That's right. I went there and I brought souvenirs too. The reason that Mike's life is in the toilet is that John and Elly foreshadow the unsympathetic boomer trash protagonist in Zits; just as Walt and Connie "Boobsaflapping" Duncan mostly hate their son because he "flaunts" the fact that he is young and not beset by the ravages of decades of questionable dietary choices, John and Elly are filled with barely suppressed rage because of two factors. First, they stupidly think that Mike, Liz and April have a better childhood than their own and second, they think that that's unfair and they want to land on THAT with both feet.
This, I think, seems to stem from John and Elly confusing having stuff with the good life. After all, John's principal excuse for buying himself sports cars and model trains is because he wants the toys he never had growing up. The budding cargo cultist in the goggles thinks that if he has the same amount of stuff his 'ungrateful' children have, not only will be make up for being deprived as a child, he'll also make up for having children who don't do what they're supposed to and be grateful for his generosity. The reason that we are invited to partake of John's horseshit casserole is that the man doesn't see that his own childhood was far better than his children's. Sure, he might not have had all the junk television told him was the key to the good life but he also didn't have the guy who used to chase fat kids with a towel for a dad. From what little we get to see of them, Will and Carrie are fairly respectable salt-of-the-earth types who had to deal with raising someone born without any sort of empathy for his fellows. She probably told his victims that John had a spark inside him; it wasn't a bad thing but it made him DO bad things. Similarly, Elly's childhood was easier that her children's because while Marian might have liked things just so, she had something like a sense of humor about the whole thing.
This means that they share Mike's tendency to value image over substance. Mike can see Lizzie getting more attention and less discipline and not see that her life is worse than his because she's just a girl and can't carry the family name into the future while John and Elly look at all of his toys and fail to see how their petty resentment of him is why he's worse off than they were.