In an early episode of the popular TV sitcom Modern Family, Jay Pritchett reacts to an off- screen question on what the key to being a great dad is. “Boy, that’s a tough one,” he says. Later, the intrusive camera, after getting humorous responses from other characters, turns back to the stumped patriarch whose success has been more in business than family life. “Still thinking,” he says.
TV dads usually don’t have much of a clue. As a doofus, dazed or diffident, they make us smile and laugh. But real-life fathers know better.