Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Dog is the Town Slut (and Other Pearls of Wisdom)

Okay, the title doesn't have much to do with the post except to say that although I was guaranteed she was fixed when we adopted her, she turns out to be quite fertile and in heat.

I was driving home today listening to Shop Vac by JoCo, when I began to remember (for some strange unrelated reason) the show Home Improvement. Last year I began to watch the series on DVR mostly in order, and discovered something that I didn't realize when the episodes were new...it was a good show!

Please bear with me for a moment, I'm not talking about the fandom obsession with Jonathon Taylor Thomas that was all the rage when I was a pre-teen, nor am I necessarily talking about the acting or improbable situations. I was instead struck by how down-to-earth and realistic the family dynamics were. In most "family" comedies today the main male character (sometimes the husband but more often than not a live-in boyfriend, ugh) is portrayed as just plain dumb with no redeeming qualities.

Tim Taylor, however, was more. He was a show-off and pulled stupid stunts, sure. I think that's indicative of many guys. But he was first and foremost a husband and strong father. He was involved in his children's lives, stuck with his wife through thick and thin, and wasn't afraid to do what was right for his family. In addition, he was smart and understood quite often what his sage-like neighbor, Wilson, was advising even if he couldn't paraphrase very well. Something else I always liked was that he was portrayed as a "manly-man", not some wimpy effeminate, androgynous, pussy-whipped wanna-be girlie-man.

Besides the strong main male character, the other thing Home Improvement had going for it was the strong family support. Each member worked to build up the family without going overboard (7th Heaven, anyone?), and everyone had a definitive role that was flexible over time. When faced with an outside problem they often banded together in a united front.

Why can't television today have similar qualities?

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