The very interesting thing about this arc is not that Elly once again failed to teach Mike the Very Important Lesson that his mother loves him so much that she simply has to save him from the idea that he has any sort of input into what his life is supposed to be like but that once again, one of Gordon's Evil, Selfish Parents over-rules her and makes her life worse. As howtheduck
discovered, the Mayeses were the go-to unseen characters designed to show us by their Very Bad Example how wondrous the Pattersons are as parents. He also noticed that when Lynn sets out to make a person Just Plain Awful, she usually does the exact opposite.
The first instance was when Michael noticed that Gordon's reckless, uncaring and awful parents bought him a set of roller skates for his birthday. Naturally, this led to Elly's being oppressed by Mike's selfish and evil demands that he scare her and make her look bad by also getting him roller skates. Her solution was to put him to work to teach him that since John worked and worked and worked, he had to as well. When Gordon tried to cheat Mike out of the money he'd earned by renting them, Gordon's Evil and Selfish mother forced him to pay Michael back and thus frustrate Elly's desire to teach Mike a very good lesson. Sadly for Lynn, most people saw Mrs Mayes as having the right idea because what Elly was actually doing looked more like teaching Mike that working is a futile exercise in frustration.
The next time around, we had to deal with the fact that Mike was trying to oppress Elly by making horrible, distracting noise. Having cleverly forced him out of his home on a cold, bleak February day where there was nothing to do, she was horrified by the eventual discovery that Gordon corrupted Mike by taking him to the Evil Arcade of Noise and Depravity and Having The Quality People Look Down at Elly. Given that Mrs Mayes had no problem with Gordon watching people drug and sex themselves in front of him nor with his being stabbed, murdered and disemboweled by the sort of people who only seem to exist in Orson Scott Card's loonier apocalyptic and delusional rants, we were clearly supposed to side with Elly. Why, Mrs Mayes might even have given Gordon a key to his house so that other boys could destroy it and raise chaos and come and go as they please and other horrible things.
Finally, we have Elly trying to lovingly teach Mike the lesson that his insistence on privacy is a horrible thing to do to his poor mother who only wants to save him from the horrible idea that he has any sort of say in what happens to him. Why, if he were allowed to have the least bit of input, that would mean that Elly would never, EVER be allowed to speak again because that's just how things work. Sadly, Gordon's Evil Father noticed that Mike was foolishly ungrateful and angry at Elly for doing what was best for everything and over-ruled her. Once again, an act of malice meant to make Elly's life worse and deny her any say wound up looking like someone coming to bat for a kid being raised by a self-absorbed maniac whose fragile ego can't tolerate resistance to her insane and hateful demands.
Eventually, it must have occurred to Lynn that most people thought of Mr and Mrs Mayes as being far superior to a cranky, self-righteous, judgmental imbecile consumed by pride, besotted with vanity and twisted into an inhuman shape by a martyrdom complex. The challenge that faced her was to somehow discredit them so as to make the Pattersons look good; she did so by the subtle-as-a-landmine-in-a-bowl-of-
porridge tactic of making them into hockey-loving drunken child-abusers. Since she also tried to make Mira into a homophobic ignoramus and tried to turn post-partum depression into a mortal sin, it's interesting to notice that she can do something that works if she puts some effort into it.