The holiday special reminds me of a problem that l have with the strip: the default hostility that John and Elly bear to anyone unfortunate enough to be a teenager under their care. Liz couldn’t even breathe without one of the stupid shits screaming in blind rage about her defiant attitude, lack of concern for anyone aside from herself, need to torment the parents she was wronging, laziness and the rest of the nonsense that they spout because she’s developing a personality that isn’t dependent on them. I also remember and have remarked upon the fun-house mirror view the Pattersons have of the world.
The conflict surrounding the destruction of the ornament will do quite nicely as an example; what we saw is Elly standing around bellowing at Liz for somehow letting April destroy the family heirloom when any objective observer would identify the proximate cause of the disaster as being the result of her witless negligence. Given that Elly will not accept blame for her screw-ups when there's a teenager handy, she chose to and still probably remembers Lizzie inciting April to wreck everything in sight because, as a teenager, she wanted to spread anarchy, ruin and CHAOS!!!!! because teenagers are EVIL!!!!! and that's what they do. Showing Elly a video tape of a lazy, hysterical, ignorant blowhard with her face and voice shouting abuse at something that the Wayans Brothers would regard as a beyond-the-pale caricature of a white person would do no good because she'd see it as a lie and unfair.
What really makes John and Elly's need to see their bland, bovine, apathetic and somnolent children as nearly demonic all the more ridiculous is that Mike, Liz and April are very probably paying for Mommy and Daddy's sins. From what we know of Elly's past, she seems to have been almost impossible to raise; we get hints of this from time to time when Jim and Marian remark about the odd twist of fate that had what they and their neighbors referred to as (and this is the most polite term available, mind) an ungovernable savage who lived to torment her kid brother preaching about peace and cooperation. As for Will and Carrie, we know enough about them to realize that they're probably still laughing because a boy they remember as a tetchy idiot who bitterly resented their having to work for a living thunders on about filial piety.