There is a new reality show that premiered tonight that I’m sure is lighting up SAHD blogs all over the Interwebs. I dislike reality shows, because I think they’re both fake and boring. I wanted to check out the show and see if the the inept Dad trope common in sitcoms would be finally dispelled. For years television in general has presented Dads as bumbling idiots when it comes to keeping up a home and taking care of the kids, especially when a mother figure is present. I plan on watching the show and blogging each episode. Also the Dads are all from Austin, Texas, my home state and a short three hour drive from where I live so I want to see how well these Dads represent.
My initial impression is that the element of fakery common to all reality TV shows will pervade the series. The casting immediately comes off as contrived. Here is a rundown of the Dads:
- Rick, the older, presumably more experienced father with the older kids but also two twin girls celebrating their first birthday in the inaugural episode. The party is princess themed and he even wears a King outfit for the party.
- Nathan, the brand new Dad with just the one kid barely a year old with an oblique reference to possibly having another one in the future episode teasers.
- Stone, the divorced “single-dad” stud that naturally picks up a younger woman at the supermarket midway through the episode. The drama he wrestles with during the episode is whether or not to get a vasectomy.
- Sean, the step-dad and apparently husband-in-waiting who seems to be the court jester of the group. He even dons a court jester costume, places himself in stocks his girlfriend made so the other dads can smash cake in his face.
We get no background on how these guys know each other. They go to a park at one point so I guess it’s plausible that they met there but they all seem so different that the only believable way they became acquainted with each other was through a casting director. They seem to have a rapport so I’m guessing they spent some time together before the cameras started to roll but they still seem to be finding their legs as a group.
The storyline of the pilot episode is Rick planning a birthday party for his one year old twins with the help of the group, with a sub-plot of Stone needing a vasectomy. Nathan was hardly a factor in the episode at all. All I can really tell you about him right now is that he reminds me of the former Google exec from Revolution. Sean played his jester role and had the most cringe worthy moment when he suggested they were going to get married soon and his girlfriend obviously didn’t seem so sure about the idea. Stone and his, for lack of a better term, slutty behavior and need for a vasectomy was the most seemingly scripted element and the main point of gossip within the group. Picking up the girl at the grocery store and she shows up later delivering the birthday cakes for all the guys to see makes me think she’s getting some kind of paycheck for being there. It’s not like she couldn’t have noticed the production crew and yet she seemed to handle being in front of a camera a little to well to be just some random person they bump into at the grocery store. And she just happens to have a friend who makes cakes!
However, buried within the fakery there were moments of actual fatherhood and what’s it’s like to take care of kids. It bothered me a little that Rick seemed to need his wife’s permission to plan the party rather than use a party planner like she wanted but I think that’s just part of trying to convince someone you can do something that isn’t in your normal repertoire. I also know the stress of planning your first kids birthday party and the skepticism that a dad can pull it off. I thought his Godzilla idea was pretty funny and inventive but the reference to his sex life was gratuitous. Kids like to dress up and smash things and watching them dressed up as little Godzilla’s stomping through a miniature city would be fun to watch. I’m not surprised they settled on a princess party and I can’t wait to read the feminists bloggers take on it.
I’ll keep watching the show until it becomes unwatchable. If it wasn’t for the relative novelty of the topic the formulaic casting would have already driven me away. My predictions: Rick and Nathan form some kind of teacher / student bond, Stone eventually pursues true love, and Sean and his girlfriend eventually tie the knot. The dramatic arcs in the show will be manufactured for our entertainment but the guys will be making up the details as they go with the realities of raising children constantly in the background. It’ll be a lot like being a parent.