Friday, June 17, 2011

Just in time for Father's Day...

Diabolical Dads

This weekend families everywhere will take time to celebrate all the ways they have been blessed by the dads in their lives. Gifts will be given and hugs exchanged and all of the tender, fatherly moments of wisdom, guidance and love will be remembered.

Sometimes, though, it's fun to head on over to the darker side and take another look at those dastardly dads we love to hate. These film and television characters have parenting styles that would give any family counselor the chills, but they sure can entertain us.

On TV:
  • Archie Bunker All in the Family - He is the patriarch of badly-behaved TV dads.
  • Al Bundy Married With Children - Al would probably sell his wife and kids for a some alone time -- if anyone would buy them.
  • Homer Simpson The Simpsons - As a dad, he is best characterized by this iconic image:
  • Peter Griffen Family Guy - Another animated example of over-the-top bad parenting, Peter is not the ideal family man.
  • Dexter Morgan Dexter - Here's a quote from the new dad/serial killer: "Wanna know a secret? Daddy kills people." Enough said.
At the Movies:
  • Darth Vader (James Earl Jones & David Prowse) The Empire Strikes Back 1980 - Dismembering your kid with a light saber will not win you a Father of the Year award.
  • Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) The Shining 1980 (Not a good year for dads.) - Nothing says daddy's home like, "Heeeere's Johnny!"
  • Dr. Evil (Mike Meyers) Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery 1997 - "I hate you! I hate you! I wish I was never artificially created in a lab!" Poor Scott Evil.
  • "Dad" Meiks (Bill Paxton) Frailty 2002 - Axe-murder is not the typical father/son bonding ritual.
  • Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) There Will Be Blood 2007 - Papa Plainview should have known better. Ruthless ambitious and violent paranoia are not character traits that engender filial piety.
What is it about these guys that make them so fun to watch? I honestly don't know, but this weekend, you and the dad in your life can relax on the couch with some popcorn and enjoy the exploits of some of these diabolical on-screen dads.

Did I miss any? Which fictional father-figure do you love to hate?


Roberta said...

The abusive father in A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley. Is he cruel? Crazy? Pathetic? I vote for crazy AND cruel, by the way. The "father with a secret life" is another secret possibility, like the absent dad in Broken For You, who accumulated his wealth on the backs of the dispossessed of World War Two.

Laura A. said...

I always got a kick out of Archie Bunker's abuse, misuse, and mispronunciation of the English language: eavesdrOOping instead of eavesdropping, for example.

One of the all-time evil and creepy fathers, in my opinion, was Robert Duvall as the father of Karl, played by Billy Bob Thornton, in Sling Blade. He was only on screen for a brief time, but his portrayal is hard to forget.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a clever topic! So witty!

Gus said...

I always loved how Al Bundy professed to hate his family, yet always rose to their defense. Given the chance to stray from his marital vows, he never did. Ever put-upon, yet strangely happy in his own way.

Except for the extent, I can relate to his love affair with his old car, to which he seemed more attached than anyone else in his home. Except possibly for his toilet.

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