Saturday, June 14, 2008

TV Dads & Father's day

Today I get an early Father's Day with my 20 something year old kiddo's.

My son is in town for a week. His school wrapped up last week and tomorrow he leaves town to head east for his summer internship.

So I'm planning on starting my day at the FireFly Coffee Shop, then head over to Hire's on Lima Road where Doc West and ROCK 104 will be doing a live broadcast from 10 until noon. We'll have free Three Rivers Festival Buttons to giveaway to the first 100 souls to show up and other prizes too.

Afterward, I'm spending time with the youngsters.

In the meantime, take a look at this from the Art of Manliness Blog:

The All-Time Best (And Worst) TV Dads

Posted: 11 Jun 2008 12:13 AM CDT

To celebrate Father’s Day, we’ve compiled a list of TV’s best and worst dads. While these dads are completely fictitious, these men have had a heavy influence on the way Americans approach fatherhood. We’ve got representatives from the “aw shucks” 1950s dad to the bumbling idiot dad of the 21st Century. Did we miss a dad you think should have been on the list? Got a beef with the ones that made the list? Make yourself heard in the comments.

TV’s Best Dads

Andy Taylor- The Andy Griffith Show

As a single dad, Sheriff Taylor did a fantastic job raising his son Opie. In every episode, Sheriff Andy taught his son and the rest of America one important lesson- do the right thing. Not only did Andy teach little Opie important life lessons, he also made sure to spend plenty of time with him on fishin’ trips.

Homer Simpson- The Simpsons

I originally put Homer on the worst TV dad list because he’s a perfect example of television’s now ubiquitous portrayal of the bumbling idiot dad. But I had a change of heart. Sure, he is a poor example of physical health. Sure, he constantly abuses Bart through strangulation. But at the end of the day, the man would do anything for his kids. One of my favorite examples of this was when Homer, unbeknownst to Bart, acted like a robot so Bart could win the Robot war competition. In the process, Homer got bludgeoned and poked with sharp metal objects. Ah, the abiding and hilarious love of a father.

Hank Hill- King of the Hill

Hank Hill may just sell propane and propane accessories, but he’s the best damn propane seller in Heimlich County. Hank does a fantastic job of teaching his son Bobby the meaning of hard work, dedication, loyalty to friends and family, the importance of Dallas Cowboys football and Texas pride, and of course, the stupidity of political correctness. Yeah, Bobby is awkward, and sometimes Hank is overly concerned about Bobby being a sissy, but he’s always there when Bobby needs him.

Steve Douglas- My Three Sons

My Three Sons was one of many dad sitcoms from the 1950s and 60s based around a widowed father raising their kids. Steve Douglas was an aeronautical engineer trying to raise three sons first in the Midwest and then in Los Angeles, California. The show ran for 12 years and during that time, America saw Steve’s three sons move out, go to college, and get married. Raising well adjusted and successful family men definitely makes you a great dad.

Ward Cleaver- Leave It To Beaver

Ward Cleaver embodies the stereotypical 1950s dad. Ward might have been idealized, but that doesn’t mean men shouldn’t be inspired to be the kind of father he was. Ward Clever was a businessman that took his job as seriously as his family. Even when frustrated, the man hardly raised his voice. He read Mark Twain to his sons. When he did give bad advice, (like telling the Beaver to get in a fight with a girl) Ward would admit his mistake and teach his sons a lesson in the process.

Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable- The Cosby Show

Cliff Huxtable was able to manage raising five kids while being a successful doctor. On top of that, he amassed the most awesome sweater collection in the history of TV fatherdom. Dr. Huxtable’s advice to his children was always based on common sense mixed with a wisecrack. Dr. Huxtable taught his children that personal responsibility is the key to success in life. For example, even though his son, Theo, had dyslexia, Dr. Huxtable still expected him to excel in life and not use his learning disorder as an excuse. If only more dads were like Dr. Huxtable.

Jim Anderson- Father Knows Best

Jim Anderson, the patriarch of this almost perfect 1950s family, was a successful insurance agent at work and a fantastic dad at home. Jim always ended each episode by teaching his children some important moral lesson. The show is a bit campy and isn’t a reflection of what real family life is like, but Jim Anderson is definitely a refreshing portrayal of an American dad when all you see these days are a bunch of dopey fathers on TV.

