A Dad Shows Up In Pop Media

Dad hasn’t fared well in pop culture for a long time. I suppose there have been a few positive portrayals of father in pop culture in recent decades but it isn’t easy to think of them. Dad did reasonably well in the post-war 50s. Beaver’s father was a decent guy but when the anti-heroes came to dominate in the 60s, Dad became irrelevant, malevolent, or a doofus. Walt Disney must have had Daddy issues because all his father figures are morons who need to be instructed by brilliant, wise, insightful teen-agers. He knew his baby-boomer market. The most prominent Dad figure since the early 80s has probably been Homer Simpson. Doh! Bill Cosby was a counter-punch but that seems like a million years ago. The 70s Show’s Red Foreman was a mixed figure for whom I nevertheless have some affection. This Cheerios guy is a bit of a super hero but at least it’s a positive portrayal. Peanut Butter cereal is a crime against nature, however.

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  1. Yes, it is a crime against nature. Actually, I’ve been encouraged seeing a positive portrayl of a dad in “The Middle,” with Patricia Heaton. Should check it out sometime.

    • You’re right, The Middle shows a counter-(TV)-cultural dad who is comfortable in his masculinity, and often fed up with wife&kids, but not to an Al Bundy extent.

  2. Negative portrayals of dads and husbands, especially in commercials, has been a pet peeve of mine for years. This ad is nice, a bit over the top, but a move in the right direction.

    As for peanut butter at breakfast, the more the better! Anything with peanut butter or peanut butter-y is food from heaven. Clearly, those who view it a crime have some work to do on their sanctification! 🙂

  3. I think it’s a great ad. I don’t know who General Mills’ advertising agency is, but they also came up with the multiracial family ad for Cheerios (sans peanut butter) that ran last year – and that General Mills continued to run in the face of a racist backlash against it. As far as positive and original Cheerios ads go, that ad agency is now 2 for 2.

  4. “Bill Cosby was a counter-punch but that seems like a million years ago.”

    The “Dr. Huxtable” character on the Cosby Show was presented as a “positive” father figure by contemporary standards because he was duly submitted to his emotionally-manipulative, feminist lawyer wife, who had him wrapped around her pretty finger in the most charming mannner. Plus, while he was not portrayed as a typical Simpson-esque “doofus,” he was presented at times as a bumbling goofball.

  5. I am with you 100%! That ad is indeed quite refreshing, and peanut butter cereals are gross.

    Worst cereal ever: PEANUT BUTTER Cap’n Crunch.

    Best cereal ever: Cap’n Crunch BERRIES.

    Best cereal experience ever: in college, out of milk, let’s try Cap’n Crunch Berries with fruit punch; BAM mind exploded

  6. Geoff, that seems a tad cynical. Maybe more peanut butter in your morning cereal would help.

    But, Scott, our house was a bit legalist when it came to cereal–nothing indulgent and sugared allowed. However Saturdays mom was famous for feeding us doughnuts for breakfast. Isn’t legalism weird?

    • Peanut butter flavored anything (e.g., Reese’s) never tastes like peanut butter to me but I’m just bitter because I can’t eat PB any more. Having grown up with Capn’ Crunch hard to imagine no sugar for breakfast. Look at it this way, you’re less likely to get diabetes. Your Ma was just looking out for you.

    • Yea, I admit I’m cynical. But on those rare occasions when we actually have sugary cereal in the house, I do so enjoy it (especially peanut butter flavored cereal!). 🙂

  7. This ad IS definitely a step in the right direction, refreshing in fact…but ya’ll are wrong: PB & Cheerios are only good together when the PB is melting on toast accompanied by a hearty bowl of Cheerios ‘n milk.

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