- John is nothing more an insensitive oaf who plays passive-aggressive mind games with Elly, bellows at trivial occurrences and seems to have no patience for his childrens' antics. The side of him that was grateful for the people around him no longer exists.
- The same can be said for chronic complainer Elly; the frazzled-but-likable figure that we used to identify with has been replaced by someone who sees the world as a series of unspeakable horrors. A child with a runny nose, a husband who can't figure out what he said to displease her, running out of paper towels, you name it, she'll regard it as a personal affront and whine about how nobody cares about her wretched suffering.
- Mike is an insufferable little twerp. When he's not having an age-inappropriate crush on a girl who despises him (thereby turning him into Stewie Griffin), he's moaning about how awful it is that he's stuck with a kid sister and mean parents.
- Lizzie is either whimperingly stuck onto Elly like a barnacle or wandering around trying to kill herself.
- Connie is a superannuated nymphomaniac who treats her son like an obstacle to her getting some.
The end result of all this is to repel people. It's difficult to identify with such nasty characters. Since the average reader doesn't want to see hateful people act like vermin, it's not hard tosee why the strip's popularity is eroding.