overtly, and a strong name). She is watching the Trusky children (for some reason I feel a Baltic/Slavic name suits this family, and my preference is the “-sky/-ski” suffix found especially in Polish names). They are Lorraine, 13, Zinnia, 10, Derek, 8, and Ava, 2.5. Their parents are Michelle, a nurse (unsure if she should require a specialization in the story), and Kevin, an audio engineer for recording artists and venues. They have been picking up overtime shifts and Atula has been working for them for a few months, maybe more. Half their children are preteens or teens, but because they both have had to work overnight a lot both these older children and the parents feel more comfortable having Atula watch them for these periods.

You may have guessed Atula is Indian-American, and she speaks Hindi proficiently, but doesn’t speak Hindi dialects. She first receives a call on the family’s landline, from a man with an accent who laughs maniacally and his intentions are ambiguous. She suspects he may be Indian and possibly a telescammer, so she warns him she also speaks Hindi and will understand him if he gossips about her to his suite-mates. She blocks the number on the landline, but then receives a call again on the landline from a different number but the same voice. She then blocks that number. The caller then eventually calls on her cell phone, then on the eldest daughter’s cell phone, then on one of the parents’ cell phones, then pages on the mother’s beeper (medical staff still use them), then intercepts the father’s walkie-talkie radio, then intercepts the radio signals in the youngest’s baby monitor, then the doorbell security camera. He learns about Atula and the family through his infiltration. Atula turns on a VPN to throw him off, but he still knows.

This will probably end the way a lot of “Babysitter” stories end, calling the police and arresting the guy. But they’ll probably call a few departments because Atula is probably from a different city than her clients, and the caller is likely from abroad. Even though Atula suspects the caller is from and based in India, I’d like to subvert expectations and for him to be based somewhere pretty far off (so not in the subcontinent either; not Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, etc.) It will build on an existing theme I have of Atula feeling disconnected from her roots. The story will be based in a semi-rural suburb of Boston, I’m thinking somewhere in Plymouth County like Hingham, Hanover, Norwell, etc. I’ll probably do a little more research about landlines, mobile phones, pagers, fax machines, communication radios, etc. and maybe read other versions of the “Babysitter” myth, but let me know what you think.

I didn’t get to finish my interview today.

I was almost done, but I foolishly knocked my Webcam and mic out of the USB drive while I was talking with my hands. My interviewers inquired for a little, asking if I was still there. I kept trying to get back, I said “yes, I’m here!” but the mic didn’t reconnect. They agreed to end the meeting.

I get my connection back, and I emailed them saying I’m back and we can resume the meeting. But they are interviewing someone else, one responds, thanks me for my time, and they will be in touch if they have more questions. I am bewildered that we are putting this important meeting to an abrupt halt. I am stunned and step away from my email and vent to my family about what happened.

After regaining my composure, I respond to the email, saying thank you for talking with me, I enjoyed the discussion, and I apologize for the dropped connection. I still want to finish the interview, as I may have answered their questions, but I still had my own questions. I had hoped we could speak again tomorrow or next week to finish. But the response I got was discouraging.

“Unfortunately, we are no longer interested perusing your application.” I’d only interviewed a half hour ago, and didn’t get my conclusion. I’d appreciate it if they at least pretended to consider my candidacy.

I don’t know if it had something to do with my screw-up in that moment or a poor reputation I may have with my former coworkers and managers. This was an educational nonprofit I worked at for three years while in college. I withdrew from my duties somewhat during my final year, but this was due to a physical change in my appearance that the children I tutored noticed, and I did not want it to attract more attention. My boss noticed my performance issues, but I did not have a confiding enough relationship with him to explain my insecurity that caused them. I went through the academic year without much worry about the job, only to be shocked the following fall that my boss replied to my email that he was not rehiring me that year due to my “repeated issues,” which, though I don’t defend my distance, it was never indicated to me at all that these would cost me the position. Later the student employment specialist had emailed me saying she had been trying to get in touch with my boss several times throughout the summer about the paperwork needed to hire me for the coming academic year and he had not returned any of her messages.

I wonder if this incomplete interview was connected at all to my former job at this place. Does my reputation stink that much? I had been trusted in my job there for most of my college experience. I had thought I was well-liked. Was I just interviewed today for quota purposes? Because I doubt much time had been given envisioning me in the role. Why would an employer not allow a candidate to finish an interview?

I just want people to give me the chance I deserve.

ABC should have canceled “The Goldbergs” a year ago.

It was formerly my favorite contemporary sitcom, but now, it often brings plots with little stakes or thought.

