The strip that most readily explains why people who don't like what the Pattersons do are extra-bad people is Elly describes the Anthony/Therese/Liz dynamic as being complicated when it's bloody simple. There are two salient facts that have to be taken into consideration:
- Anthony and Therese were in a crappy, turmoil-enriched starter marriage that was doomed to fail because they went into it for all the wrong reasons. She wanted to kick start his ambition to prove to her unreconstructed idiot dad that having ovaries didn't mean she lacked business acumen and he, having fallen in love with a fantasy projection of what he only thought Liz was because he came from a blended family and that's terrible because reasons, wanted to recreate the 'perfect' home he 'deserved' at any cost to other people.
- Liz is an immature jerk who'll be acting in a childish manner when she's seventy and who also has no sense of what boundaries are because she was raised not to recognize them.
The problem is that Elly doesn't want to face the fact that Liz is a clingy annoyance who regards a social norm that requires her to deny herself a desire as an evil because she was raised to think that way by parents who also hate self-sacrifice any more than she wants to face up to the fact that Anthony is in love with an illusion and will commit any breach of decency in order to make his opium dream of a fifties sitcom into a disturbing and antisocial reality. Since she doesn't want to see Anthony as being a creep or herself as being an irresponsible parent who unleashed one of Brooke McEldowney's amoral idiot monster women on the world, it stands to reason that Therese has to be assigned the evil motives that Liz and Anthony actually have in order to spare the Pattersons from having to see themselves as the monsters everyone else sees.