1. Kaci Hill says:

    One I thought was interesting is Meet the Robinsons (which I admittedly didn’t think I was going to like because I tend to take issue with how most adoption stories are handled).  There’s nothing really wrong with the father, but you get to suddenly see this odd perspective of where his principles and character came from.

    • Kessie says:

      Meet the Robinsons was one of those cartoons that wound up being better than the sum of its parts. It gives me a warm, cozy feeling whenever the kids watch it.
      In Harry Potter, a lot of the subplot revolves around Harry finding out about his parents, but especially his father. And the things he learns greatly effects Harry’s own outlook and development as a character. Sure, James Potter had warts, same as everyone else, but when the chips were down, he was a good guy. And he died for it. (It’s why I keep hoping Rowling will go back and write a prequel with James and Sirius, like that little short story she wrote with them getting pulled over by the cops for speeding.)

  2. Fred Warren says:

    Another great showcase for father issues is Lord of the Rings, where we see Faramir, the  warrior son of Denethor, trying to escape the shadow of his brother Boromir and gain the love and respect of his father, who’s battling an addiction to Sauron TV. There’s also Eomer, who lives as an outcast guarding the northern marches of Rohan after his father, King Theoden, falls under the sway of self-help guru Grima Wormtongue and disowns him.

    • Andrea says:

      (Sorry to nit-pick, but Eomer was Theoden’s nephew, though yeah, the dynamic is father-son.)
      Hadn’t thought about LotR in that light.  I wonder what it means for Sam, who loved his father in spite of the fact that they didn’t always understand each other.  On the other hand, Sam became quite a good father himself. 
      How about The Incredibles?  There’s a superhero story told from the parents’ point-of-view, where being a good husband/father is an important part of the plot.  I was struck by the dilemma of “keeping the family safe” vs. “the family working together”.  Kind of the leader vs. protector dynamic, and how to balance that.

      • Fred Warren says:

        Andrea: (Sorry to nit-pick, but Eomer was Theoden’s nephew, though yeah, the dynamic is father-son.)

        That’s what I get for working from memory. (frantically fact-checks) Ah, but Eomer and Eowyn were adopted by Theoden after their birth parents’ deaths, and Eomer is heir to the throne of Rohan. So, we’re both right. Stepfathers probably deserve their own issue #6 in my list above.

      • Fred Warren says:

        Andrea: How about The Incredibles?

        That’s another great example, especially from the perspective of the father, who was confident and capable as a single, but awkward and tentative as a husband and parent.

        Then, there’s Syndrome, who lacks a father figure (and is rejected by the one he wants) and goes bad.

        So much wonderful imagery in that movie–the father, strong and larger than life, constantly crammed into tiny spaces; the infinitely-flexible mother; the invisible teenager who can create impenetrable barriers; the hyperactive little boy with a surplus of energy; and the baby with unlimited potential, able to become almost anything.

      • Kessie says:

        Fred: That summary of the Incredibles is the best explanation of those characters that I’ve ever read. 😀

  3. Galadriel says:

    And now for the obligatory Doctor Who examples.

    Classic episodes didn’t connect to families much, and even most of the Tennant era limited family intereactions to the companion’s mum slapping the Doctor. But one exception to that is Donna Noble and her grandfather Wilf Mott. Wilf is supportive of her, even when Donna’s mum is less than encouraging.
    (Side note) A post on the BBC America blog suggested that the Doctor/Amy relationship is closer to a parent/child situation then previous companions (Link here http://blogs.bbcamerica.com/anglophenia/2011/08/26/a-companion-to-the-doctors-companions-amy-pond/) and I found it quite convincing.  Warning: makes several scenes even sadder.

    In the ‘children’s’ spinoff Sarah Jane Adventures,  Sarah Jane fufills the mothering role for all her gang, but her relationship with Luke is amazing.  He was grown by the Bane as an archeotype of humanity, but at heart, he’s still a boy who loves his mummy.  In the season one episode, he is believed to be another missing boy. The police come by to take him back, and even as Sarah Jane tries to convince him that this is a good thing, you can tell that she’s about to fall apart.  Seriously, it’s beautiful.

  4. Christian says:

    Lost is one long series revolving around daddy issues. Everyone on the show seems to have problems with their dads (except the MIB and Jacob), but the focus is definitely Jack Shephard’s relationship with his dad, Christian Shephard.

  5. Adam says:

    It’s been said that Western literature as a whole can be generally summarized as the struggles and conflicts between fathers and sons. Rene Girard’s most famous book on literature argues that all conflict is inherently mimetic desire – the desire to imitate someone you admire, which inevitably leads to conflict, since to become the person you admire you must fight, best and replace them. The narrative of Joss Whedon’s series Angel revolves around Angel’s love for a son who hates and despises him. In fact, Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer involves an absentee father-figure whose shadow is never truly shaken. Postmodern literary theory (primarily through Harold Bloom) has argued that the act of writing allusions and literary influences into your work is an act of ontological violence – the author must die so that the text might live.

    It’s a classic conflict. You’re so right to tease this out, Fred, and to point to Christ as the resolution of the problem. As David Hart has argued, Christ’s relationship with the Father is the solution to father problems and an answer to the postmodern suggestion that symbolic patricide as the means of being free of a father’s shadow. Christ is the very image of God, who does not even speak except to say the words the Father gave Him to say. In the Christian world there is not ontological violence between father and son, but ontological peace.  Only as we are in Christ can we bring peace to the struggle between fathers and sons.

  6. […] wait. Fred Warren already explored that, and not even near to Father’s […]

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