01 October 2009

Laughing at Dads

We stayed home from church last night to care for Owen. This gave me a chance to rest—I've been busy every night with meetings and movings it seems—and to check out some of the new fall shows on TV.

One of my big pet peeves is the way dads are portrayed on sitcoms. It bugged me back when I was a kid, watching the hapless Mr. Keaton on my favorite show, Family Ties, stutter and bumble his way through situations, consistently outsmarted by his teens or his wife. It really bugs me now when I see the way Disney Channel divas talk to their dads—or those who apparently don't have dads at all like Sonny with a Chance. What's going on there?

Last night I caught two new sitcoms: Hank and Modern Family.

My one word review of Hank is this: "Crickets." I didn't laugh a single time. Huh? I liked Kelsey Grammar in Cheers and Frasier, but his character is woefully unprepared for fatherhood. Did anyone ever think, "Wouldn't Frasier make a great dad?" Never. Instead the comedy was high-brow, and the writing and acting was top-notch. Hank has a great concept—a dad is downsized and forced to move from Manhattan to small-town Virginia. I didn't stick around to the end, and I just turned it off.

Modern Family, on the other hand, had me rolling on the floor with a busted gut. The quartet of dads on this show are flawlessly acted. They are very human—and very, very hilarious. The show is shot mockumentary-style, so there are plenty of uncomfortable looks at the camera and uncomfortable pauses to bring out the humor. Only, this is funnier than The Office, in my opinion, and I'm a big Office fan.

A few highlights:

  • Cameron trying to dance like a "straight dad" at Lila's play date
  • The look on Phil's face when the sexy, next-door divorcee returns his bike, says to him and his wife, Claire, "They put this in my garage while you were climbing in my bedroom window."
  • Anything that follows the words, "We have a saying in Colombia…" Trust me, it's funny.

No comments: