The Animated Dad

Essays on Father Figures in Cartoon Television


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About the Book

The Homer Simpson-esque stereotype has been a persistent trope in cartoons since programming aimed directly at children and adolescents began. Young viewers are exposed to the incapable and incompetent “hapless father” archetype on a regular basis, causing both boys and girls to expect the bare minimum of fathers while mothers hold the responsibility for all domestic and parenting work. Cartoons rely heavily on toxic stereotypes for ratings, when in fact, healthy representations of fathers are just as successful in maintaining viewership.
Eleven essays, written by scholars from around the world, investigate the topic of fatherhood as it is represented in children’s animated television shows. Main themes that emerge include absent and negligent fathers, single fathers, generational shifts within families, and raising the standard of fathering by creating secure bonds between father and child. The authors uncover problematic fathers, imperfect yet redemptive fathers, and fathers who embody idealized parenting traits through some of our most beloved animated dads. This collection demonstrates the impact that media representations of father figures have on young viewers and argues for better role models.

About the Author(s)

Lorin Shahinian teaches composition courses at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington, while also having a role at the university’s writing center.
Leslie Salas has served as a writing, communications, and humanities instructor at various institutions of higher education for over a decade.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Lorin Shahinian and Leslie Salas
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 208
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8262-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5162-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Lorin Shahinian and Leslie Salas 1
Part I: Absent and Negligent Fathers
Professor Von Drake as the Absent, Emotionally Unavailable Father Figure: Why Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Gets It Wrong
Sarah Ghoshal 9
O Captain! Why Captain? A Study of Haddock as Father Figure in the Tintin Television Series
Debnita Chakravarti 21
Part II: Single Fathers
My Little Other: Fatherhood Is Symbiotic
Samuel Oatley 39
The Most Fatherly Duck in the World: Scrooge McDuck as Symbolic Father in Disney’s DuckTales Reboot
CJ Yow 62
Part III: Generational Shifts
Fairly ­Not-Parents: Attachment and the Perpetual Child in The Fairly OddParents
James M. Curtis 83
“Not so bad a dad after all”: Phineas & Ferb’s Supervillain and Super Dad
Vanessa Osborne 99
Defeating the Father Lord: Iroh and Ozai as Paternal Duality in Avatar: The Last Airbender
Colleen Etman 116
Part IV: Raising the Standard
The Normal and the Natural: Nigel Thornberry as Father Figure
Dibyajyoti Lahiri 135
Silence Underscores Responsible Fatherhood in Ulysses 31
Juan Urdániz Escolano 150
Batman: The Journey from Hero to Father Figure
Hollie Fitzmaurice 164
From Flipping Burgers to Flipping Fatherhood: Bob Belcher
Lorin Shahinian 179
Lorin Shahinian and Leslie Salas 195
About the Contributors 197
Index 199