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Dead Beat Dads


39 replies to this topic

#1
zambingo

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I know that stories need emotional pushes, and I know in real life there are a bunch of dead beat dads, but can we give the Dead Beat Dad angle a little rest?

At least three fictional, former good men (the latter should be in quotes) have been knowingly or unknowingly turned into Dead Beat Dads since Hollywoods newer It Group got power. Those three being Superman (of all characters to do that to), Indiana Jones, and Han Solo. In the upcoming sequel to Coming to America it seems like, unless there is a swerve, that even the noble Akeem will succumb to this plot device.

Anyone else tired of this? Or is this another example of me being too old for this ****?

Afterthought: If Disney makes Baby Yoda literally Yodas Baby... I might need to primal scream in a beanie and a reflective neon jacket.

#2
Brando

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I don’t think any of those examples is a dead beat dad. Two had no knowledge and the third was estranged from his adult son by choice of the son.



#3
Darth Krawlie

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Dead beat dad trope sucks a lot, but I hate the "dads are too stupid to function as human beings, let alone as parents if left unsupervised by super powerful all knowing perfect MOMWIFE" trope more.


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#4
zambingo

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The dumb sitcom dad is annoying too, I agree, DK.

Thats fair, Brando, I tag them as such because they did it... you know the fun part... knowing the consequences and then never bothered to follow up. As for Han, I know that turmoil with children stresses relationships, but hes a dead beat imo too not just for not being there for Ben (maybe he should have pushed more), but for bailing on Leia. So much for The I Know, Solo.
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#5
Brando

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I’ll agree that Han looks like a ****ty husband, but maybe Leia went off to play warrior princess and left him? There isn’t much real info on it.

 

And if we’re going there, James Bond has to have at least 500 kids out there.


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#6
zambingo

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Fair point, again, re: Han

I think Bond is infertile due to torture, I know that is hinted at in Casino Royale (or whatever Craig film that was) when his nuts get smashed, but I think it is in one of the books too.

#7
Brando

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That's what I would say to, if I was him. "Can't be my kid, I had an involuntary vasectomy."
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#8
David

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I get so sick of the ****. My son is 9 now, and Ive been a single dad with 50/50 custody for 8 of those years. I know how to be a mom. I know how to be a dad. I changed literally thousands of his diapers. Been a shoulder to cry on 100 times. Im a soccer mom. A karate mom. i shuffle him to school weekly and pick him up. I know how to cook him breakfast, lunch and dinner. And not set fire to the kitchen! I can put clothes on him. And they match!!! I can style his hair and it looks good!

And Im taking nothing away from his mom. She is also a dad. And a mom, and does all of these things I do. Its called being ****ing parents. Get tired of the dead beat dad bull****. Get tired of the dads are too stupid to figure it out bull****.
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#9
zambingo

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Preach on, brother!

#10
Tank

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Tell me more about this "It Group" that has power over Hollywood.

I can actually tell you why it's a trope. I have a dead beat dad script. Want to know why? My dad was a dead beat.

Turns out that Gen Xers, whose dads were young in the free love, sexual revolution, and AIDS epidemic eras, had a very high rate of absentee fathers. In the 70s especially, courts almost always gave custody to mothers.

So basically you have a very high ratio of writers, directors, and execs who gree up in the 70s and 80s with crazy divorce rates that usually saw dad going away.

It's zeitgeist, not a conspiracy.
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#11
zambingo

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I know that and get it, also I lived it too... and by It Group I was referencing the guys that were given big franchises to shape... JJ, Star Wars and Star Trek. Singer, X-Men and Superman. The younger group of directors, producers that sorta established themselves as the bigger guys in the 2000s and on. Maybe saying it is a group is a bit much, seeing as how I just specified two dudes and unrelated ones at that, but maybe thats also semantic? I also did not mean to imply it was some conspiracy with literal power over Hollywood... just that I find it tired and in the cases I highlighted probably misused. Also the reason my dislike for this trope popped into my head again was with the supposed storyline for Akeem and of course all the parental issues in the Star War.

#12
Tank

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Star Wars is the original bad dad franchise. It's part of it's DNA! The most well-known movie twist of the 20th century is a bad dad reveal!

What is funny is that in Superman, KOCS, and Star Wars the dad didn't know he had a son. That gets Indy and Supes out of being absent fathers, they didn't know.

George Lucas also tells you'll become space Hitler if you don't get over being taken from your mom when you're a little kid. Bold choice from a dude who after a super bitter divorce adopted three kids on his own.

