Jacob Zinn :: journalist + photographer

Stuff Your Dad Likes: Sitcom Dads

Posted in Stuff Your Dad Likes, The Simpsons, TV & Film by Jacob Zinn on November 8, 2011
Jacob Zinn can’t give you fatherly advice, but he can forget to pick you up from soccer practice.

Do you make jokes at your dad’s expense? Do you ridicule his baldness, beer gut or hygiene? Do you cue the laugh track every time he walks in a room?

If your pops is anything like a TV dad, prepare for a lifetime of embarrassment contrasted by subtle, redemptive qualities and love. He likes TV dads because he thinks they make him look smart. (They don’t.)

Usually, the stereotypical situational comedy father is the main character, but he’s also the butt of most jokes.

And odds are there’s one TV father who your dad relates to the most. If he’s a handyman, it’s Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor. If he’s a single parent, it’s Danny Tanner. If he wears ugly sweaters (or is a gynaecologist), it’s Dr. Cliff Huxtable.

My dad relates to Al Bundy, played by Ed O’Neill, from Married… with Children. He isn’t a shoe salesman and he doesn’t stick his hand in his pants when he watches TV, but he has that same, stubborn work ethic and nostalgic desires.

Day in and day out, Bundy drives to that shopping mall in his rusty beater and puts up with his 40-hour-per-week job, then comes home with no money to show for it, and all he asks is to be left on the couch in peace. (Also, I refuse to believe that my dad feels nothing but indifference towards sex.)

With the fall TV line-up in full swing, your dad has dozens of primetime papas to choose from to offset his poor parenting.

Sunday nights on Fox, the two most idiotic cartoon fathers compete for that Father of the Year coffee mug. Homer Simpson tries to top 22 seasons of stupidity while Peter Griffin lowers the bar on Family Guy.

On ABC, Phil Dunphy, played by Ty Burrell, leads the Emmy Award-winning third season of Modern Family. Coincidentally, Ed O’Neill plays his father-in-law, doubling the paternal comedy.

You’re dad’s not that stupid. (Right?) So let him relive the glory days of scoring four touchdowns “in a single game.”

And take it easy on him the next time he does something stupid. There’s a bit of Homer in everybody. Maybe a bit more in your dad.


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