Father’s Day is upon us my friends, so I thought I’d throw a little “timeliness” into one of my posts. The relationship between father and child is a timeless and intricate dynamic. There are many different examples of these in our pop culture zeitgeist and I’ll highlight some of the more prevalent types from films and shows like The Godfather, Star Wars, The Royal Tenenbaums, Arrested Development and more.
Meet The Buffoon: the hopelessly inept father-figure of most sitcoms that spends his days drinking, sleeping and eating many a donut. This is the dad that wants to be your best friend. He is masterfully skilled at hair-brained-schemes that somehow avoid his logical death, imprisonment or at the very least divorce. In his own perverse way he loves his family (for the most part); now if he only had a brain…
Popular examples : Homer Simpson, Peter Griffin, Phil Dunphy, Tobias Fünkhe, G.O.B Bluth…ok all of the Bluth dads.
The Ogre Father
Joseph Campbell describes the “Ogre Father” as the classic mythic example of father vs. son. The father is seen as the first invader into the womb, and therefore an enemy. The Ogre Father almost always sees the offspring as weak and unworthy of his legacy/fortune/banana stand. These guys are usually mean, manipulative and probably slightly evil. Don’t be surprised if the son tries to chop off Daddy’s arm, or vice versa.
Popular examples: Darth Vader, Norman Osborn (Spider-Man), George Bluth, Royal Tenenbaum
Good Dad, Bad Guy
Don’t you ever think that your dad might love you more if he was a hardened criminal? No? Weird. These dads justify their law-breaking ways as acts of familial self-preservation. This means that racketeering, meth lab-making and slaughtering a bunch of little baby Jedi is totally cool if you’re doing it for love. Wrong thing, right reason. Oh Dad, you’re so crazy!
Popular examples: Walter White (Breaking Bad), Darth Vader (again), Tony Soprano, Vito Corleone and Michael Corleone.
Dads who blame their Dads
“Because I hate fathers and I never wanted to be one” – Steve Zissou. Some fathers try so hard to be the opposite of their father that it ruins their children’s view of them in return. These guys really take on the burden of “sins of the father” and pass it on to their son and so on. A whole lot of resentment resides in these guys. Therapy recommended.
Popular examples: Steve Zissou, Chas Tenenbaum, Michael Corleone, Michael Bluth, Roy Harper/Red Arrow (Green Arrow)