Let's start with the secondary character that this mess is named for. While it is true that he used to be a fairly personable and idealistic kid at one point, those days are long gone. What we're left with is a gloomy, embittered and overweight mess who takes a sort of perverse pride in not being able to relate to his stepson as anything other than an embarrassment and still doesn't want to admit that it was his stupid greed and even stupider need to preen like the failed alpha male he is that ruined Montoni's hopes of becoming a national fixture. As I've said before, the chauvinistic thinking that hampered him back in the eighties clouded his judgment and made him so fixated on showing his ex that he's a bigger deal than she is 'cause he's got a willy that his other crippling flaw of thinking like a drunk screwed things up for him. He is thus an embittered failure clinging to the scraps of his former life and whining about how cruel the world he mostly made is.
That being said, the real main character is a shitwad in his own right. I'm not just talking about how the man has clearly demonstrated that he would prefer the company of his dead wife to the two women he'd arrogantly strung along for a couple of years or his irritating habit of trying to hide his feelings of panic and discomfort behind a wall of wisecracks or even that he's so useless outside of the classroom. What irritates me is that he cannot seem to accept any sort of responsibility for the results of his own dickishness, blindness and entitlement. He too is a carbon copy of Ed "I never met an alibi I didn't like" Crankshaft. The same arrogant selfishness and the same need to use their horrible pasts as an alibi for antisocial behaviour animates them as well.
The worst of it, the reason I really don't care any more is that Batiuk draws them as having aged far before their time. The annoying thing about these people is that they are only a few years older than I am but look as if they're the seventy seven years of age my father would be right now were he still alive. Now don't get me wrong here. I've suffered hardship as well but I don't sit in pizza parlors looking like I'm about to retell a harrowing story about the Korean War; it's like they thought that they were immune to horror and disappointment and...
Damn. That must be why Batiuk went off the rails. He didn't think that having a high PSA count could happen to him. Idiot!!!