Big Picture

When I first started this project, I thought I had a pretty good idea as to how fathers are portrayed in the media. I thought of fathers like Homer Simpson, who is a fool that doesn’t always treat his family with respect, or on the opposite end people like Bill Cosby, who is always preaching thoughtful lessons to his family. What I found was that there was indeed a lot of fathers that are like Homer Simpson, but there were also quite a few that were in between. I also found some interesting research on the subject of fathers in the media, particularly TV that changed my opinion that all fathers are portrayed as not really being family men.

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The Simpsons, http://www.simpsonsworld.com/ created by Matt Groening, airs on Fox Broadcasting Company. Debuted on December 17th, 1989 and is still on. The Simpsons is about a family of five. There is a father, Homer, and his wife and three children. He often pretends like he is going to strangle his son, and his daughter baffles him because she is really smart and claims to be a feminist, and his baby daughter is often forgotten about. He constantly messes up and frustrates his wife, yet he still has a good paying job, a nice house, and a car that runs.

This is not the way I view myself as a father. I work hard, and still have car trouble. I can’t mess up in the way that he does or I won’t have a good job. The other difference is that I have a different relationship with both of my children, but it is not as exaggerated as it is in The Simpsons. I do feel frustrated with the decisions my children make, but I would never want to strangle them. I also can’t imagine forgetting that I have one in the way that Homer forgets about the baby.

This view of fatherhood can be a negative thing for people to see because it can give people the impression that it is ok to be a screw up. It is funny, and the show is supposed to be a comedy, but in reality, if a father behaves the way Homer behaves then he would be without a job, without a nice house, and possibly without a nice family. I also think that the way that the son disrespects that father is not a good influence on young boys. If my son spoke to me in the way that Bart speaks to his father, then he would be in some trouble.

Another show that I researched for this paper is called 7th Heaven.

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This show is somewhat the opposite of The Simpsons because it is more serious and considered a TV Drama. 7th Heaven has an audience of families on Sunday nights. It was created and produced by Brenda Hampton and first aired on August 26th, 1996 on the WB. 7th Heaven ran for 11 seasons. Because this show is not considered a comedy, it is more realistic in the relationships that the family have, especially with the father.

The family in this show, the Camden family, is typical in that it has a father that works and a mother that stays at home and cares for the children. The father is a minister which leads to a religious theme throughout the show. The father is not always perfect, but he tried to be a good person. The family tries to live moral lives, even though some members struggle with that more than others.

I feel that I strive to be more like the father in this family. I also think that, religious viewpoints aside, most fathers strive to be loving and caring the way that this father is with his family. The show can be a bit cheesy, and lacks the comedy that The Simpsons has, but the father in this show is more of a role model for fathers because even though he does make mistakes, and can get upset with his family, he always tries to be the best father and husband he can be. His job of a minister helps lend a morality to his character, but most fathers could relate to him and the way that he loves his family.

The fact that this family is religious plays into their decisions. Each episode tried to show them taking a moral high ground. They struggle with things that most families struggle with, selfishness, dishonesty, and frustration, but the father in the family tries to instill in the children the morals that come with Christian values. This is different from a lot of other tv shows where the fathers are uninvolved or are the laughing stock of the family. The father in this show is respected and his ministry as a pastor is valued.

 

Another thing that I found interesting in this show is that they are very traditional with their roles. This could be a reason that families might not relate as much to this one. With more and more families comprised of different structures, such as single parents or parents that are same sex, this show might make them feel that it doesn’t truly represent them. I, myself, am in a more traditional family so the father in 7th Heaven is more relatable to me, but I could see how others might not relate to him as much.

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Another show that has an interesting father character is Kind of the Hill. King of the Hill was created by Greg Daniels and Mike Judge and it first aired on January 12, 1997 on Fox. This show is about a family, but it is mainly for adults to watch. This one is also a comedy, like The Simpsons, but it is a little more serious and realistic.

