When the family first moved to Tangerine they saw their new beautiful two story house. It was like nothing they had ever owned before and they were very excited about it, but he next day they learn about the muck fires that always burn. It stinks up the area and brings the dream of their new residence to a halt.
Eric is like the muck fire for the family. The father sees Eric as his son who will make him proud through his football career. The mother just enjoys her little family and the whole nice lifestyle but when Eric starts stealing and she finds out that he did it her dreams fall away.
Paul saw the truth about Eric and knew how he was like the damage caused by the muck. He burned with evil underneath the surface of who Eric really was.