#13
zambingo

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Arent Superman, Indy, Han, and Akeem supposedly not morons? In addition, arent they displayed as men who take a journey to being better than their past? So if they just sex up their ladies, unprotected, and then bolt doesnt that make them... dead beats? ***holes? Why are they excused from this? Why are they saddled with that, why have we (as creatives and not we us literally) chosen to disgrace them that way? Didnt Indy literally leave Marion at the alter? Didnt Indy have extreme issues with his own father? Doesnt Superman also have issues with his biological origins? Hasnt Superman been displayed as dealing with abandonment, adoption, identity issues? Are Luke and Leia not the new hopes in a franchise, at least then with the original trilogy, that was essentially about breaking the cycle? If we cant even write fiction where people can break the cycles of their past, providing again... a new hope for those that identify with that... and with heroes as smart and noble as these characters are then whats the point?

#14
Brando

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Indy is like Iron Man, each movie is about him getting better than his past but then the next movie he's as bad as ever. It's part of the character, and is also pretty realistic. People change during times of great stress/tragedy/hardship and then end up reverting to the old way. But Indy is essentially the same as Bond - it's the character DNA to hump and dump. The only time we saw real change was in the worst movie in the franchise.

Star Wars is about tropes, and father issues are the center of it. In the OT, it's Vader being the worst dad ever. In the PT it's Anakin looking to Palpatine as a surrogate father. In the ST, you have Ben, as an adult, abandoning his father and mother. They did flip the script on it, and the "loss" of a child contributed to Han and Leia's marriage falling apart. I'm curious why you insist Han was wrong? As I said, Ben was an adult who decided to not be attached to his parents and Leia went off to be a general, and it's possible she left Han to do it. We don't know exactly what happened. I'll agree that I would've loved to see Han and Leia together, and it would've worked better, but I don't think it's fair to call Han a dead beat dad.

Maybe the issue is that Harrison Ford is such a dick that it runs into his characters?

#15
Zathras

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I agree the divorced/deadbeat dad trope is over-used.  As is the idiot sitcom dad (a la Homer Simpson,Family Guy, Modern Family, etc).  But, please explain why Han, Indy, and Superman are deadbeat dads. I am seriously confused. 

 

As I remember, Han took care of Ben Solo, until he started to become a dark sider.  Han (and Leia) was not equipped to deal with that, so Ben was sent to Luke to train as a jedi.   It failed, and Ben became Kylo of course, but it was not for a lack of trying.  Han gave his life to try to bring Kylo back to the light.  Can't get more sacrificial than that. 

 

Did Indy even know he had a son until Crystal Skull?  Once he knew, he seemed to try to be a good dad.  

 

As for Superman, is this a reference to Superman Returns?  If so, he was in space for 5 years and didn't even know he had a kid.  Once he came back, he did his best to be there for the kid, but Superman realized he couldn't be both a superhero and a father, without risk to his family.



#16
zambingo

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#17
Tank

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I did always think that the Jedi's whole "no attachment" rule was a great way to leave a woman the morning.

"Oh you didn't know? I'm a Jedi, baby. Sorry-- gotta go."
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#18
Brando

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IIRC, Lucas even confirmed that the Jedi were celibate but not chaste, which means they can have sex but not marry.

#19
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I think your terminology is completely hiding your point, Torch. A deadbeat dad is someone who intentionally evades providing care for their child, primarily financially. None of your cases meet that, so everyone is saying you’re wrong. There’s a definition for a term that doesn’t meet your criteria.

 

And your criteria is inconsistent. You’re complaining about parents not knowing their kids, and then you add in Han Solo, and when it’s pointed out that his case is completely different, you go to “Oh, he’s a Deadbeat because he left Leia”. After reading things again, I understand you less than a typical Ms. Spam Lyceum post, and that’s saying a lot.

 

All I can come up with is you’re sick of a trend of having lead characters not be in stereotypical nuclear families. Is that it, or is there something else? 



#20
zambingo

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I have gathered that I am obviously not getting my point across, and that is a failing on me not anyone else. Apparently I am actually an idiot, as I often explain.

For the record: I have never once promoted Nuclear Families, traditional or perhaps stereotypical structure, over any other family formation. Not here, not in real life. Ever. My stance has always been professed (and lived personally being that I am at home father) as what works for your (not you literally, speaking generally here) family is what works for your family and other people should shut the **** up about it.

In this thread I did not change criteria when you or others presented opposition to the characters I listed. I explained myself further, that to me the dead beat definition includes how the mother is treated, I specifically noted that in the discussion about Han and Leia. And as you noted, Brando, this is probably a failing from using the phrase Dead Beat Dad and that perhaps having a stricter definition than I was aware of.

Also Tank noted that certain stories are built this way. I responded to him, how I felt about characters that were seemingly written to break the cycles of their past are now written as prisoners to the cycle.

The posted defenses for these characters being written this way (and imo that these characters were only now written this way) were what I felt were just excuses of behavior, excuses being accepted for whatever reason, and excuses that would not excuse the behavior of a real life person. So I wrote a satirical response to highlight the essence of those excuses as song titles.

