"Guys with Kids" Review: Setting the Stay-at-Home Dad Movement Back 20 Years
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"Guys with Kids" Review: Setting the Stay-at-Home Dad Movement Back 20 Years

By Dustin Rowles | TV Reviews | September 12, 2012 | Comments ()


There's an interesting piece over on the NYTimes this week about how women have done a better job of evolving and adapting to a particular shift in the American economy. Women are now better educated, and because the new economy favors brains over brawn, women in their 20s now out-earn men in their 20s, while the percentage of men in the workforce has dropped from 96 percent in the 1950s to 80 percent now.

It's an interesting shift and I admit that, even though I'm part of it -- I work from home, make most of the household meals, and tend to a lot of the tasks once associated exclusively with housewives and stay-at-home moms, while my wife spends much of her time in an office or a courtroom -- I fit the description of men in Brooks' article to a tee: We're "like immigrants who have physically moved to a new country but who have kept their minds in the old one." I don't feel emasculated by my role, exactly, but sometimes I feel unnecessarily frustrated by it: "Shouldn't you be making the sandwiches and cutting off the crusts, and why am I the one walking the kid to school? I do have a job, you know?" I often say to my wife in my head (but never out loud. What am I? Stupid? She gave birth to twins.) Moreover, I've met several stay-at-home Dads over the last few years and my first assumption tends to be that the Dad can't find work, rather than to assume that this is what he wants to be doing because it really is a Herculean and noble undertaking.

The Jimmy-Fallon produced multi-camera laugh-track sitcom, "Guys with Kids," isn't doing any favors for stay-at-home Dads, either. Besides being poisonously unfunny, terribly written, and outrageously stupid, the sitcom -- like the men described in the NYTimes piece -- presents a new way of family life, but it's stuck in an old way of thinking. We're used to seeing men in family sitcoms presented as the dumb ones, while the Debra Barones and the Roseanne Conners are the sage voices of reason. In "Guys with Kids," however, men are not only the homemakers, they're stillthe dumb ones.

More detrimentally is the fact that, besides turning dudes into the clueless troglodytes just minutes away from causing permanent damage to their children. "Guys with Kids" minimizes their roles at stay-at-home fathers. These men take their kids to bars, use them to get laid, and let their children run wild while they themselves engage in juvenilia. The one guy that actually seems to be a reasonably decent father -- Anthony Anderson's character -- is emasculated and presented as something akin to the "girl" is a gay couple. He loves to buy ties!

If "Guys with Kids" strived to be taken seriously in any way, it might be offensive for projecting old gender constructs onto new situations. As it is, however, it's neither funny nor significant enough to be treated with proper criticism. "Guys with Kids" has no interest in providing real social commentary (and if it did, it'd be drowned out by the laugh track); it's only interested in reversing gender roles but recycling the same old sitcom cliches. It's a complete waste of your time.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • SabrinaHatesDisqus

    I feel like everyone is missing the point: Dustin thinks Roseanne Conner was a sage voice of reason.

  • Mr_Zito

    Anthony Anderson doing comedy is a crime of a waste. The guy should be doing Antwon Mitchell-like villains, scaring the shit out of us.

  • David Sorenson

    Got halfway through and read "The Jimmy Fallon produced..." Pretty much guessed the rest after that.

  • e jerry powell

    Yeah, could have just left it at that. Kind of like "Adam Sandler produced."

  • Salieri2

    "Michael Bay directed...

  • e jerry powell

    When Michael Bay starts directing sitcoms, it's all over.

  • Snath

    Hmmm, I don't know. I think of lot of modern sitcoms could benefit from giant explosions and visually confusing special effects.

    Two and a Half Men: Jon Cryer transforms into a whiny, neurotic Toyota Corolla. He drives into the ocean, killing himself. The kid says something stupid. Ashton Kutcher explodes.

    The Middle: Ray Ramano's wife and the janitor from Scrubs are wise-cracking cops who go undercover in some suburban family, or something. They have some kids who don't really matter. Ashton Kutcher explodes.

    The Neighbors: The neighbors aren't what they seem! Everything explodes, because it's Michael Bay and there are aliens in it. Ashton Kutcher survives.

  • David Sorenson

    I like the cut of your jib.

  • Tracer Bullet

    Yeah, well. I'm a single father (for half the week, at least). You bitches ain't got shit on me.

  • Snath

    You and me both, man.

  • David Sorenson

    Count me in as well.

  • i was a stay at home dad for a while, a decade ago. the men in the neighbourhood treated me like maybe I was a bit off, and at parks, women treated me like my kid was part of an elaborate pedo disguise allowing me to get closer to their kids. It definitely informed my sense of "changing" gender roles, i.e. more options for women--each celebrated, same options for men, but with more criticism. hopefully, sad sitcoms aside, that is changing.

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    What I find frustrating about these types of sitcoms and movies of the same iks is the following: I fulfil the more traditional role of the male in the family. I make more, work more, discipline more etc. etc. I also cook the majority of the meals, do laundry, clean, and fulfil a good part of the other side of classic family dynamic. So does my fucking wife! Teamwork, bitches!

  • L.O.V.E.

    AND she still does the fucking? You got yourself a keeper.

  • e jerry powell

    I want to see the size of the Feeldoe...

  • Jannymac

    You bet. That's what people forget is the teamwork aspect. There's also the your time/my time, which is exemplified by my brother and his wife. She put him through school, then he did the same for her. She worked a regular job while he started a business, and when she was ready, he supported her while she started a business. And while they aren't extraordinarily rich...they are definitely, extraordinarily happy.

  • Snath

    Damn, that's the kind of relationship that takes a lot of work, but it completely worth it.

  • Snath

    *grunt* *scratch* Me like beer. Me like sexy ladies. Me bring tiny spawn to bar to make sexy ladies talk to me. Me watch football. Me suddenly want buy Larry the Cable Guy Burgers because that is good idea. *grunt*


  • Sara_Tonin00

    C'mon now...5 of those statements are true, aren't they?

  • Snath

    Beer and ladies are the only truthful ones.

  • ERM

    I had no idea Larry the Cable Guy had such an interest in helping treat hip dysplasia.

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