Ever watched a family TV show and found yourself laughing out loud because you identify with the parents’ plight?
There are some you love because they’re so similar to you, and others that force you to wonder why they became parents in the first place.
Here are five examples of sitcom parents. Which one do you relate to?
1. The Inept Parent
At some point, we’ve all looked at a parent we know or have seen in the media and said, “There should be a parenting test. That person isn’t qualified.”
Homer Simpson is that parent. Bumbling and lovable as he is, he’s not known for his parenting skills. Parenting for Homer includes offering questionable advice to his two older kids, Bart and Lisa, and leaving the more complex engagements up to his wife, Marg.
While he’s a loving parent, he doesn’t have much insight into what’s appropriate. He’d rather be drinking beer and watching bad television than grappling with parenting issues.
Homer’s life advice to Bart consists of the following: “The three little sentences that will get you through life: Number one: ‘Cover for me’; Number two: ‘Ooh, good idea, boss!’; Number three: ‘It was like that when I got here!’”
2. The Child-Parent
The Child-Parent is one that turns the tables on the parent-child relationship, devolving responsibility to the child.
She views her kids as accessories and, when it suits her, chooses to act like their friend rather than their parent.
One such Child-Parent is Eddie in the British comedy, Absolutely Fabulous. Seriously, who would want to be Saffy, Eddies daughter?
With a mom who’s more interested in partying and where her next glass of wine is coming from, Saffy is the adult in the relationship.
The first half of Episode one in Season one sets the tone: Saffy is maddened by her mom’s loud music and looks on disapprovingly when she wakes up with a bad hangover. “Could you not pull that face while you grind the coffee?” pleads Eddie while Saffy is making her coffee. “I don’t really want to drink a cup full of your anger.”
3. The Tactless Parent
We all know someone like this. They don’t seem to have the tact gene and won’t hesitate to offer their opinion about you, hurtful or not.
Mike Heck, dad to Axl, Sue, and Brick on the sitcom, The Middle, is that parent, known for his brutal honesty when parenting his kids.
Whereas his wife, Frankie, chooses the gentler, more tactful route when Sue tries out for something at school and inevitably fails, Mike doesn’t beat around the bush in telling Sue that she should just give up.
When the kids have a disagreement over whether parents could ever have favourite children. Sue, convinced that this is an impossibility, decides to get the truth from her parents. Deadpan, Mike responds that if he had to choose, he’d say Axl is his favourite and is openly taken aback when he realises the rest of the family opposes his approach.
4. The Clueless parent
Married with Children’s Al and Peggy Bundy are in a sub-par relationship that involves almost zero insight into their kids’ lives. They spend more time arguing with each other than actually parenting.
Here, Al proves that his daughter’s life is a mystery to him. “So er, how’s school?” he asks daughter Kelly. “I’m out of school, daddy.” “Great! So er, how old are you?”
5. The Competitive parent:
Raymond, of Everybody loves Raymond, is the dad next door who loves his kids and is very protective of them. One of his shortcomings, though, is that he’s highly competitive.
Ray initially dismisses his wife Debra’s idea to attend a parenting class as futile: “It should come natural. That’d be like taking a smelling class.”
He acquiesces, though, and suffers through an “active listening” class, mocking it at every turn.
When the time comes to apply what they’ve learned on their daughter, Ray realises he can show Debra up. He grabs the opportunity to critique her parenting skills and takes over the interaction with daughter, Ally.
He’s very pleased with himself when the intervention proves successful: “See what I did there?” he asks Debra. “Anything else needing taking care of while I’m around?”
Which sitcom parent do you relate to the most - even those who aren't listed - and why? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, we may share your story!