Monday, June 20, 2005

Father's Day

So yesterday was Father's Day and the dad clowns were out in force on Fox Network cartoons. I came into the middle of The Simpsons episode wherein Homer has found an elusive new friend, a roofer-contractor whom nobody else sees, leading them to conclude Homer needs electroshock therapy. Then, after Homer is "cured" the friend shows up. Explaining the friend's previous invisibility requires Stephen Hawking's presence at one point (Stephen likes being on The Simpsons when he gets a chance -- maybe because of all those mathematicians that write for it).

In the next episode, Marge has this flash that Homer is more mortal than most, and tries to get him insured. When that proves impossible, she starts nickle-and-diming at every turn, saving money in a big jar in the kitchen, a jar which Homer develops a relationship with (he trades it in for an RV, which proves devastating to their marriage -- then I had to answer a phone call).

The dad clown in Family Guy has fantasies of being a genius, but when applying for a grant from the MacArthur Foundation tests out sub-normal, which he has a hard time accepting, until he realizes the privileges that come with rank (including the privilege to really screw up big time).

Then came the dad clown in American Dad, a CIA guy consumed with jealousy over his neighbor's good fortune (which the neighbor loves to rub in). A contest develops as to which dad will become the next deacon in their church. The CIA dad retains Karl Rove, a kind of vampire (lots of bats coming and going), to help him win, and Karl points out the importance of good cooking to church potlucks.

Given the CIA connection, there's this ET living in the house, a family secret (which is way more contact than those people in The X-Files get), and in this episode he/she/it is in some reproductive cycle causing lactation. By happenstance, the family discovers ET breast milk is just the ticket when it comes to making perfect potato salad, an advantage the wife uses to win the deaconship for her man (he later resigns, claiming he's possessed).

Millions of kids were watching spellbound, exercising viewer discretion.