Strong television male characters such as Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith), Doctor Heathcliff Huxtable (Bill Cosby), Ward Cleaver (Hugh Beaumont), and Mike Brady (Robert Reed), as well as others were staples of quality family television programming up through the late 1980s. These fictional characters were examples of ManHusbandDads who portrayed the vocation in a positive light. Though some of the actors who have played these characters have clearly and publicly not reached their virtuous best in one or more of the Four Natural Aptitudes, it is important not to confuse the actor with the character they portrayed.
Sadly, most shows today portray fatherhood and masculinity in a negative way. Many TV “dad” figures tend to be portrayed as idiots who are disconnected from their family. This can be seen very clearly in the “Married with Children” series, for example, through the character Al Bundy (Ed O’Neill), or through other series that came to prominence in the 90s, like Everybody Loves Raymond, King of Queens, and The Simpsons. Typically, in these shows, it is the wife and children who run the household. Although some of these lackluster father-figure series’ do have some funny moments, they neglect to show the moral lessons that used to be present in shows of decades past, and tend to use the father-figure as an easy target for every angle of humor and inappropriate behavior.
It is great to see that actor Tim Allen, who is an outspoken conservative and a Man of traditional values, has reclaimed the old tradition of sitcom through his “Last Man Standing” series. This series began in 2011 on the ABC television network. [Editor’s Note: Spoilers if you are waiting to watch this on Netflix!] If you have not seen this truly funny show, the story plot is very simple. Tim Allen’s character, Mike Baxter is a ManHusbandDad with three daughters. His oldest daughter is a liberal who got pregnant out of wedlock in high school and has a hardcore liberal boyfriend who later becomes her husband. Mike’s middle child plays the stereotype of a “thinks she knows everything” teenage girl who is focused on popularity and looks, and a desire to be famous. This middle daughter has a boyfriend, who later becomes her husband, who is equally as clueless. Mike’s youngest daughter is a tomboy who you could say is a female clone of her father. She is big into sports, the military, and has artistic musical skills and in lockstep with her Dad on political issues. Mike’s wonderful wife is a career scientist and liberal who is as dedicated to her children as Mike is. Mike Baxter works as the marketing executive of an outdoor sporting goods store, called Outdoor Man, a la Bass Pro Shop.
Throughout the series, Mike tries to reclaim and hold onto masculinity, and push back on what he sees as the radical liberal agenda that is destroying our culture, while at the same time raising his family in the reality of that culture. Because of his conservative beliefs, he often clashes with his oldest daughter’s husband in areas of responsibility, politics and traditional values. Throughout the series, Mike regularly hosts a vlog on Outdoor Man’s web site in which he promotes products in his store, while relating them to important truths in our culture and life. These vlogs are a commentary on manhood, politics, culture, family life, etc. and reflect the theme of the show. Mike’s intent with his vlogs are meant not only to sell products from his store, but to teach important lessons that will save our nation from the radical Left’s destruction of our culture. The character Mike Baxter wants to save manhood and America and feels that he is the last man standing for truth, justice, and the American way.
This series has many other subplots that play out throughout the seasons, and overall is a good, old-fashioned, timeless, family-friendly comedy where problems are solved in 23 minutes and there aren’t great big cliffhanger story arcs throughout the season. Mike Baxter is what one could say is the new Archie Bunker of the 21st century. While Archie Bunker back in the 1970s show “All in the Family” was a bigot and a crude man trying to hold on to the world in which he was raised, Mike Baxter is a new and improved version who is more dignified than Archie and recognizes the greatness and equality of people created in the image of God while still rightfully judging their actions and seeking to live out the Twelve Righteous Virtues.
As mentioned in previous posts, we can use good elements in fiction in our culture to help evangelize important truths. Through some of the old and new sitcoms, we can use the stories as vehicles to teach the importance of being a Man, Moral Clarity, and good traditional family values to our boys and misled adults. We Men do not want to be the last Men standing in our culture against the culture of death and the dictatorship of relativism. Let us ManHusbandDads stand up for truth, virtue, and traditional family values, and not be afraid to be Men. Tim Allen has done us and our culture a wonderful service through his TV show.
May God continue to bless every Man and Tim Allen. Let us pray that Tim’s show is fruitful in teaching and promoting the traditional view of Being a Man, with its necessary corrections God must surely be pleased with, that have served humanity since the dawn of time.
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[Editor’s Note: ManHusbandDad recognizes Tim Allen’s personal life is not perfect, and we do not hold him up as such. We do, however, find that he at least appears to be pursuing the Four Natural Aptitudes to his best ability. While faltering occasionally as we all do, he does in essence seem to be exemplifying the constant pursuit of Perfection commanded by Jesus Chris and taught by ManHusbandDad.]