Evolution in Depiction of Men /Women/Children in Popular Culture

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by James Edward, Mar 8, 2006.

  1. James Edward

    James Edward Supporting Actor

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    I'm wondering if anyone else around my age(46yrs) has noticed the complete devolution of the American Male as depicted on TV, and in commercials.

    Every sitcom depicts men as bumbling idiots that need to be saved by their wives and/or worse, their sniveling, too smart for their own good children. 'Father Knows Best' would be re-titled 'Father Knows Nothing-Good Thing The Wife and Children Are Around'.

    Commercials routinely depict the bumbling/idiotic male being rescued by either his girlfriend, wife, or children.
    Snarky female voice-overs are the norm.

    Is this just payback for 'I Love Lucy', and every other show that depicted women in a less than brilliant light, or is it an actual depiction of current life?

    Your thoughts please...
     
  2. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Nope, not going to go there (and I'm single[​IMG] ).
     
  3. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    We just go down to the Malt Shop and my wife calmly fixes the problem.
     
  4. James Edward

    James Edward Supporting Actor

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    I'll deduce from the above post that you think I am pining for the 50's to make a comeback. Not at all. I was born in 1960, so I have no recollection of the 50's(other than 50's sitcoms).
    I'm just wondering if anyone else has noticed the pendulum has completely swung the other way.

    Even when we put women on the same intellectual level as men, which they are, the whole brainiac child thing is still very apparent to me. I guess I don't fall into the 'we have so much to learn from the children' school of thought.
     
  5. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    James,
    I've noticed something similar, always in commercials as well. I wouldn't call it a devolution, and it has no societal impact, so it's not really that important. But any ad (or sitcom) featuring a battle of the sexes will usually end with the women on top.

    But as a white male, I am not about to decry how the media presents me [​IMG]

    It's irrelevant. Doesn't mean your observation is incorrect [​IMG]
     
  6. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Just think of the uproar if we had sitcoms and commercials that depicted bumbling women.
     
  7. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Non-custodial father here, I completely disagree. I see this phenomenon as just a one facet of a larger phenomenon which has had very direct, negative consequences on my life. The constant portrayal of guys as clueless, irresponsible dufuses does nothing for my chances in an already biased system.

    --
    H
     
  8. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

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    I haven't noticed much regarding men vs. women, but what annoys me lately is seeing commercials with wise-ass children and teenagers pestering their parents for expensive gadgets and the parents always caving in to their demands with pathetic, defeated expressions on their faces. My fiancee and I have decided that whenever we have kids, if they want a cell phone or car they can get a job and buy it themselves [​IMG]
     
  9. BrettB

    BrettB Producer

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    Interesting.... I'll ask the wife what she thinks about it tonight and get back to you.
     
  10. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    Well, CBS comes to mind first for having sitcoms with the bumbling husband but examples can be found aplenty on other networks now that I think more about it.

    Regarding the brainiac child scenario, I remember my dad being so disgusted with Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I still think he was overreacting but I can kind of see his point now. Funny thing is we made him watch it so many times that he pulls out a reference every once in awhile.
     
  11. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

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    I think this is a separate issue, H. I think the erosion of father's rights comes as a result of societal abdication of a father's responsibilities. This has nothing to do with you or me, or many men, but the other side of the sword that has placed the burden of parenting on women has removed men from the equation. I could go on (and on and on), but I won't.

    If the media portrays the male as a fool, it's to sell beer or cars.
     
  12. Ravi K

    Ravi K Supporting Actor

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    And these poor TV schlubs always manage to marry Leah Remini or Jami Gertz...
     
  13. Andrew W

    Andrew W Supporting Actor

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    It's because men are the only ones that will take it well, like a man.

    If you make fun of women, you're sexist, any minority and you're racist. So the only safe group to take comedic jabs at is men.
     
  14. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

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    Sad but true.
     
  15. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Andrew, you've stumbled on my famous line:
    "Make fun of a fat man and the world laughs. Make fun of a fat woman and the world sneers."
    -Mark Hastings


    I too have noticed that they've been portraying the "Strong Woman"/"Idiot Man" scenario for a while (especially in commercials), but I've also noticed that these fat/idiotic men also have the hottest wives. (I see Ravi eluded to this)

    It's all of this PC crap that scares studios into producing such material. Don't make a weak female character and a strong male character or you'll get hate mail!!!! Or, don't make fun of ugly women because it's wrong!

    etc.Working so close to NY, I tend to notice that "Sex and the City" has had a TREMENDOUS effect on the way groups of women perceive men when they are out at clubs.

    So while I agree that women have been portrayed poorly in the past and that they deserve positive imagery on TV, it SUCKS that they do it at the expense of men. [​IMG]

    Like Holadem said, it's like (as a male) I have to pay for what men did in the 50's and 60's.
     
  16. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Does no one remember The Honeymooners?

    It's called Desperate Housewives, and that "uproar" you hear is the sound of high ratings, awards and applause.

    M.
     
  17. Ravi K

    Ravi K Supporting Actor

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    I've only seen a few episodes of DH. Does it depict bumbling women the way the bumbling men are depicted on most sitcoms, with the bumbler bumbling and his wife rolling her eyes and/or getting mad at him?

    Maybe this all goes to the expectation of the man to be funny and for the woman to be the straight man, er, straight woman. I Love Lucy featured its wonderful female star as the source of most of the humor, but I'm hard-pressed to think of other such shows.
     
  18. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    I can't offer a comparison, because I don't watch anything with a laugh track. All of the four leads on DH are deeply flawed (as are their husbands and, with one or two exceptions, their children). The one who comes the closest to your description is Teri Hatcher's character, who's in the classic screwball tradition. And yes, the men in her life are constantly rolling their eyes (figuratively if not literally).

    Sex and the City was mentioned earlier. A big part of the humor in that show resulted from one female character or another getting the equivalent of a pie in the face. (Not my line; exec. prod. Michael Patrick King said just that on one of his DVD commentaries.)

    M.
     
  19. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Well Mark, please note that when I spoke of the unfairness of the system, I meant the Family Court system. Which we can't really discuss anyway, but I just wanted to clarify this.

    --
    H
     
  20. James Edward

    James Edward Supporting Actor

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    This was the exception that came to mind when I was typing my original post. An absolute fave of mine. But I digress.

    I was just making an observation; I am not overly upset by this trend. But I do think that the average child is probably influenced by all the commercials/shows to believe that they are somehow brighter than they really are. But commercials are meant to influence, right?

    It probably just adds another layer of difficulty in parenting properly. But that's a topic for another thread...
     

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