1. Damn You, Phil Dunphy!

    Sunday, June 26, 2011

    This dude:


    ...was seriously cramping my enjoyment of Modern Family.

    I was recently introduced to this show by way of the first three episodes (sorry, late to the party), and taking into consideration the oft-tumultuous first steps most shows go through, I thought it had some really promising elements. One of them is NOT the above fellow.

    Phil Dunphy is literally the doofiest TV dad ever. That title is REALLY HARD TO EARN. In a sea of TV dads that are incompetent, unsexy lame-o's, Phil Dunphy is the prince of them all. Worse than Ray Romano, worse than Tim Allen. In his own way, this character is essentially as cartoonish and unbelievable as Homer Simpson - but less likeable.

    In the three episodes I watched, the character highlight of Phil Dunphy was being struck in the face with a toy airplane. Seriously. Other accomplishments include: Stealing another child's bike in a misguided parental lesson, Crashing-and-burning through rejecting the advances of an attractive neighbour - and still managing to get in trouble with the wife, and foolishly challenging said (athletic) wife to a footrace and failing to realize her incredibly obvious throwing of the race to nurse his fragile ego. At one point, this same wife refers to "all her kids, even the one she married" (Cue the cleaning product commercial).

    Everything about Phil Dunphy is terrible. He is awkward with women (including his wife of 16 years), ill-equipped as a father, unathletic, has a poor sense of humour, and sucks at making and doing things. The third episode attempts to come up with reasons to like this character, and the best it manages is "He tries really hard".

    The show is called Modern Family, and the other two families are actually pretty interesting. We have a gay couple raising an adopted Vietnamese daughter, and an interracial couple with a large age-gap between them. Sure there's cliche in each of these characters (cantankerous, unemotional dad; OCD, argyle-wearing gay man), but these are at worst, slightly adventurous scenarios with familiar sitcom faces. I don't expect anything seriously cutting-edge out of primetime TV.

    However. Attractive, put-together supermom married to 'lumbering man-beast' is possibly the most played-out formula on TV. Why, why, why does the zombie corpse of dork-dad hyperbole still dominate how North American culture portrays fatherhood? Why couldn't the third family be something actually modern? Why not a single-parent household?

    Doofy dad seriously needs to die, and stay dead.
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  2. 1 comments:

    1. When men grow up seeing only variations of Doofy Dad, it gives them permission to be doofy dads themselves. They may even feel that is the role expected of them, or at least that no one will blame them for being total fuck-ups. Then they will expect their long-suffering wives to bail them out.

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