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[–] l23r 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago 

Wasn't that the case with "older" sitcoms as well though? Even though Roseanne and Al Bundys wife weren't the sharpest crayons in the box, they were Mensa material compared to their husbands.


[–] GoofyGrape 0 points 6 points (+6|-0) ago 

I think your larger point is correct. In fairness, I was somewhat including the two shows you referenced as the leading edge of this trope. To clarify my point, I think the concept of the stupid dad has been exaggerated more in shows the last 20 years, especially with the increase in cartoon shows, which allows fictional dads access to greater levels of incompetence. In addition, there aren't the counterbalance sitcoms that would show dads in a positive light. It's not just that people growing up are seeing dads in a negative light, it's that they are only seeing dads in a negative light, especially compared to mom. This just doesn't reflect reality. In reality, there are plenty of competent dads who know how to get shit done.

Regarding your specific examples, I thought Al Bundy of Married with Children was more a lout, not necessarily grossly incompetent. Roseanne was shown as smarter than her husband, but it was her show after all, and again her husband was not necessarily grossly incompetent. I don't remember the sitcom dad trope from the Cosby Show or Family Ties or other shows from the 80's / early 90's. Going back even further, you can find examples of dads having flaws (Archie Bunker, I Dream of Jeanie, The Dick van Dyke Show), but dads did not have perpetually dangerous levels of stupidity nor were the wives perpetually competent.

At some point in the early 90s I stopped watching sitcoms altogether (too vapid). There is a good article in The Onion about people asking for reparations from watching Sitcoms; like many Onion articles, it hits close to home for me.