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Millennial Dads Prefer 'Bob's Burgers' to 'The Simpsons'

The news out of the South By Southwest multimedia conference in Austin, Texas, proves once again that millennials, especially millennial dads, take parenting very seriously:

During a panel at the  South By Southwest multimedia conference in Austin this week,  YouTube shared that more millennial dads watch parenting-related videos on its platform than millennial moms. …Forty percent of millennials are parents today, for instance, and they tend to have more open relationships with their children than past generations,  CNBC reports — with 80% of survey respondents saying that their child is one of their best friends, and 75% saying that their child is involved in household decisions.

For those seeking further proof that millennial dads are the polar opposite of Generation X’s Al Bundy, Homer Simpson, and Peter Griffin, look no further than Bob’s Burgers. A delightful animated series you can catch on FOX and Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim” block, Bob’s Burgers is the story of the Belcher family: Bob, third-generation restaurant owner, his loyal and enthusiastic wife Linda, and their three kids, hormonal teen Tina, proudly awkward tween Gene and too-smart-for-elementary school Louise. True-to-trend Bob isn’t just a stay-at-home dad, he’s a work-at-home dad. All three kids work and hang out in the family restaurant below their apartment when they aren’t in school.

For all of its off-kilter humor, Bob’s Burgers is what The Simpsons and Family Guy are not: a family show. Even in most live-action family sitcoms, the kids and parents are rarely seen together. Bob’s Burgers, on the other hand, is about Team Belcher: five people who, for better or worse, actually love being stuck with one another. When Bob thinks it’s a good idea to fire his kids for the summer so they can go have fun, they’re actually offended. (Another value-lesson bonus: After a half-day of play, they’re so bored they get new jobs.)

TV dads are notoriously abused as lazy, inattentive, and/or uncaring louts when they’re even granted a presence in family shows. This is probably why Christian Toto recently praised Bob Belcher as a positive role model not just to his kids, but to dads watching the show:

Bob is a complicated but real human being. He can’t conquer his jealousy of neighboring restauranteur Jimmy Pesto. He’s ultra-sensitive to his critics. He can’t realize when he’s being stubborn, which is once every three episodes. He’s flawed. Just like me. Yet he’s comfortable in his own skin. That’s something every father should aspire to be. Don’t we take enough abuse from the outside world?

Yes, fathers do. So do families in general, which is why Bob’s Burgers is such a refreshing boost for millennial dads and moms, too, who don’t want to hover over their kids or rush to kick them out of the house. For those of us looking to develop actual relationships with our children that extend past the rituals of daily living, Bob’s Burgers provides a template that is equal parts hard work and play. And, in its own tongue-in-cheek way it praises rather than condemns the family unit. Bob’s Burgers counters the nihilism inherent in shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy by spinning it on its head: Sure, we’re imperfect, but that doesn’t mean we can’t love and enjoy each other all the more for it.