1. Who’s Your Daddy?
According to the experts, Peter Griffin falls into the Idiot Dad trend in television:
The late ’80s and into the ’90s featured the rise of the idiot dad. [Pop Culture expert Al] Martin says that in an attempt to counteract and ridicule authority and patriarchy, TV moms became overly strong and TV dads turned into buffoons. “The Simpsons” started a wave of deplorable, idiot dads (looking at you, “Family Guy”) who need more mothering by their wives than their kids. Homer Simpson (D’oh!) was more often seen drinking, belching and tripping up rather than doing any real parenting.
As MacFarlane has said, Peter Griffin is funny because Peter Griffin is oblivious. Instead of being involved in his kids’ lives, he avoids them at all costs. In one early episode, Peter blows off his son Stewie’s first birthday party only to realize (after being yelled at repeatedly) that it isn’t about the kids (because they wouldn’t remember it, anyway), it’s about Lois. So, in the interest of keeping his wife happy, he unwittingly gets Meg out of drinking the Kool Aid at a cult function she attended in a desperate attempt to make friends.
Then there’s Mike Heck, patriarch of The Middle clan. A different kind of working middle-class dad, Mike not only takes the time to pay attention to his daughter’s life, he actually … gets involved.
What dad would you want at your dinner table?
A. Peter Griffin
B. Mike Heck