Doofus Dad Syndrome

DOOFUS DAD SYNDROME….Glenn Reynolds periodically blogs about the “Doofus Dad” syndrome on TV sitcoms, which is apparently a conspiracy of some kind by Hollywood elitists to make men look dumb. However, since I pay little attention to TV sitcoms and even less to Glenn’s cultural analysis, the whole issue always dropped off my radar as just another one of his odd fixations.

Today, though, Amanda Marcotte has a long post on the subject that starts like this:

If there is any one issue that anti-feminists and feminists seem to agree on, then it is how exasperating the ongoing media stereotype of the Doofus Dad is. The Doofus Dad stems from the belief that when it comes to “women’s work” ? domestic duties and all the emotional work that it take to build and create familial relationships ? men are completely helpless and childish and therefore should be spared from those labors much as we don’t force children to clean rain gutters.

How about that? I guess the Doofus Dad syndrome is real after all. What’s more, after reading through both the post and the comments, there are apparently quite a few theories to account for DD syndrome. Here are the main contenders:

  1. It’s an evil feminist plot to make men look stupid.

  2. White men are the only people left you’re allowed to make fun of.

  3. It’s a ploy by men to make themselves look helpless and therefore unable to do housework.

  4. For comedians, being a doofus is a better role than being a straight man. Since men control Hollywood, they write the doofus roles for themselves.

  5. Hollywood producers are slaves to successful formulas. All it takes is one successful Doofus Dad show, and suddenly there are a dozen imitators.

Vote for your favorite explanation in comments. Or suggest a new one of your own!

On a related note, what was the original Doofus Dad show? Home Improvement and Everybody Loves Raymond are the obvious modern contenders. Both are predated by The Simpsons, though.

Going back before that, how about All in the Family? Archie was a semi-doofus. Gilligan’s Island would be a good bet except that Gilligan was a bachelor. Perhaps Darrin on Bewitched? Wasn’t he sort of a doofus? What else?

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