King of the Hill is about the Hill family that live in Arlen, Texas. The Father, Hank, has a job at a propane store selling propane. They are traditional family and they try to take the moral high ground as often as they can. It is a comedy, but there is a seriousness to the issues that the family faces. He has a wife who works part time and does other things to help out the family. They have one son named Bobby who is in elementary school and Hank tries to help Bobby out with the many struggles that Bobby faces in his every day life.

Bobby is on the verge of puberty and is overweight. He is friendly but doesn’t always make the best decisions. Hank is often worried about Bobby’s decisions and worries about Bobby becoming a sissy. There are many episodes where Hank talks with his wife about how he doesn’t want Bobby to do certain things or feel certain ways because he doesn’t want him to become weak or a sissy.

As a father of a young boy myself I can relate to a lot of the predicaments that Hank has about his son’s actions. I think that I definitely don’t worry as much as Hank does, but this worrying shows a certain kind of love that he has for his son. I never really thought about the kind of father Hank Hill was until I researched the show for this assignment. I think that there are a lot of fathers that can relate to him and even though he isn’t always right in his delivery he means well. Most fathers can have moments where their delivery is off, but they want the best for their children.

When I first started out researching shows I was surprised that there were more fathers that were positive role models than I thought. There are many shows that have characters like Homer Simpson, but there are also those that are more positive, even in the comedy genre. I am not a minister, and I don’t think that I am a perfect father, but I try to be the best dad that I can be, even if I get frustrated with my children from time to time. More fathers are needed on TV who are available to their children and who enjoy their children in the way that most fathers do.

 

references:
Brenda Hampton. 7th Heaven. The WB 1996-2007 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115083/

Greg Daniels, Mike Judge. King of the Hill. Fox Broadcasting Company. 1997-2010. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118375/

Matt Groening, The Simpsons, Fox Broadcasting Company. 1989-present. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096697/

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5 thoughts on “Big Picture

  1. Hello Gutierrez,

    I really enjoyed your blog post, how short and sweet is was. I totally saw how this piece you chose reflected on your own life and how fathers are represented in the media. I love how you showed extremes in your opening paragraph, a kook like Homer Simpson or an articulate influencer like Bill Cosby. The artifacts you chose were really good, some I hadn’t even heard of but all showed the wide range of the portrayal of fathers.

    Thank you!
    Isabella

  2. Hello Gutierrez,
    I found your blog post very interesting. The range of artifacts you used were vast and different from each other. You managed to walk the readers through your discovery and the perceptions that existed in social media about fathers. I liked the mention of traditional families in your blog post. Your interpretation of how every father(in each show) is very different and there existed different people who could relate to it, is another point I found interesting.
    -Gomathy

  3. Hi Gutierrez,

    I enjoyed reading your post and thought you had some great points. First off, I think that your choice to research about fathers in the media was interesting as it’s not something that I can identify with nor think about a lot. That being said, I liked that you had a descriptive summary of the shows as someone who hasn’t seen some of the shows, it allowed me to dial into your points and understand your viewpoint better. It was interesting to read about how you as a father relate to or have different ways of parenting than the ones you talked about from your artifacts. Great work!

    Best,
    Eileen

  4. Hi Gutierrez!
    I enjoyed your post and found it very interesting that you found 3 different examples of fathers and how you felt about each of their character and explained how you related to them. I liked your explanation of the Simpsons father and how although funny as a TV show, his antics are bad and in the real world, he would not make a great father. I also agreed with your statement on how his son talks back in a bad manner and again, it may be funny on the show, it sets a bad example to children who may think that it is alright to do that. Me personally do not talk back to my parents out of the respect I have for them.

  5. Hi Gutierrez,

    Your blog post is extremely interested and I think you chose a very interesting topic. I think that this is a perfect topic for you as you can relate to it on a personal level. Through your research your initial interpretation of fathers in the media changed. Now you have identified that there are a lot of positive role models in the media. I like how you spoke about the father figure in each show.

    Thanks
    Brianna Thompson

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