Tuesday, April 01, 2008

NCCCCC: Dopiest Comics Dad

In the second round of the National Corniest Cliché Comic Character Countdown we are looking at the heads of households that are clueless dorks. The cliché comic dad is a clueless loser easily duped by his wife and kids. These guys could have a CBS sitcom based on them. The trick is finding the fine line between satire and stupidity. Homer Simpson is a parody of the typical sitcom dad, but Jim NoLastName from According to Jim is just a tool.

The trick is interpreting intent and execution. Dads that I cut from the short list included Walter Duncan of Zits, Greg Wilkins of Curtis, and My Hero Ted Forth because they all exhibit signs of life underneath the heavy lidded burden of paternity.

And I have to invoke the No Pattersons Rule. They are so polarizing that they would win regardless of category. I've also declared Roger Fox from Foxtrot ineligible since the Sunday-only version barely features him.

Dagwood Bumstead (Blondie)
Dagwood is one of the archetypal comic characters. He is lazy, clueless, and always hungry, but he just doesn’t seem to spend a lot of time being a dad. Mostly he hands money to Chip and answers the phone for his 50’s era teenagers.

Hiram Flagstone (Hi And Lois)
There is no more clueless family than the Flagstones. Hiram (Hi for punnish reasons) is the traditional whiter-than-Wonder breadwinner that comes home to a house of chaos. And like Kevin James in King of Queens, he has a wife way hotter than he deserves.

Ralph Drabble (Drabble)
Deliberately clueless, the Drabble family pater familias is just Homer Simpson just without the lovable doofusness. We laugh at him rather than with him. That is if we laugh at all.

Frank DeGroot (Luann)
Luann’s dad is full of advice. Lots and lots of bad clueless advice. He has a son that has conned him into his own house. His titular daughter is one of the shallowest ditziest teenagers this side of a Zoey 101 marathon. And his shiny forehead just screams impending mid-life crisis.

Darryl MacPherson (Baby Blues)
While he may not be a household name, nobody exhibits the signs of domestic emasculation worse than the dad of Baby Blues. He is constantly changing diapers, wiping noses, or shopping for mini-vans. He is either too sad or too real.

So pick the dad you love to hate or just despise for being such a weenie.

Write-ins and comments welcome.


Cedar said...

I voted for Drabble, but the results screen still shows 0 votes for all the entrants.

Mac said...

My vote didn't tally either.

I went for Dagwood, reluctantly, because Ralph Drabble avoids the cliche by not having a wife far hotter than he deserves. But he's a horribly cliched character otherwise.

Anonymous said...

I went with Dagwood. My vote didn't show up either.

Anonymous said...

I went with Luann's dad but I'm still seeing all zeroes on the tally. He's got a wife who, in the right light, dips into the "hot" range.

Mooselet said...

I went for Hi, although I was tempted with Darryl (you realize you have him as 'Frank' in the poll?). In the end, Darryl is too realistic to be considered 'dopey'. Hi isn't deliberately clueless like Ralph Drabble or Dagwood, so to me that's more along the dopey lines.

I give this way too much thought.

Anonymous said...

Ted Forth!

ef said...

As a parent, I have to say that both Darryl and Wanda McPherson (baby blues) are most definitely realistic

yellojkt said...

The poll takes about a half hour to update. The blog page is behind my super secret administrator access, but all the votes do show up eventually.

Ben said...

Darryl McPherson, not a household name? But he starred on an animated sitcom that ran half a season on a network that no longer exists. You can't get much more big time than that.

Anonymous said...

Daryl isn't so much clueless as woebegone. He's like Ziggy w/ a loving family and hair.

Anonymous said...

While I wouldn't have voted for any of the fathers you mention having left out, they might have made this really competitive -- especially Walt Duncan, but there is always the question of how much is cluelessness and how much is yanking Jeremy's chain. If Foxtrot were still in dailies, Roger Fox would have owned this category.

Dagwood: While he is pretty clueless, the father shtick is, at best, tertiary to Dagwood's character. The kids are like in their early twenties and almost never seen, apart from his occasional creepy interactions with Cookie. Plus, deep down, Dag is a rebel; he dumped his trust fund for Blondie.

Hi: Is he really that clueless? I rarely see Hi & Lois, but he mostly seems to suffer from exhaustion and the sort of existential angst we expect from the Walker/Browne empire.

Daryl: As others have said, Daryl isn't a dope, just overwhelmed. He's a pretty normal guy.

That leaves two contenders.

Roger Drabble: I haven't read Drabble in nearly 30 years and only see it when Josh mentions it. But he tends to be a tad cynical and is more annoyed by his family than bewildered.

Frank DeGroot: He gets my vote. Your description sums him up pretty well. He is very much the stereotypical dopey dad of the classic 60s sitcom. And the Lightbulb arc from a few weeks ago sews it up for him.

Anonymous said...

The results are showing up now.

I went for Dagwood. Despite some strong competition, no one fits the "dopey" bill quite as well. Dag is the original deal, the Ur-Dope. Maybe that's why no comics page editor is brave enough to drop the strip in favor of new talent.

Anonymous said...

I voted for Frank because he annoys me more than any of the other comic dads i read daily (except the family circus dad of course)

Jumper said...

I vote for Hagar, who's not on the list. Hagar used to be a bit more interesting. Now all he does is joke about his drinking. Hagar has a problem.

Hey, Yello, how's it going? Here I got another day off, and no company at Joel's.

Luann DeGroot said...

I went with Frank DeGroot only because Roger Fox is not available. (And yes, my blogger identity is Luann DeGroot - I keep expecting to get a cease and desist from Greg Evans.)

Isn't Dagwood's son named Alexander, not Chip?


Jeff and Charli Lee said...

Cool series... presented in trademark Foma fashion. Nice work.

I appear to be voting with the majority in both posts.

Muzition said...

I can NEVER tell Dagwood and his son apart!

Simon said...

Anyone else notice that Ralph Drabble is pretty much just Roger Fox?

yellojkt said...

In the first draft of the poll, I had called him "Roger Drabble", so you are onto something.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that no Patterson moron ended up on this poll? I thought a lot of people submitted them. More than Dagwood, anyway.

Anonymous said...

At first I wondered at the lack of one of the Patterson morons. But then I saw you wisely invoked the Patterson rule.