A Final Thought for Old Mrs. Misserly
(erased from memory, stabbed back with realisation)
The kettle on the stove was boiling with bubbling cacophony. It was a frightening sound, when analysed, with its random and violent blubs and pops. But old Mrs. Misserly, after years of hearing its wet crackles, found it a comforting noise; a sort of school bell for the end of a long day plagued by peripheral pranksters. Her days had been the same for some time now. She would arise every morning as her patch of ACME was only just being tickled by the imagination of dawn’s light. For her, most of existence had been lived just outside the gears and cogs that ran her world; the grinding mind of Wallace or Douglas’ scratching pen. Wallace never wrote that she would shuffle down from her bed, yawning a geriatric yawn, and first and foremost fill a saucer for her cat. And yet she did.
In ACME, as hopefully you have learned, life is only considered important when there is a script from which to live – whether the players were aware of the script is an entirely different question. But poor, old Mrs Misserly and others like her would be forced to live large portions of their lives at the unseen whim of human imagination. She wasn’t the star of Petey and Georgie’s show. She wasn’t even a co-star, merely a recurring character. Some background noise threat who would only show her face or speak at an episode’s conclusion, inevitably thwarting the two animated animal’s futile but admirable attempts to steal her daily pie.
So Mrs. Misserly, when not enjoying her small bouts of screen time, could not be left to some existential purgatory while waiting to be picked off the shelf for another episode. Until her writers entirely scrapped her as a concept (and what more are the inhabitants of ACME?) she must remain, she must live. She must exist.
Then let us give a final thought for old Mrs. Misserly, and contemplate on the nature of her fragmented, veiled living. Allow me to begin by first asking, could she be considered a villain? Indeed, the viewers of the show these characters inhabit would inevitably be inclined to root for Petey, Georgie and their self-indulgent, greedy quests for pastry. Each week it was Mrs. Misserly’s toil, Mrs. Misserly’s love and attention, which would be poured slowly into her exquisitely tasting baking. And yet, each week, it was Mrs. Misserly who was to be painted in a dark, angered light as her scorn and tight lipped patrols almost always kept the two farmyard oddities from her spoils.
It was not just Petey and Georgie who were left with animosity towards her and her thwarting ways, but along with them their audience. No doubt she was perceived strongly as the show’s antagonist, but let us try to look at the show from a different angle, not simply from behind the booming gleam of a television screen. After all she spent hours on her cooking, and she gave much time and thought into the moment when it would finally be perfectly ready to gnash her animated teeth into. Was it really so wrong for her to want to hold on to that moment? What had Petey and Georgie done to deserve such a treat? They may be bumbling, comical, but really it’s nothing less than petty burglary.
As for her baking itself, it cannot simply be assumed that her food was excellent – it should be taken as a given. For Wallace had pressed his pen to paper incredibly hard, with rushed efforts of trying to get across his imagined taste to her handiwork. His own mouth watered as he typed his diatribes, a constant glutton himself, attempting to combine the experience of all of his gastric decadence into one perfect pastry. If that is what he imagined for her, it is exactly how it would be. So the rolling mindfield of ACME would continue to move from Wallace’s love and care to Douglas’ reliance and order (which would always act to portray her as nothing more than a recurring annoyance).
So she was left, largely forgotten, but thinly despised by those aware of her. She too was awaiting judgement, but without the knowledge of Wallace, Petey, the Immortals or even herself. Should Petey be categorised as worthy of re-runs, so too would his linked associates – Mrs. Misserly, Georgie and perhaps even the short-lived Sally. However, she would never know this. She would never have the new, trickling contemplations that Petey was being force-fed in an Immortal office. Instead, she would simply go on with her baking, continue with her kettle blub-pop morning routine, and never have any inkling of further understanding. Every once a year or so, she may even have to relive that one episode in which Petey and Georgie were uncharacteristically able to break through her hardy guard and finally make off with her pie – but that was fair price for an Immortal life.
In the case of Petey’s denial, in which scenario all hard-copy of his shows would be destroyed, then Mrs. Misserly too would pass into a cold and unnoticed demise. Perhaps she would have been en route to her sill at that moment, breathing in the sweet scent of her work. Perhaps she would place it down, still steaming, with a naïve expectance of continuing existence. Then, with no slow drain or fade, all of her inking, colour and gravel-toned dialogue would simply cease to be. She would meet, along with her cohorts, the empty embrace of an absolute oblivia. And in that event, despite her perhaps villainous caricature, it seems only fair tribute to offer these final thoughts for old Mrs Misserly – for she teetered precariously on the edge of never existing in human thought again.