I saw this season’s premiere last night, and man… I didn’t laugh, and I think once I even gagged. Okay, to start, ABC reserves the right to fire Jeff Garlin. If his behavior was making people uncomfortable, he deserves to be held accountable. ABC has not disclosed much detail of what exactly Garlin did or said, but I take it is was repeated derogatory humor. Maybe ABC overstepped and could have found a better solution than firing him, or maybe it was the only feasible action. Like I said, they haven’t revealed much of the substance of his misdeeds, so it’s hard to say. But still, the treatment of his character Murray in the show is very unusual. He died between last season and this one I guess, but his demise is not treated very gracefully. In the opening, this is brushed aside. Instead Beverly in more involved snooping into her children’s lives, helping Erica and Jeff set up a nursery. Murray’s father is now living with them, and over the seasons Murray had mentioned his father was disinterested in his life, and the same goes for his death in this episode. Ginzie says his eulogy for Murray was very short. This betrays Pop-Pop’s character. Like his son, he doesn’t display affection so outwardly, but still, he cares. And Murray and Beverly had confronted him enough times to learn this.

Same thing with Beverly. Murray and her children and their significant others had confronted her time and time again that they want her to be involved, but not to the overwhelming extent that she is, and she learns his lesson for a little while, but then turns up the selfishness. Erica and Jeff’s wedding is “her wedding,” and their baby is “her baby.”

Oh, Erica and Jeff. I’m annoyed with how both of them have deflated. Erica had high ambitions, and still does, but unreasonably thinks she can take it all on. A husband and an upcoming baby while finishing college… Not to mention both she and Jeff plan to attend grad schools, optometry school for Jeff and law school for her, so they may have to separate depending upon where their education leads them, and still raise a child. And… She still pursues her music career sometimes. She had been a responsible character before, but despite the fact she has made some big lifetime milestones, she is increasingly naive and dependent on her mother and parents-in-law to fund her life. I know it’s set in the 1980s and people married and procreated earlier then, but that’s no excuse. Given their circumstances, I feel they married and got pregnant at a very inopportune time, and too often fiction gives the narrative that “even if the timing isn’t right, everything will work out okay,” but that’s often untrue and will set future marriages and parents up for failure and disappointment. Not to mention, many of these developments are retconned when Erica and Barry visit Lainey on the spinoff “Schooled,” set a decade later. Erica does not mention marriage or children, and in fact implies that she and Jeff broke up to make Lainey feel less alone in her breakup with Barry. But if we believe the later “Goldbergs” time-line, Lainey should know Erica and Jeff had been married for a while since she was the maid of honor. She may have assumed they divorced, but… That’s a stretch. Also, I may be mistaken, but I believe either Barry or Erica tell Lainey that their parents are doing well in “Schooled”, which is another retcon, as Murray would be alive into the late 1990s.

Jeff is another character who irritates me because of his flatness. Erica broke up with him only a few seasons ago because he was not his own person and was too submissive to her interests. Then he changed a little I guess, stuck up for himself in one thing, and they got back together, then engaged, and then… He goes back to being spineless. He sometimes sticks up for himself with JTP, or to Beverly… But not enough. He’s the worst with Erica, despite the fact that she dislikes it and wishes he were a decisionmaker too.

Finally, the farewell to Murray, as I mentioned, is so hollow and half-hearted. While Erica keeps his chair, Beverly keeps his shirts, and Adam and Barry play on a baseball field they made to summon him a la “Field of Dreams,” something about it feels disingenuous, but it’s hard to really describe. I know there is friction in the relationship between the network and Murray’s actor, and I think it shines through in the writing and performances. Because of this friction, I doubt there will be many follow up episodes to extend on their grief. Compare it to the death of Albert “Pops” Solomon, the children’s maternal grandfather played by George Sehgal, who actually did die in real life as opposed to Garlin’s firing. This is handled with much more care. The family connects with Pops’ old hobbies, friends, and belongs. They even mention the fuller aspects of his life, like being in World War 2, betting on horse races, writing love letters to his wife, meanwhile Murray is only mentioned sitting his chair, watching TV, and calling his children morons. But there was a lot more to him than that, but I guess ABC doesn’t want to remind us about this. His memorial is purposefully mundane.

Anyway, I feel as though a lot of this is done to check off a box on a list of tropes that make “great TV moments.” Marriage, pregnancy, death… We especially need the female sibling to get married and pregnant…because that’s all women think about, right? And ABC probably thinks their female audience is still sore that Barry and Lainey called off their wedding… So they think that Erica and Jeff being married is some kind of retribution. It feels like a lot of storylines were introduced by pressure from the network rather than organically. The season is still early, so maybe it will get better, though I’m doubtful. Part of me wants a good portion of this season to stay unaired because I feel it will just be that bad. (By the way, I would have had Murray and Beverly get a divorce or have him go on a yearlong business trip to explain his absence and to avoid the cheap grief, and open the doors if Garlin changes and could be rehired again for a guest appearance.)