Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Top Ten Dads in Geekdom

In honor of Father's Day (I know it was three days ago so shut up) I decided to devote a post to the top ten dads of geekdom. Now to clarify, I'm focusing on dads not fathers because as it's been said anyone with active reproductive material can become a parent, it takes true character to be a dad. That being said Darth Vader is not going to show up on this list, because one selfless act does not a dad make.
I actually found it a bit harder to find 10 good examples of dads in geekdom, click here for my thoughts on that.
As usual, I couldn't be bothered to put my list in order. These just exist in my top ten.

10: Goofy
When I mentioned that Goofy would hit my list I had a lot of people give me surprised reactions, then I said Goofy Movie and all was clear. Goofy is a good dad because he's constantly trying everything he can to connect to his son, both in the TV show and the films, and only fails because he's dealing with a 90s teenage stereotype. It may take a while for Goofy to succeed, but he definitely gets an A for trying.

9: Mr. Incredible
This film focused heavily on Bob's relationship to Helen, but I appreciate the scenes where Bob interacts with the kids. He seems to genuinely care about his kids, and this manifests in some really cute moments. I love him and Dash with the slot cars because I remember playing that with my dad, and the scene where he comments on Violet wearing her hair back is just darling, as well as helps develop her character. Mr. Incredible may be having a midlife crisis, but the one thing he doesn't want to escape from is being a dad.

8: Splinter
Here's an interesting family: a mutated rat teaches four mutated turtles martial arts and the delights of TV so they can become super heroes on the streets of New York. I'm sorry, but no matter how many times I try to describe anything from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I just think it sounds weird, and I was raised with the thing! Splinter though is probably one of the best characters from this whole thing, since he seems to be the only one able to express emotion outside of cheesy one liners and talk about pizza. Splinter has this fatherly devotion to his children, a strength we usually see in martial arts sensai/student relationships but is taken to the next step here by him being the one who raised them. I feel like Splinter is not only the perfect example of a master warrior, but the perfect example of one who can balance the warrior with the love and devotion only a dad can offer.

7: Mufasa
For all the films Disney has made they have a reputation for having parents either barely there or non-existent. With that in mind, it's extremely refreshing to see Disney characterize Mufasa as probably the best dad in the world, if only to make it more sad when he's brutally murdered by one of Disney's best villains. Mufasa finds a way to balance grooming his son to be the future king while also showing him the simple love and connection only a dad can provide.

6: Johnathon Kent
I understand that Jor El plays a big part in the new Man of Steel film, but since I haven't seen it yet I can really only speak for Superman's adopted father, Johnathon Kent. This is the one who Superman goes to when he's not sure what to do morally, or when the burden of being both Clark and Superman is too heavy to carry. Johnathon can also be credited for the infamous glasses that separate Clark from Superman, as well as the body language to keep people off his tail. As the picture at Deseret Book says, even Superman needs a dad.

5: Arthur Weasley
I really wanted to put Sirius Black on this list, but he just wasn't present enough for me to justify it. Arthur though, was a great dad not only to his seven kids but to Harry and Hermione as well. Here's what I love about him: Even though his family was poor, even though he was interested in muggle stuff (A taboo apparently in wizard culture), he always kept his honor and fought for what was right. Arthur is a steady as a rock good guy, who would happily give his life to help any of his kids, weather they're gingers or not.



4: Uncle Iroh
To me you can't say enough about Avatar the last Airbender, but one of my favorite pieces is the relationship between Prince Zuko and Iroh. Here we have a literally wounded boy, desperately trying to regain his father's respect and love, and by his side is the patient and kind Iroh. Through the series Zuko recognizes who truly loves him, not as a piece on a chessboard, but as a person. Iroh is trying to make up for the lost of his son Mako by finding redemption in his nephew, and if you ask me he found it. If you want evidence just ask Zuko's grandson in Legend of Korra, general Iroh.

3: Rupert Giles
In Buffy the Vampire Slayer we don't get a lot about Buffy's father. What we do get is her relationship with her Watcher, Giles. At first reluctant to look after the seemingly vapid teenage blonde, Giles grows to love her as though she was his own daughter. The song he sings in the musical episode is basically a fatherly love letter to his Slayer, and at times can bring me straight to girly tears. Check it out.

2: Sarek
He's Spock's dad. And yes, I know Vulcans can't show emotion, but work with me. If we remember Abram's first Star Trek film, we see Sarek being quite tender with young Spock, reassuring him that he can make it through the trials of his life, and even opening up to him by saying that the reason Sarek married a human was because he loved her. Jump back even further to Star Trek: The Next Generation when Sarek suffers from Vulcan aging and mind-melds with Picard to control his excess emotion. Picard expresses for Sarek his love of Spock and his regret that they couldn't be closer. It's an awesome performance from Patrick Stewart as well as a perfect piece for an obscure but important character.

1: Uncle Ben
Last but not least let's not forget Spider-Man's big piece of emotional damage Uncle Ben. This character is one we only get in flashbacks and the beginning of the Spider-Man story. He raised Peter as his own, but because Peter was off competing in an underground wrestling match and didn't stop a criminal, Uncle Ben got killed. Fortunately before he left he gave Peter the basis of which he based his entire super hero career on: "With great power comes great responsibility". I don't even know what context he was using when he told Peter such a perfect line, but it works. We all miss Uncle Ben.

Some honorable mentions before I go:
Alfred Pennyworth: As much as I love Alfred the only time we really see dad stuff and not incredibly tolerant legal guardian/butler stuff is in the movies, and even then it's usually more of a buddy thing.

Maurice: Belle's dad from Beauty and the Beast. As far as Disney characters he's actually a pretty well developed dad, but I feel that Mufosa did it better simply by having a more compelling character than crazy inventor.

Tenzin: The Airbending Master from Legend of Korra is definitely a good dad, and we can only assume that his father Aang rocked, but I felt that Iroh's development throughout the series had to get credit, though I am open for more awesomeness when Legend of Korra starts back up next month.

-JOE

P.S. Click here for an introspection as to why dads aren't more present in geekdom.

1 comment:

  1. Tenzin is a really good dad. If I were to make this list I probably would have put both him and Iroh on the list. Iroh's son wasn't called Mako though. (Mako was the name of the original voice actor of Iroh who passed away. The creators named the character in Legend of Korra after him.)

    Iroh is so awesome. The story arc between him and Zuko in ATLA seriously brought tears to my eyes in the last season. Just a really powerful story of forgiveness and paternal love.

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