It's becoming increasingly difficult to take pride in our work when so many employers insist on paying people like garbage and still expecting above and beyond performance. A great many businesses are taking shadier and sleazier steps to make increasingly larger profits an they're doing so at the expense of their workers. I'm sure there are other societal factors involved, but from what I've seen it seems to boil down to people being unhappy that they are unappreciated and underpaid for their time and talents.
This principle also applies to Carlton vs. Steve Urkel. Steve is the catch-phrase-slinging caricature and Carlton is a much more relatable, multi-dimensional guy who could actually exist. As a kid, Urkel is funny because you're a kid; when you get older, Carlton is way more interesting.
And that episode where Carlton buys a gun after Will gets shot so that it will never happen again is some of the realest shit that show ever laid down.
You like Mary Ann more now because she's actually useful as a human being. She's superior for the same reason that Betty trumps Veronica, they're down to Earth hard working women who don't often add extra stress to people's lives. Frivolous tarts like Ginger and Veronica will always fall short in the long run because they're selfish and refuse to change themselves for anything or anyone.