Are all dads schmucks?

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Registered: 03-25-2003
Are all dads schmucks?
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Wed, 04-09-2003 - 7:14am
Did anyone catch the new sitcom "Lost at Home?"

If you didn't, in a nutshell, it's about a father who has been so career driven that he barely knows his own kids. Once his wife threatened divorce, he's decided to make up for lost time. So to speak.

The roles were *very* clearly divided. She was home manager, he didn't even know his son was allergic to strawberries. He found out on a trip to take him for his allergy shot. He had to set off the fire alarm to find his kid to pick him up for school. The usual "Dad is an ignorant bafoon" type sitcom. Which is why I usually stray away from sitcom television. I just find it a very negative portrayal of American dads. Not too mention offensive.

How accurate is this portrayal? I know maybe dad's don't *always* remember to add the fabric softner when doing laundry, but are they really that dense? I know NO fathers like that. I also wonder if a lot of men (dads) don't play 'stupid' because that is the societal expectation.

I usually don't get too worked up over this, and yes, I KNOW it's only television, but I think this one really goes over the top.

"There in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I close my eyes, feel their beauty and follow where they lead."

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 7:57am
LOL... I certainly don't think so!

I did not watch the show, btw.

Now my own father, probably could have played that role... so could my mother in fact. I distinctly remember going out to dinner one year in Feburary (around Valentine's Day). As conversation dwindled, my father casually asked me, "So, what grade are you in this year?" It was FEBURARY! I was in my first year at high school.

I gotta tell ya, from my misguided youth, I vowed I was never going to marry and have children. I advertised this a lot. I was my own brand of bitter feminazi for years... LOL... I had dated quite a bit, but I considered it fun, not out looking for commitment and husband and father material. Of course, I met my dh and my entire world changed. Within the first week, I was somehow transformed into a giggling pool of mush. I was (and still am) totally infatuated and head over heels in love with him. At one point early on in our living together, we offered to take care of my three year old niece for a week, as her parents were having some problems. I was floored to see him interact with her. In just those few days, my decision regarding children totally changed. He was kind, understanding, fun, AND he had a non-threatening style of discipline for bedtime and behavior. In that little time, he also managed to teach her the alphabet and got her very interested in reading. To this day, he is still my nieces favorite uncle! (actually, our house is the favored of all the nieces and nephews... and they always ask first, "Will Uncle Derek be home?") I was amazed. To me, it was like I had found the perfect man to father the children I never wanted... LOL! Really, it totally changed my perspective about children could be raised, and enter those maternal twinges that make us all look at a newborn and think.... *ahhh.... I think I want to have babies now....*

I would never be nervous or scared to leave dh home with the kids for any amount of time. He may not be able to find the tools that I always put back in the wrong spot to fix something, or I may come home and find the closet totally torn apart because he was looking for a certain wire that he left on the counter one day, but with the kids, all the confidence in the world!

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Wed, 04-09-2003 - 8:43am
It fits my father to a T. My DH, of course, is the world's best dad - that's one of the reasons I married him. My father doesn't know any of my likes/dislikes/childhood milestones/friends, etc. It was all about career. Then once mom died, it was all about finding the second wife. Yup, there are some men like that.

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 10:11am
Network TV is awful.

Most dads are not that stupid. The program you desribed is yet another poorly written piece of garbage.

Cable offers so many opportunities to learn about history, space, travel, culture, medicine, design, fashion, landscaping, cooking, etc.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a little "mindless fluff" on occassion (a la "The Simpson" or "The X-Files").

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Registered: 03-28-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 11:23am
I agree with you to a point. I loved Home Improvement, but I didn't really think that any man was like Tim. Some days I'm positive that I'm married to Raymond in Everybody Loves Raymond. And I never want to be like Carrie in King of Queens.

The problem with sit-coms is that if they were representative of real life, they wouldn't be funny. So they become an exaggeration. They can be considered a caricature of real life, where all of the people involved have exaggerated flaws to make the show funny and interesting. You know what I mean?

I haven't seen the one in question, but it wouldn't be the first time they'd gone over the top. LOL

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Wed, 04-09-2003 - 11:28am
Well, it was just a sitcom, right? Actually, I saw the Jim Belushi program right before that one (which I had never seen before), then that one came on and I turned the TV off, thinking, "Is that EVERY show now?" Shlub/idiot father, gorgeous babe SAHM/W, 2 or 3 smart-mouthed brats, then ***laughter ensues***. Please. I once had a professor who said, "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public." Seems like that's still true.

