Last Sunday’s episode of For Better or For Worse presents an interesting paradox: the punchline involved John, the husband,writing on a dollar bill, but Canada (where the strip is set) did away with dollar bills in favour of coins in 1987. FBOFW true believers will, of course, remember that creator Lynn Johnston re-booted the strip in 2008; the presence of the dollar bill, though, implies more than a simple reboot, and leads to the suspicion that the 2007 period in which several different timelines appeared simultaneously in the strip was not a simple narrative device but actually reflected some untold crisis in the universe of the strip. Based on the available evidence, we can say that last Sunday’s punchline reflects one of the following possibilities:
- The new continuity takes place in a universe where the world changes more slowly, so that dollar bills are still in use; we can call this the Earth-2 version.
- The new continuity is meant to be a darker, edgier version of the original, and thus is set in the United States; call this Ultimate For Better or For Worse.
- Last Sunday’s punchline was a “rogue joke” that somehow survived the annihilation of the previous timeline. As time goes on, the implications of the paradox it embodies will wreak havoc on continuity and on causality itself, leading to a crossover event in which multiple versions of each character appear and Farley the dog sacrifices himself to save all of the universes.
- Due to the commercial success of the strip, Johnston has as little familiarity with small denominations as George H.W. Bush had with barcode scanners.