Of course, Elly is not the only Patterson to not realize that her body language is sending out certain signals she’d rather not have sent nor is John alone in saying things that reveal things about himself that he would rather not know. They share this inability to face their faces and hear their words with the Patterson child most like Elly herself: Michael. As we know, Mike has two default facial expressions that show us who he is as a person.
The first tell is the hateful grin he gets when he’s inconveniencing people who he thinks deserve it. The cycle always plays out thusly:
- Michael has a chance to respect Lizzie’s rights and feelings like a decent human being instead of being a jackass.
- Mike’s paranoid dread that his parents want to throw him out and laugh at him for wanting to be treated like a human being now that they have Lizzie comes into play.
- Michael behaves in a gratuitously dickish fashion because he thinks that doing so means that he has to accept her presence in his life and by doing so, accept that he has to leave home and never have any attention ever again.
- Michael grins triumphantly because he has once again reminded Liz that she’s an interloper in her own home.
The idea that he’s being a hateful jackass who actually does need an attitude adjusted is a million light-years from his tiny little brain so the inevitable lecture about not being a swinish egomaniac leads to his other specimen facial expression: the wounded-looking scowl he gets when people tell him things that he doesn’t want to hear. He doesn’t want to be told that his angry over-reaction to having to share things like a decent human being is as stupid as his whiny refusal to do things that don’t please him or his inability to see that people who inconvenience him don’t actually hate him. That’s because he’d have to look in the mirror and see a spoiled, selfish man-child who pouts and shrieks and moans when he doesn’t get his own way instead of the victim he only thinks he is. This leads to the sign of weakness that is acknowledging the hurt done others and worse still, making amends.
As for the way he speaks telling us who he is, let’s remind ourselves of his habit of saying things that he should know will irritate the people around him. Someone with two clues to rub together ought to have picked up on the fact that Elly does not want to be thought of as someone whose job it is to cater to his whims but Michael never seems to learn this or act as if her concerns should affect him. Also, he should have picked up on the fact that his trying to have fun at Elizabeth’s expense makes him look like a malicious tool instead of a fun guy to be around. Combine that with his glib, overwrought writing style and you get a nasty little mushhead trying to pass himself off as some kind of smart person.