My dad is and was one of the all-time great parents. He was raised by a single mother and could do any household task there is, some of them better than my mom. My DH could easily run the house by himself. He's the most organized, efficient person I've ever met. He does his fair share and then some.

I think these sitcoms are insulting to everybody. Thankfully, they are generally short-lived.

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 12:36pm
Didn't see it, but I agree that in general TV writers have no real life experience to draw from, apparently.I always imagine they are 20 year olds cloistered in studios that grew up in LA and just have stereotypes of their own to go on.
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Wed, 04-09-2003 - 12:43pm
I detest sitcoms just for this simple reason.

I have never known a father like that and my dh is NO WHERE near there. He knows everything about his kids and has always been very involved..as much as I have been.

Sue

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Wed, 04-09-2003 - 4:02pm
I know ONE father like that. And his wife is considering leaving him. I am friends with a group of women and we get together and play Bunco once a month. We have a real girls night with dinner, wine, fun and chit chat. Most of the women know each other because our sons (9 year olds) have played football together for the past few seasons. There is one poor woman who has to call her dh to tell him to feed the kids, tell him to put them to bed, etc. He really, truly is dense. But I nobody else's dh is like that. The rest of them are perfectly capable of feeding them, bathing them, and putting them to bed.

I also come in contact with lots of other families through school, preschool, lacrosse, hebrew school and my neighborhood. I think most fathers (even ones like my dh who work lots of hours) are in touch with their kids. Just because Mom does most of the work of running the house and taking care of the kids it doesn't mean that Dad can't stand in when needed. If my friend wants to go to the gym on Sat AM she has to take her kids (there are 4 of them) to the nursery because her dh doesn't think he should have to watch them even for an hour. He wants to relax on the weekend not be a babysitter. No small wonder that they are on the verge of divorce. They are notable in my mind because I don't know anyone else whose dh is so detached from their family. Even some of the divorced parents I know help each other out more than this family.

So my rather long answer to your question is I think it's just a show that takes hold of a concept that translates well to comedy but I don't think detached dads are a majority (or even all that common) in the US.

Jenna

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Wed, 04-09-2003 - 7:10pm
My dh can be like that from time to time. If he gets immersed in a project at work and has to travel a lot, he may miss out on a few things going on at home over the course of a couple of months. I mean, I tell him that ds#1 has started swimming lessons but he may be so preoccupied that it doesn't register and then a month later he will say, "When is ds#1 going to take swimming lessons this year?" So he can appear to be out (sometimes WAY OUT) of the loop and he could easily be made fun of ala that sitcom. But then he will have a slow spell at work and spend every afternoon of a week taking the kids to the park to teach them how to fly a kite. So while he may have never been to the pediatrician's office with them or packed a lunch to take to school or applied those nasty eyedrops necessary when they have pink eye and he may not know which one prefers chicken nuggets over a cheeseburger, he has read every word from Treasure Island, The Secret Garden, and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to them and he has met each child's preschool/school teacher and he knows the names of almost all of their friends. So he isn't totally hopeless.

I do have a friend whose dh is much like the dad on that show. He has three children from a first marriage and two much younger ones from this second marriage. He travels constantly and knows almost NOTHING about his two younger children. He is almost a stranger in his own home. But he is fabulously successful and his goal in life is to give his children the financial security he never had growing up. My friend doesn't especially like it that he has sacrificed a lot of "normal" interaction with his children in order to get ahead in the world, but she makes the most of it and keeps trying her best to get him to spend SOME time with the kids. So she would never complain that he doesn't know about a kid's allergy or what class her son is in at school because those things don't matter to her; they seem somewhat trivial. She is just grateful when he schedules a two week vacation with her and the kids and agrees to leave the laptop back at the hotel room instead of bringing it to the restaurant! She is concerned with creating some memories for her children. I know for a fact that she doesn't care whether he can do a load of laundry or not.

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Wed, 04-09-2003 - 7:48pm
Haha reminds me of my dad.... my parents got divorced after 31 years of marriage, and my dad bought a big ol house in Arizona.. I will never forget, he called me at college and said "Did you know you have to mop the floor *every week*?!?!" He was incredulous that things didn't clean themselves, and food didn't cook itself easy either. Poor guy though.. he traveled a lot, and his mom did everything for him when he was younger, so he honestly just had no clue. Gave my mom a big laugh though....

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