In today's strip, Mike pays Elly a left-handed compliment about how she looks nice for a change. Instead of rolling her eyes in mock despair at his clunky attempt at flattery, she gets all gobsmacked because she's going to spend the rest of the day obsessing about the fact that her son thinks she's a slob.
(Strip Number 543, Original Publication Date, 31 January 1984)
Panel 1: We find ourselves at the breakfast table; as Elly hands him his toast, Mike asks Elly "You gotta go to work today, don't you, Mom?" She says uh-huh.
Panel 2: Given that he's a Patterson, it should come as no surprise that his mouth is full of food when he says that he thought so.
Panel 3: Judging from the fact that her face is frozen in the Goggle-eyed Stare of Existential Horror™, his comment about how she looks nice for a change clearly fills her with despair.
Summary: As I said, it would have been a lot better if she'd reacted to his stupidity with annoyance instead of despair; THAT would put cameras in houses.