Mike Brady- The Brady Bunch

Mike Brady, a widower (another widower!), was faced with the challenge of integrating his three sons with another woman’s brood of three girls. He handled the situation by being both a strict disciplinarian and an empathetic guy. He had a home office/studio in his house so he could work part of the time at home, and even when he went to his real office, he came home around the time the kids returned from school. He won “Father of the Year” on the show after Marcia submitted an essay in his praise to a newspaper. While clearly a stellar dad, Mike gets docked for abandoning his man haircut for a curly perm, and pulling a no-show for Greg’s high school graduation

Eric Camden- 7th Heaven

Of all the best TV dads on this list, Eric Camden is the only one who was introduced in the last ten years. Eric was a father to seven children and a minister at a local church where he spent time helping churchgoers and troubled teens. Each episode took on some moral lesson that Eric’s family had to deal with directly or indirectly. Issues like alcoholism, pre-marital sex, and self injury were dealt with on a regular basis. Eric was a good example of a father trying to keep his kids on the right path in a world that’s constantly telling them to go down the wrong one.

Howard Cunningham- Happy Days

Mr. Cunningham (or “Mr. C.” as the Fonz lovingly called him) was not only the dad to Richie and Joanie Cunningham, but he also acted as a father figure for the Fonz (who Mr. C let move into the family garage), Ralph Malph, and Potsie. He always laid down the law in his house. He was never his kids’ friend, but was always their loving authority figure. Although he loses points for not losing any sleep when his son Chuck disappeared in the second season, in general, Mr. C was a great dad.

TV’s Worst Dads

Tony Soprano- The Sopranos

Sure, Tony was able to provide for his family as a “garbage man,” but other than that, the guy was a lousy father. It’s tough to be raised by a professional criminal who knocks off people, including your boyfriend, with little remorse. Tony cheated on his wife and had a strained relationship with his children. As a result, his kids suffered from some serious emotional issues.

Al Bundy- Married With Children

Al Bundy had no redeeming qualities. He was loser who wished he could go back to his high school days when he was a football star. Sitting on the couch with his hand in his pants, he doled out criticism to his family with apathetic aplomb. He was stuck in a dead end job as a shoe salesman, and couldn’t even excel in that capacity. He was up to his ears in debt. His relationship with his kids was poor and his attitude toward women, including his wife, was deplorable. If you want a lesson on how not to be a man, watch Married with Children.

Archie Bunker- All in the Family

All in the Family was a critically acclaimed show that broke boundaries in regards to race, religion, and gender all thanks to Archie Bunker, the most bigoted old man in television history. Archie pretty much spent his entire time sitting in his living room chair spouting off racial epithets and calling his son-in-law “Meathead.” While Archie started to soften up as the series progressed, he was still pretty much a racist jackass.

Frank Costanza- Seinfeld

There’s a reason why George Costanza was a paranoid shell of a man- his father, Frank Costanza. Frank Costanza was a loud, neurotic, and abrasive man. Frank always found some way to make George’s life more difficult. In the episode where George Steinbrenner, George’s boss and the owner of the Yankees, comes to tell George’s parents about George’s apparent death, Frank Costanza screams at Steinbrenner for trading Jay Buhner. Thanks dad. Frank Costanza does get points for inventing Festivus, but those points are canceled out by his creation of “the bro.”

Peter Griffin- Family Guy

Peter Griffin is a lousy father. He makes fun of Chris, pays no attention to Stewie, and treats Meg like crap. His selling of Meg to pay off a debt at the local drug store is a perfect example of his failure as a dad. A father that sells his daughter into slavery deserves to be hit across the face with the baseball bat. Of course, if that happened to Peter, it would be hilarious. And probably involve some kind of wacky TV sitcom flashback.

John Locke’s Dad- Lost

Before the crash of Oceanic Flight 815, John Locke had some serious father issues. First, his dad abandoned him as a child. As an adult, he finally reunites with him, but instead of hugs and tears of joy, John’s dad cons John out of a kidney and then abandons his son once more. Later on, John Locke and his dad cross paths again and Locke is this time greeted with a shove out the window of an eight story building. Consequently, Locke becomes paralyzed. But hey! There’s nothing like being stuck on some mysterious island to work through all these daddy issues!

Arthur Spooner-King of Queens

Jerry Stiller makes another appearance on this list as an annoying dad. On King of Queens he plays a dad quite like his character on Seinfeld, albeit with somewhat less yelling. He still loses his temper though and makes life difficult for his daughter Carrie. He lives for free with Carrie and her husband Doug, but never seems grateful for this privilege. Doug and Carrie can seldom get alone time, and when they try to, Arthur makes them feel guilty for it.

