I have many male friends who are caring and responsible dads. I know no fewer than three stay-at-home dads who are the primary caregiver for their children, as well as being the ones maintaining the household: they shoulder the bulk of the cooking, cleaning, and errand-running duties while their wives work outside the home bringing in the primary salary. And they do a great job of it, too.
The dumbest people in ads: Dad bracket
How many dads in ads are idiots? Almost all of them.
All of which makes me extremely sensitive to the issue of idiot dads. Why is it that dads are a commercial's go-to character when they need someone to be a bumbling fool? And then the wife swoops in and solves his problem with a knowing smile. As a hard-core feminist, let me be the first to say that this problem demeans us all.
When I started trying to pick two idiot dads in ads, I couldn't do it. Instead, I divided it into two buckets: Sick Dads and Bad Parent Dads.
Sick Dads are found in commercials for over the counter cold and flu medicines. These ads presume that the men in your life will be reduced to a pile of idiocy the instant they come down with a cold. They snore, whine, sneeze, and stagger through life as if they were suffering from a lobotomy instead of the common cold.
Bad Parent Dads are dads who - through some wacky series of events - find themselves actually having to act as parents to their own children. In the real world, Bad Parent Dads typically hit, neglect, or abandon their children. But in the ad world, Bad Parent Dads do wacky things like feed their kids cereal for dinner, or try to "accidentally" ruin their daughter's too-skimpy skirt.
A decent parent would either sit down with his daughter and have a conversation with her about gender roles, age brackets, and inappropriate behavior, or he would throw her skirt away. A real-world Bad Parent Dad would shrug it off or ignore it. But an advertising Bad Parent Dad wipes engine grease on the skirt, assuming that it is now ruined.
Who wins? In the end, I think the Sick Dads are the dumbest. Because bad parenting is a choice, and being a parent can indeed be a challenging task. But any idiot knows that when you get sick, you can buy medicine that makes you feel less sick.
In the next bracket, "Sick Dads" versus "Stupid Totino's Kid," I'm going to have to go with "Sick Dads." When it comes to life skills, the older you are, the more you should have accumulated. I can forgive a stupid kid's inability to feed himself more than I can excuse a grown-ass adult's inability to medicate his own illness.