(Original Publication Date, 3 September 1991)
Panel 1: We find ourselves in the kitchen on the first day of school. Given Elly's narrow focus on threats to her image to the exclusion of large, easily avoidable obstacles like a sleeping dog, it's rather easy to understand why she has a laser-like focus on the fact that Liz tried to put on make-up before she was 'ready' (meaning 'twenty years after Elly herself fucking dies'); since Liz wants to avoid punishment, she makes a half-hearted comment about how she kinda sorta put in on then washed it off.
Panel 2: Again, Elly's hypersensitivity to things that 'matter' afford her superpowers that allow her to see the not especially noticeable remnants of make-up. When she tells Liz to wash again, Liz drops an Aw, MOOOOOOM!!!! bomb. (Fun fact: Jan Eliot's go-to slam of her own eldest daughter for finding her mom to be uncool is 'MUTHUR.')
Panel 3: As Mike looks on, Liz does something she should have realized is totally futile when she says that other kids wear make-up so why shouldn't see. As we know, that cuts no ice with Elly whatsoever so she does the pious close-eye lecture thing and talks about how children Liz's age have beautiful natural colouring.
What this means is that a) Elly is afraid that other parents will call her a failure if Liz is seen with a smudge of lip-gloss on her face and b) her mother will teleport to the house to berate her for her incompetence.
Panel 4: Having noticed that Liz's attempt to fit in with her peers has yet again been frustrated by a crazy nag who thinks that a bit of lip gloss means that Liz wants to sex and drug herself, Mike grins a greasy grin that so totally needs a fist in it and says "Especially red."
Summary: Someone should develop five words to help Mike in this life: "Shut the fuck up, Communist."; we also need a rule-of-thumb to help Elly out: "Half-assed over-parenting when it doesn't matter doesn't make up for half-assed under-parenting when it does."