Zathras, specifically in regards to your remembrance of the sequence for Han and Ben. The films display that Han and Leia did not have Ben until he showed an affinity to the dark side, rather more ambiguously that Han and Leia did have Ben until he displayed an ability with the force. Leia did not continue her training, or train Ben, apparently because she had a bad feeling about it all. Luke trains Ben, seemingly with Leias approval and the only thing we know in regards to Han here is Luke says that Han was Han about it... which is such a loose phrasing that it can mean anything. It could mean that Han disagreed, agreed, was angry, was aloof, a flake, it means anything everything and nothing which is probably why that is one of (imo) the good lines in TROS. None of that, however, impacts my conclusion that Han (like other OT characters) were broken by the ST and that Han is a dead beat.

Feel free to ignore me, this thread at least lol, I am at a loss how to further explain myself here.

#21
zambingo

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Okay, one more shot.

If the WB wanted a story where Superman was missing for years but has a kid, why use that kid as a swerve (which can be the only, imo, explanation for the narrative choice) when everyone watching knows who he is right away anyway? Why wasnt Superman written to have told Lois who he was, married Lois, had a kid (the order of marriage and kid is not important to me, although people can argue that if they want) and then was pulled away by duty? Duty that took so long Lois concludes he is probably dead and moves on as someone could (at least eventually) have the wherewithal to do so should they please to? Why isnt the drama written for that situation? Why was Superman... OF ALL PEOPLE... written to bag, tag and leave Lois behind with no seeming understanding of his action (he did the sex, people) or the consequences? Now I know this is from a different franchise, but doesnt power tie with responsibility? Superman, of all people. (shakes head)

What about Indy... well, similarly the above applies. If the story was about Indy having issues with a son, whyd he have to be a dead bea okay absent father to accomplish this? Why did they shackle him to his own fathers mistake, his own fathers mistake which is made a point of total contention for him in his previous adventures, rather than write that Indy is a dad that has... omg... issues with his teen son and has... omg... issues in his marriage he has to work on?!

Especially so when you consider these mens positions in regards to their own origins, fathers etc.

#22
Zerimar Nyliram

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Han isn't a deadbeat dad in the EU.

giphy.gif


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#23
Zathras

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Zathras, specifically in regards to your remembrance of the sequence for Han and Ben. The films display that Han and Leia did not have Ben until he showed an affinity to the dark side, rather more ambiguously that Han and Leia did have Ben until he displayed an ability with the force. Leia did not continue her training, or train Ben, apparently because she had a bad feeling about it all. Luke trains Ben, seemingly with Leias approval and the only thing we know in regards to Han here is Luke says that Han was Han about it... which is such a loose phrasing that it can mean anything. It could mean that Han disagreed, agreed, was angry, was aloof, a flake, it means anything everything and nothing which is probably why that is one of (imo) the good lines in TROS. None of that, however, impacts my conclusion that Han (like other OT characters) were broken by the ST and that Han is a dead beat.

I see.  I'm not arguing or anything, just discussing.   I suppose that is one interpretation, but from my understanding of the movies and sources I have read online, it seems to me that Leia gave up being a jedi prior to giving birth to Ben.  Once Ben exhibited force sensitivity and seemed to be going down a dark path, he was sent to Luke's Jedi Order to help control his dark impulses, when he was then corrupted by Snoke/Emperor (we don't have a lot of specifics, other than what is said in the films and shown),  Luke falters for a split second and almost kills him which pushes Ben over the edge and he destroys the Jedi order and joins Snoke.    My understanding is that is when Han and Leia's marriage fell apart, and each of them went back to what they did before they married: Leia a leader (this time the resistance), and Han a smuggler.   Both were aware how the dark side corrupts and while Luke redeemed Vader, he failed with Kylo Ren.  All three had a hand in creating a new Darth Vader, for all intents and purposes, and they dealt with it in their own way, but none of them had a solution.  Maybe Han was a bad husband, but I don't see him as a dead beat dad.  He did try to bring Kylo back with him in TFA, but by that point Kylo was fully evil, and killed him. 

 

I mean I understand what you are saying about over-used tropes and all (and I agree with you to a point: broken families are over-used these days in movies and TV), but I just have to part company and say this specific example is not indicative of Han being a deadbeat dad.


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#24
Zathras

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Han isn't a deadbeat dad in the EU.

giphy.gif

Darth Caedus was an almost identical situation to Kylo Ren, so by your logic if EU Han wasn't a deadbeat dad, neither was ST Han.



#25
Zerimar Nyliram

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Except that he wasn't identical at all. This might require a lengthy conversation, but two things that Kylo is that Caedus is not are: 1) underdeveloped, and 2) whiny/emo.

My definitive of "deadbeat" is the same as the universally accepted definition: a parent who abandons his or her spouse and/or children for any length of time. From what I remember from watching The Force Awakens, Han does exactly that. He never does this in the EU.





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