Do moms have to die for fathers to be dads? (on television)

Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

I watch too much television, I’m able to admit that at this point in my life. In watching television I’ve noticed something a little strange and I wonder if it is a trend or a coincidence. The beloved mother is dead.

Okay, so I’ve been watching three family friendly shows Netflix’s Country Comfort and Dad Stop Embarrassing Me, and NBC’s Kenan. All three are shows with single fathers trying to navigate raising children after get this, the mother has passed away. The mother’s death is the backstory that propels the dads doing dad things and family dynamics.

I personally think the shows are good within the family comedy show genre so this is not a critique of that itself. I’m just wondering why three newly released shows of 2021 all have the mother dead? Two were married at the time of their death and one had died so the child had to move in with the father. Yet all dead moms.

I like seeing fathers being dads especially Black fathers (Kenan and Dad Stop…). The more you see it the more you know they exist. So is that the point? Do we need to be reminded that there are children out there everyday transitioning from having two living parents to just one? I can see value in that. And each show has a way of dealing with the subject.

I also wonder if there is any other reason? Is it too difficult to imagine two parents making choices that cause a child to be raised by the father? Maybe having a mother available makes it seem like you have to bring a physical mom into the show at some point and then dynamics and story focus change? Or maybe it was purely coincidental.

All of the shows deal with death, a potential new mate, and the fumblings of dads who are human. They also show the need for community whether it be actual family. Two of the shows (Kenan and Dad Stop…) have grandfathers and the father’s sibling as extra hands in the story. The other show (Country Comfort) a new live in nanny. All of which add and alleviate problems with transitioning through grief and general parenthood.

We need more dads being awesome dads on screen. Flawed and trying. However, maybe we need to know that there’s more ways for a dad to raise his children than the death of their mother.

A Black woman of many talents. Comedian, writer, producer, and human person.

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