Gob Bluth- Arrested Development

Gob (pronounced like the Biblical character Job) works as a part-time magician and beauty contest judge. He was formally a male stripper, working as one of the “Hot Cops.” During one of Gob’s many one night stands during high school, he unknowingly fathered Steve Holt. Gob doesn’t find out that he’s Steve’s dad until Steve is a senior in high school. Gob doesn’t know how to deal with this new found responsibility and Steve is surely disappointed that his long lost dad scoots about town on a Segway.

Jack Bauer-24

Sure, having a terrorist fighting bad ass for a father would be really cool in many ways. But his passion for his job has enormously detrimental effects on his family. Bauer’s job is to save American lives, but this puts the lives of his family at risk. His own life is always in danger, he’s never at home, his wife Teri is killed, his daughter Kim is kidnapped several times, and her relationship with her dad is understandably strained.

Ray Barone- Everybody Loves Raymond

Ray is a good natured and funny guy, but definitely falls into the “incompetent man-child” stereotype currently dominating the airwaves. He’s not good at communicating, and cracks a joke instead of dealing with things seriously. He’s still tied to his mom’s apron strings and can’t confront her. While he works from home, he doesn’t spend much time with his kids and wife, preferring to watch TV. When he does spend time with his kids, he prefers his twin sons over his daughter. He’s not sure how to relate to her since she’s a girl and so buys her gifts to solve her problems or makes his wife deal with it.

Lessons From Our Fathers

Posted: 13 Jun 2008 12:46 AM CDT

Photo by Tobyotter

This past week we’ve been celebrating Father’s Day by running a series of posts about dear old dad. On Tuesday we asked our readers to share with us lessons imparted by their old man. Whether you were just hoping for an Outback steak or truly wanted to share some of your father’s wisdom, the response was phenomenal. We really enjoyed reading the lessons from your dads; they were both funny and touching. We’ve gone through the comments and have picked out some highlights:

On Manning Up

From Grapfx:

My father taught me to never be idle and keep yourself busy no matter what. Make sure things are fixed and everyone in the house is happy and safe. As sick as he was, he still helped out the neighbors, took care of his pets and raised my nephew. He also taught me about good music, Benny Hill, The Three Stooges, and all good things that are manly.

From Sam:

Whenever I struggled or failed, dad would always tell me “Stuck it up and go.”

From Pentagack:

Admit to your mistakes, even if it’s brutally painful. It’s better to be honest than to have to live with yourself as a liar. Just don’t be an ass or a jerk about being honest - use tact.

From Bryan:

My father showed me through example that it doesn’t matter what mistakes a man makes in life. What matters is if he owns up to them. When starting the quest to become a man your goal should be clear. To be the best that you can possibly be. And no matter how many years pass, no matter how much good you can accomplish you can always do better.

From Bill V:

If you need to be somewhere, but don’t necessarily want to:
- Show up
- Shut up (don’t whine about it)
- Get it over with
- Then do something you want to (redemption)

From Vance R:

When I was about 10 or 11, our Great Dane got out of the yard…I chased her for a few blocks until she stopped and tore up an older man’s pristine flower bed. The man came out and yelled at me, and told me to go get my father and come back to settle the damages. I finally got our dog restrained and took her back home, crying all the way.

I told my Dad the story, and we headed over to talk to the man. I don’t remember what they settled on (it was over 20 years ago), but my Dad calmly defused the situation. When he got back into the car, he taught me something about the art of negotiation and dealing with people while they are angry. Basically, he said in his unique fashion: “That man shouldn’t have started out with his ass on his shoulders.”

I learned that staying calm while arguing really does work out better for everyone. Now that I’m married and have a son of my own, that has come in quite handy…

From Chad:

My dad taught me that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. It sure gets tiring, but he was right.

From Ryan:

My father taught me how to fail and persevere. Miss you dad.

From Jen:

My dad once offered my chatterbox sister $5.00 if she could go a whole day without speaking. I started bugging him to let me do it, because I could just go in my room and read with no trouble whatsoever. He said, “No, I’ll give you $5.00 if you can go a full day without feeling sorry for yourself.” I naturally responded, “That’s not fair!” So my sister made it a few hours, whereas I immediately lost my $5.00. So my father taught me not to feel sorry for myself.

