Friday, September 21, 2012

Guys with Kids

Decided to watch the pilot episode of Guys with Kids hoping for the best but preparing for disappointment. I would not have been surprised to see a story line of three fathers pigeonholed into caring for their own kids due to having lost their wives in freak accidents involving a defective coffee grinder or because she is on a top secret spy mission in North Korea and other fantastical reasons to rationalize why and how a man could get "stuck" caring for his own children. I was pleased to learn one of the characters seems to be an at home Dad by choice and another is a divorced Dad sharing custody, the third guy is a working Dad with a stay home wife but takes an active role in caring for the kids as well.

There was plenty wrong with the show, including the opening scene having all three father's belly up to a bar with their children in Baby Bjorn's as they watched a game and enjoyed frosty draft beers (not that I've never had a beer with baby... just saying that's not really representative of an at home Dad's day). With that said, I have to admit the show was entertaining in a Friends or Will & Grace way and I have high hopes that Jimmy Fallon can turn the show into a comedic riot.

I'm sure every group of people cringes when they see the the first prime-time sitcom meant to portray them in a 22 minute time slot between ads for cereal, dish soap and erectile dysfunction treatments so I think its important to keep the problems in perspective. Stay home Dads can handle a few stereotypes. After looking back at the treatment of African Americans or women early sitcoms, we have it easy our stereotypes are much less damaging. We're not a marginalized group in any real sense of the word and I hope we can take in stride the fact society's view of our lives and motivations are often off base. We should correct where we can while not losing sight of the fact even having male caretakers on television in more than a one-off situation is a step in the right direction, it helps to normalize the family arrangements with men as the primary caretakers. Besides, laughter trumps all and this show has the potential to be funny in a way that Up All Night never quite seemed able to and without the overly insulting stereotypes of Mr. Mom or Three Men and a Baby.

OK, so I don't recall the last time I played Wii with my friends while caring for a half dozen kids as the Dads did in the pilot episode and it is troubling to see the divorced Dad kowtowing to his ex-wife for most of the episode regarding everything baby related and unrealistic how they seem to work that out at the drop of the hat, but it is a sitcom not a documentary right? I don't mean to over analyze especially given in the same scene Kareem Abdul-Jabbar "dunked" a baby. I laughed out loud to hear the divorced Mom question her husband's choice of paint and whether or not it was lead free, he sarcastically claims he bought "all lead paint" and his fellow Dad and friend indicates she should see "the abandoned well they dug in the bathroom".

I'll watch again and give it a chance, maybe they'll tear down a few stereotypes on the way and I'm sure I'll get a laugh out of it. If that's not enough, did I mention Jamie Lynn-Sigler co-stars?