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"America's TV (insert relative here)"

Discussion in 'Pop Culture Board' started by El Tee, Oct 20, 2010.

  1. El Tee

    El Tee
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    You may have heard that noted television actor Tom Bosley died yesterday, and just a few days prior Barbara Billingsley also made the news for the simple fact that she was unknowingly still alive as of last week. In addition, former Brady Brunch matriarch Florence Henderson had been making audiences squirm for a month on "Dancing With The Stars" before getting put out of her (our) misery last night and sent packing from the competition.

    Curiously, each of these three actors have been referred to as "America's TV Mom/Dad" in the news reports of their deaths and/or accomplishments. That certainly came as news to me, since while I certainly had a soft spot for Mr. C and his surrogate Fonzerelli-ness, I never saw him as the ultimate example of television fatherhood. Same goes for June Cleaver, who I firmly blame for much of what made the Beaver such a little pussy. And let's not sugarcoat Carol Brady's life, either: that harlot did nothing more than pawn off the upbringing of her three offspring and three stepsons to a woman who could arguably be referred to as "America's TV Nanny", [url+http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Characters_of_The_Brady_Bunch#Alice_Nelson]Alice[/url].

    I understand that reporters always want to put the best face on the iconic performances of elderly (and well-behaved) actors, but calling any of the aforementioned "America's TV" anything reeks of lazy reporting.

    FOCUS: There have been plenty of mothers and fathers throughout the history of television comedies and dramas, some of whom have made an indelible mark on pop culture history. Howard Cunningham, June Cleaver, and Carol Brady are certainly notable but far from absolutes. We can do better, and restricting the discussion to only Moms and Dads is way too myopic. Discuss.

    Like Best Actor and Best Actress, a lot of attention will inevitably fall on the marquee categories but there are scores of other non-parental characters that have touched our hearts throughout the years. For instance:

    America's TV Nanny - Female Edition: I already tipped my hand earlier, but there was no better live-in child help on television than Alice Nelson of "The Brady Bunch". She cooked. She cleaned. She shot hoops with the boys and was a championship bowler. And, she took care of Sam the Butcher's meat in her free time. But mainly, she kept those undisciplined Brady kids from raising holy hell and (more importantly) impregnating each other with her stern but self-deprecating humor. There were certainly others: Mrs. Garrett from "Diff'rent Strokes" would get more consideration if she hadn't bailed to take care of Jo, Blair, and Tooti.

    America's TV Nanny - Male Edition: This is sort of like winning the the Oscar for best cartoon, but even though the field is small the winner is noteworthy. A brief honorable mention goes to Mr. Belvedere and Geoffrey Butler, but you know if this was a Family Feud question the top answer would invariably be Charles from "Charles in Charge". Not only did Charles have to care for two different families, but the Pembroke's had two horribly weird kids and the Powell's featured an absent father and a teenage daughter that guys might have actually wanted to fuck (sorry, Lila Pembroke). And, he was a great role model not only to his two families but to all of America by showing us that it was okay to love and befriend the mentally ill...namely, Buddy Lembeck.

    America's TV Maid: This is strictly reserved for any live-in help that didn't involve taking care of young children. And really, who else comes to mind than Florence Johnston from "The Jeffersons". Keeping that Upper East Side apartment was rough, but she made it look easy. Know what else she made look easy? Making fun of how George's hairline.

    America's TV Uncle: This one is a little hard, since there are some uncles that are "cool" uncles (think Uncle Jesse from "Full House"), some that are older non-parental uncles (think Uncle Jesse from "The Dukes of Hazzard"), and some that have assumed more responsibility than ordinarily comes with your standard uncle-ness. I think the latter category carries a lot of weight sometimes, and that's why Uncle Phil from "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air". He opened up his home to a trouble youth with big ears. He shoots a seriously mean game of pool. He makes enough money to buy you a dozen times over. And he enjoys tossing DJ Jazzy Jeff on his ass once a week. He might not make the cut for America's TV Dad, but thanks to his wife's sister's out-of-wedlock child, he wins the inaugural crown in this category.

    Americas' TV Dad: Discuss

    America's TV Mom: Discuss

    Have at it...
     
  2. Dmix3

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    Casting my vote for Al Bundy, the pride of Polk High.
     
  3. lostalldoubt86

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    Kitty Foreman for America's TV mom. Mainly because she reminds me of my own mother, but also because she wasn't just a mother to her own children, but to all of Eric's friends as well. Even when he went to Africa, his friends still hung out at the house. Red is America's TV dad as well, because he put up with all that shit
     
  4. Dr. Gonzo Esquire

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    TV Mom: Lois Griffin. She's pretty conservative upfront, but due to her wild past she tends to be open-minded and is very forgiving.

    TV Dad: Martin Crane. I always thought he was a very underrated tv dad. A former cop so you know he's one tough son of a bitch. Plus he has all that great blue-collar wisdom and uses it to keep his pretentious ass sons in check. Add that he's a pretty easy going guy for the most part and I say you have a great balance of what a father should be.
     
  5. Juice

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    He got 3 touchdowns in 1 game!

    Americas TV Dad: Frank Costanza. Not because he was reasonable and collected, but because he wasn't. He was the epitome of the neuroses and imperfections we all see in our parents when we become adults. As great as some parents might be, we still find things about them that drive us crazy and its those qualities we want to overcome. Frank Constanza was the perfect example of that.

    Americas TV Side Kick: There are a few that I think deserve it. Norton from the Honeymooners, Al Calavecci from Quantum Leap, Spock from Star Trek. Norton because hes the original TV sidekick, Al and Spock because they have an unquestioning loyalty in friendship to their counterpart that you would want to find in anyone.
     
  6. Juice

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    I mis-quoted... 4 touchdowns in 1 game
     
  7. lust4life

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    Nanny, female: Phoebe Figalilly
    Nanny, male: Giles French
    Maid: Hazel Burke
    Uncle: Charley O'Casey
    Dad: Gomez Addams
    Mom: Gladys "28 Porter" Crabtree

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go warm up the Dumont.
     
  8. john_b

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    I have to give at least an honorable mention to Tony Micelli.
     
  9. KIMaster

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    I'm painfully out of my depth about television shows. I haven't watched even a quarter of the series as the others here have. Many of the mentioned names are completely alien to me.

    That being said, for "America's TV Dad of the 90s" (because really, it has to be done by eras), my pick is between Al Bundy and Homer Simpson. Sure, both are obvious, mainstream picks, but no one better symbolized the drudgery, glory years in the rearview mirror, dysfunctional family, and weirdness of modern life than those two did.

    Homer was the more upbeat and stupid of the two, while Al was morose, having each of his small dreams and hopes (hilariously) crushed in eighty percent of the episodes. That reflected the overall moods of their shows though, as "Married with Children" was probably the most cynical series I recall seeing at the time.
     
  10. MisterMiracle

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    Frank Reynolds. He's a scumbag, but at least he's honest about it, which is more than could be said about most dads.
     

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