What’s Going On In Mary Worth? Why did Helen Moss have to leave? April – June 2022


A warning before we start. The current-as-of-June story in Karen Moy and June Brigman’s Mary Worth includes a woman who’s been hit, hard enough to need hospitalization. The story is not (so far) about that. It’s backstory, the reason that physician assistant Jared Mylo would get to know her. I don’t want people caught unprepared by sensitive material, is all.

So this essay should catch you up on Mary Worth for the middle of June 2022. A more useful essay is probably here if you’re reading this after about September 2022. And if any news about the comic strip breaks I’ll put it at that link, too.

Mary Worth.

3 April – 18 June 2022.

Toby Cameron was teaching art at the Santa Royale Community College. The crush her student Cal has on her, and some chance encounters on the campus raise suspicions in the mind of Helen Moss, Community College lifer. There’s nothing going on, but she threatens to tell management what she imagines is.

[ As Toby Dreams ... ] Onlookers chant 'Toby and Cal, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g, first comes love, then comes marriage ... then comes Toby with a baby carriage!' As she dreams she appears in a tree with Cal, and he reaches in to kiss her, and she falls, or leaps, from the tree. In the last panel she's fallen out of bed, waking herself, as Ian sleeps soundly beside her.
Karen Moy and June Brigman’s Mary Worth for the 10th of April, 2022. Did not know Mary Worth even made Welsh rarebit!

Toby has nightmares about may happen if Moss tells on her. So that’s another wonderful Mary Worth Dream Sequence, with visions of her losing her job and her husband and having schoolkids taunt her for k-i-s-s-i-n-g. Her fear may seem exaggerated. But remember in Funky Winkerbean how Susan Smith had to leave her job at the school when she, an unattached adult woman, kissed Les Moore, a widower attached only to Dead Lisa Moore. But surely that was a special case: how could coworkers respect someone to chose to interact with Les Moore? (Don’t cry for Smith. She got to leave Funky Winkerbean entirely after the thing we were told was a scandal somehow.)

She wakes from one nightmare to another: how to avoid telling her husband, who loves and respects and supports her, about the thing making her most miserable. She visits Mary Worth, who advises she tell her husband, who loves and respects and supports her, about the thing making her most miserable. And it turns out Toby only needs one week and one visit to do the obvious and needed thing.

Toby: 'In the past Ian did have a student who got too friendly, but I'm not sure how he'll feel about being in the same situation!' Mary Worth: 'Are you afraid he'll react badly?' Toby: 'I'm afraid he'll think less of me if I don't handle this properly!' Mary Worth: 'He'll want to help. *Talk* to him, dear.'
Karen Moy and June Brigman’s Mary Worth for the 15th of April, 2022. Toby’s referring to a story back in winter 2018-2019 where a student pretended to be interested in Ian to get a better grade. It’s a neat subtle bit of continuity that in this 2018-19 story Ian accepted the idea a student was interested in him and never considered the matter any more deeply than that.

Ian’s not worried about a student having a crush on Toby. He is shocked to hear of Helen Moss’s suspicions, though. To be specific, he’s shocked that it’s Helen Moss. In a sequence that seems like it’s setting up more depth than it does, we see Moss looking through her college yearbook. It has photographs of her in her student days and Ian in his young-instructor days. As she looks at this Ian enters her office. They embrace, and he tells her this has to stop.

And so it does. We don’t see or hear anything of what they say, not directly. In a Mary’s Muffins Meeting, Toby summarizes. Back in Ian’s days at Franklin (I don’t know if that’s the name of a college or the town the college was in), he flirted with Moss, a student, and they became close. Then he left, for a new job, and never imagined how much he hurt her. And … that’s it? Toby guesses that Moss realized Ian was too clueless to realize he was leading her on. This seems like a charitable assessment, but I suppose we all need some charitable interpretations.

Also I’m not sure that “person who is vigilant about instructors not taking advantage of students” is necessarily the villain. Yes, she was wrong about Toby. But her base stated concern was reasonable and she did see (coincidental) circumstances suggesting Toby might be giving Cal special treatment. I’m not even sure she knew Toby was connected to Ian Cameron, which would have made clear whether Moss was bugging Toby particularly or whether she’s like this for anybody.

[ When Mary suggests that Ian visit Toby at work to discourage her student Cal ... ] At the end of her class Toby sees Ian visit. He goes up to her, and they hug, and kiss. Maddie, a student, says, 'Ewww! That's disgusting! How can she kiss that old guy?' Cal: 'I know, right? So gross! ... Hey, Maddie, I'm going to grab some food. You want to join me?' [ Meanwhile, Helen Moss is also moving on ... ] We see her leaving an office apparently empty except for an old yearbook on the desk.
Karen Moy and June Brigman’s Mary Worth for the 15th of May, 2022. I know I talked about this last time but the design of that Santa Royale Community College sign, with “College” so small, is so weird it makes me think it must be referencing some real, specific thing. Anyway, I am genuinely disturbed that Helen Moss is abandoning her yearbook, although since the book says “USC” and we’re told she was involved with Ian when he was at “Franklin” I guess … it’s a yearbook from a different school?

