Getting back to the dread John and Elly have of other people being influences on their kids’ lives, it’s not just the two of them being stupid people who think that letting their children expand their social circle means that they’ve been cheated on or some such grating nonsense. If it were just that, we’d simply be dealing with vain and pessimistic children making a dog’s breakfast of raising children. We’re also not just looking at two mental midgets who fear being exposed as not nowing what they’re talking about most of the time.
What we’re actually dealing with is two people who would rather not know that most of the things that their kids do that bug them are things they themselves sort of do. We’ve seen John get his back up because Lizzie still sucks her thumb to cope with the untenable existence she endures only to turn around and act as if he’s being asked to get gelded with a chain saw when asked not to clink his sppon against the side of his coffee cup and we’ve seen Elly tell Mike that if he wouldn’t make homework into this big, horrible THING, he’d get better results only to make ironing into a medieval torment. Their solution to this problem is rather simple: blaming television.