Wednesday, January 22, 2014
I blame Marcus Welby.
There has been a rant going on amongst cultural/theological conservatives for thirty years, at least, to wit, that pop culture is denigrating the person and role of the father, leading to the mess we see today.
It has gone on longer than that. As an old time radio fan, I listen to a lot of, well, old time radio (just call me Jeffty). Two notable series are "Father Knows Best" and "Life of Riley". FKB started in 1949, and is about a midwest family and their day-to-day hijinks. "Riley" is about a somewhat loveable oaf, Chester Riley, his family, and their day-to-day hijinks. Both shared a similar issue: Dad is the foil for the wife and kids, who are limitlessly more clever than he. In "Father" at least they allow Jim Anderson to think that Father knows best, or to think that they think it. Poor Riley is constantly drubbed by his harridan of a wife (well, that's how she comes across to me) and is shown up by his kinder as well. Life is not kind to Riley, which shines forth in the fact that his best counselor is "Digger" O'Dell, the Friendly Undertaker (arguably the best character on the show...for me the ONLY reason to listen. FKB does not even have that saving grace.) The doctrine is clear: dad is a fool (and by extension, men). The Simpsons and their like are latecomers to the party.
Father Knows Best archive
Life of Riley archive