This, I should think, is the third reason why the Pattersons can't admit that television lies to them: they need the tropes to justify their behavior to themselves. To continue on with John, he needs to see Elly as some sort of combination of a screw-ball sitcom wife with an IQ in the double digits and a mass of symptoms because seeing her as the person she really is makes him feel bad about the way he treats her. If she actually can be said to be a woman who genuinely feels overwhelmed by domesticity, his disinclination to help makes him a lazy scoundrel and since that dog don't hunt, she's what happened when a Midol ad and The Wacky Redhead had a baby.
Similarly, he needs to see his children as being the defiant, snarky horror freak projections created by weekend warrior sitcom writers who no more get why kids do what they do than they understand or care what women want. The same man-in-name-only script writer who experiences a woman as either being a mother who laughs at his dreams, a pretty girl who laughs at his poems, a bitch ex-wife sucking on his teat or a girlfriend who dares to call HIM an inadequate excuse for a human being sees a child as a shin-kicking obstacle to his happiness and thus blights the world with yet another horror freak wisecracking forty year old in a child costume. Since John very much needs not to feel like a vindictive jackass taking out his petty rages on innocents, he needs to see his kids as being sitcom abomination children.
We extend this to its ultimate extent when he views a woman who he doesn't know and will never meet as a soap opera vixen because the way her behaviour is described to him makes him think that Therese is a shallow manipulator meant to get in the way of two kids' happiness because people are broken inside and want wrong things. It's not that her marriage and happiness were ruined by clannish dolts who want to treat a car dealership even more like a vending machine than they already did, it's that a clear villain cheated an honest man.
The end result of all of this is that we end up looking at a deluded asshole looking back at a life of appalling cruelties, selfishness, entitlement, vanity, turning a blind eye to human suffering and pea-brained sloth and expecting a round of applause because he's clearly the hero.