From Corey W.:

“Never start a fight, but if someone starts one with you, kick their ass and deal with the consequences later. It will teach them a lesson and show everyone that you are not one to push - because you will push back harder.”

From DPM:

Only I choose who I am and how I act towards others. How they react to me is out of my control, but I am in total control of how I react to them. I choose to treat everyone with respect.
Pay attention to your personal appearance. Every day when I dress, I am choosing how to represent myself to the public. Even casual dress should be done with careful attention.

From Chris:

My dad taught me that it is important to keep a positive attitude, even when things are going wrong because your attitude can have a profound effect on how things turn out. Turning your life around, or making improvements will only occur when you have a positive attitude.

Along those lines, he also taught me that when life is not going your way, it is a sign of weakness to walk around with stooped shoulders, sighing a lot so others will see that you’re not having a good day. This is especially true if you lash out at others and take out your frustrations on them. The only thing you show anyone by behaving this way is that your lack self-control, and have a weak character.

The Love of a Father

From Showtime:

My dad always had one phrase that stuck with me. “You can fix anything but a broken heart.” I remember countless times bringing him a broken toy or action figure with tears in my eyes and then just watching him fix it. He would hand it back and tell me that phrase. Anytime I need help now I just call him up and he has the answer.

From Andrew Barbour:

My own father died about seven years ago, but I’ll share something he did that I will never forget. One Christmas, when I was about seven, I started having my doubts about Santa Claus, so I came up with something vaguely more sophisticated than leaving out milk and cookies and check to see if they had been eaten the next morning. In our fireplace (full of ash, but unlit on Christmas eve of course), I put a bunch of empty plastic gallon milk containers. Santa, if real, would crush them all with his big rear end.

Needless to say, when I came downstairs, all the milk cartons had been crushed into a big butt-shaped dent, and my belief in Santa Claus was impenetrable for the next three years. It never dawned on me during that time that it was my dad that did that.

Even though I don’t celebrate Christmas anymore, I will always remember what my dad taught me, and what I will bear in mind with my own son: It’s worth ruining a pair of pants to indulge your kid’s imagination.

From Barry:

My Dad taught me that your relationships with other people are the most important things in life.

He also showed me what it means to be a father by being there for me every day of my life. He didn’t get drunk or indulge in other vices, he worked his ass off every single day, he told me he loved me every day and gave me hugs every time he came home and before he left. I can now pass on what I have learned to my two boys and help them to grow up to be great Dads.

From DPM:

It is the role of a father to protect and defend his children, rationally. When times get rough when parenting, as they will, a father needs to be calm, learn all the facts, and act lovingly towards his children no matter what. Reacting emotionally and without details is always the wrong choice.

From Another Brandy:

During my teenage years, my dad repeatedly told me that he was my father, not my friend, which seemed to me at the time a completely asinine thing to say. Of course I wouldn’t be friends with such an out-of-touch asshole.

Looking back and comparing where I am emotionally and physically to my friends who had parent-friends, I can see that he was exactly right — and that’s what I strive to be for my children, a parent, not a friend.

Balancing Work and Family

From Corey W.

My father owned his own pharmacy for about 6 years (which he sold for good profit), between my ages of 11 to 17 (prime years for an adolescent). Many weeks he worked a minimum of 60 hours, leaving before the sun came up and always coming home late. However; in all of that, he would always make it to any sporting event or extra-curricular activity that was possible. Never complaining of how tired he was, just showing how proud he was of me. That to me, showed not only how you can balance a career and a family, while remaining successful, but also showed me that hard work and a pure work ethic will take you where you want to be in life

From Dean O.

My dad taught me to leave my work in the office when I come home. Everyday i ask him about work, he always replies, “it just keeps getting better all the time.” It really shows me what’s important (family) and what’s not (your job).

From Pentagack:

It doesn’t pay to be a (fill in your own high earning profession here) at the expense of spending time with your family. My dad is a doctor.

From Shakeel:

Family dinner is not optional. The time to sit down, turn off the TV, and talk about each other’s day, politics, or anything else builds unity like nothing else. If that means that dinner is served at 8:30 or 9:30 every night, so be it.

Relationship Advice

From DPM:

It is the role of a husband to never speak negatively of his wife. Any man who speaks poorly of his spouse to others is declaring himself a fool.

From Dean:

My father once told me, “Don’t ever date a woman whose father called her princess.”

From Pentagack:

Even if you’re not around a whole lot, your kids still have a chance of not getting terribly screwed up if you marry the right woman.

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