But that’s settled. So Toby worries, what if Cal tries hitting on her again? At Mary Worth’s suggestion she has Ian stop in at the end of her class sometime, when they can kiss where everybody sees. Cal is horrified to learn Toby is into olds, so asks the nearest available woman of similar age to have a food with him instead.

The next we see Helen Moss she’s packing her things, and thinking of how she’s thankful for the opportunity to learn, and that she only has “memories … some of which I’ll leave behind”. Having to leave the Santa Rosa Community College seems a bit harsh for being mistaken about the wife of your 30-years-ago-crush flirting with a student. But, you know, that Susan Smith rule. It’s impossible to continue at a workplace once someone learns you’ve had emotions with another person. Or it could be I’m mistaken. There’s a lot we haven’t seen on-screen here. Could be hear leaving is a coincidence and she happened to be moving to a bigger school.


With the 22nd of May, that story closes. The 23rd starts the current story, about Dawn Weston and her boyfriend Jared Mylo. And this is a story which has as a key character a woman who’s been hospitalized because of someone beating her. I’m setting the rest behind a cut tag for people who do not need that in their recreational reading.

Weston and Mylo are having a fine time at the zoo, amazed they’ve been dating two years already and haven’t aged a day. Mylo gets upset that Weston looks a little too long at some other guy while he’s trying to explain the animals at her. And this turns into a brief quarrel at the diner afterwards, as they wait for the blue plate and the red flag specials.

Weston begs off a mid-shift dinner date with Mylo, claiming to be exhausted. She’s fibbing. She’s going out dancing with her friend Cathy who probably has a last name and everything. She didn’t figure it worth mentioning since he couldn’t come anyway, he doesn’t like dancing, and he might think she was looking for a guy anyway.

Jared Mylo, at the bedside of Jess Bender, a woman who's been battered: 'Dr Johnson will come by soon, and if she gives you the all-clear, you may be discharged later today. ' Bender: 'Thanks for your help, jared. I feel broken ... almost like I want to give up on myself.' Mylo: 'Don't give up, Jess. 'Hope is like the sun. If you only believe it when you see it, you'll never make it through the night'.' Bender: 'Those are Leia Organa's words. I'm a fan too ... ' Mary Worth, walking past, seeing them in Bender's room and holding hands, thinks, 'Hmmm ... what's *this*?'
Karen Moy and June Brigman’s Mary Worth for the 12th of June, 2022. I’m sorry, I’ve started watching the Adam West Batman on MeTV so there is only one way my brain will read “What’s this?” and it’s not one that makes this a tender scene.

Meanwhile, Mylo’s working a long shift as physician assistant at the hospital. Particularly he’s tending to Jess Bender, who’s recovering from someone battering her. He watches over as she eats breakfast the next morning. They have some pleasant talk, about Star Wars and their curious choice to name their cats “Miz Leia” and “Mister Solo” and such. We never learn why the “Miz” and “Mister”. Mary Worth notices this incipient heterosexual pair-bonding but figures she doesn’t need to do anything about this yet. Bender is very touched by Mylo’s attention and, as she’s released, asks Mylo if he’s seeing anyone. And gives him her phone number in case he ever does become single.

And those are the standings.

Dubiously Sourced Mary Worth Sunday Panel Quotes!

  • “Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia.” — Charles M Schulz, 3 April 2022.
  • No quote at all! 10 April 2022.
  • “Every problem has a gift for you in its hands.” — Richard Bach, 17 April 2022.
  • “The first step in solving a problem is to recognize it does exist.” — Zig Ziglar, 24 April 2022.
  • “A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.” — Ansel Adams, 1 May 2022.
  • “Forgiveness is the final form of love.” — Reinhold Niebuhr, 8 May 2022.
  • “Blessed are the hearts that can bend: they shall never be broken.” — Albert Camus, 15 May 2022.
  • “The richest love is that which submits to the arbitration of time.” — Lawrence Durrell, 22 May 2022.
  • “You can always find a distraction if you’re looking for one.” — Tom Kite, 29 May 2022.
  • “I tend to see the similarities in people, and not the differences.” — Isabel Allende, 5 June 2022.
  • “I have found that it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.” — J R R Tolkein, 12 June 2022.
  • “I always entertain great hopes.” — Robert Frost, 19 June 2022.

Next Week!

We’re not looking at the story of how The Phantom meets his — and his family’s — end. Instead, it’s the story of those two young Mori women wandering around the big city. And then, the search for a cryptid that doesn’t involve Rusty Trail.

Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there. He/him.

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