There’s a pretty interesting discussion happening at Man of the House around the topic of who is the World’s Best TV Dad and it’s gotten me thinking about the topic quite a bit. As I’ve written about before, I believe that modern culture does a disservice to us Dads by portraying us as clueless morons who want to avoid anything that might be domestic work or responsibility, while still having our pin-up sex partners.
Watch the ads on TV for even one commercial break and I’d be astonished if you don’t see at least two advertisements that convey this message, either overtly or subtly. House cleaning? Yeah, that’s women’s work (apparently none of the ad execs are single dads, or, if they are, yikes, their places must be disaster zones!). Finances? The gal’s the smart one, the guy’s a dope. Parenting? Don’t women just disseminate the concept that they’re the parent in the household and that their spouse is “just another boy”?
As you can imagine, that’s not exactly how I look at things and while I admit that I know a couple of slacker guys, I know just as many women who are basically incapable of managing what life throws at them, be it parenting, finances, interpersonal or even familial challenges. And I know a ton of guys who are smart, responsible, mature and a pleasure to hang with.
Which gets us back to how Dads are portrayed on TV. For every Bill Cosby there are five Al Bundys, Peter Griffins, Homer Simpsons, or the gaggle of Dads in South Park or even the walking disaster that is Charlie Sheen in Two and a Half Men.
Suffice to say, there’s not a lot to choose from in terms of a portrayal of us hard working, family-focused Dads on the ole boob tube. Still, Man of the House has pulled out a list of 32 different TV dads, highlights including: Don Draper from Mad Men (yikes! he’s not my idea of a good Dad!), Howard Cunningham from Happy Days (he was okay, but it was Mrs. C. who ran the house, as I recall) and Charles Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie (which I never watched. Too cloying for my tastes).
What I realize as I read through the list, however, is just how little TV I watch. There are tons of shows that are apparently family dramas or family sitcoms that I haven’t even heard of, let alone watched enough to appreciate the portrayal of fatherhood.
I mean, how much TV do most people watch? Now if we were talking about Dads portrayed in movies, well, now that’s an area I’m more familiar with since I watch an alarming number of movies (and when I’m not helping out with free tech support, I’m a movie critic too, see Dave On Film for my reviews).
So maybe I need to recuse myself from this particular vote, but, then again, there are some really good writeups that are expanding my horizons a bit. For example, here’s the Man of the House profile of Don Draper:
Um, yeah. What they said. Or not. 🙂
Anyway, it’s pretty fun reading and I like the NCAA-bracket-style voting that they have set up, so spend a few minutes during your lunch break or — perhaps, I dunno — while your spouse or partner is busy cleaning or making dinner, and cast your own vote for the World’s Greatest TV Dad.