The Lord sets a Father in honor over his children, as seen in a Cheerios Commercial

081514I’ve raised concerns in the past about the “men are stupid” variety of commercials that proliferate in our culture. The usual approach is to sell a product by showing some total buffoon of a man trying to use a product about which he doesn’t have a clue. And then some wise woman sets him straight—or even worse, the kids come to his rescue. The whole scenario goes something like this: “Gee, Honey, I’m just a stupid man. How does this product work?” And the wise wife responds, “Oh, Dear, that’s not how it’s done. Here, let me show you.”

Maybe some of the complaints are starting to register on Madison Avenue, because I’ve seen some improvement. The Cheerios commercial at the bottom of this post isn’t without its flaws, but at least it presents a normal man—a father even! And guess what? He actually seems to know what he’s doing and commands a little respect from his wife and kids. And they actually appear to like him! I know this doesn’t seem possible. After all, aren’t all men oversexed buffoons and even worse than children when it comes to having a clue? Isn’t beer and football all they know about?

Well at least this one commercial shows another side. It is a bit over the top in its cinematic technique, but it is drawing on a technique first used in the TV series “St. Elsewhere” and perfected in “West Wing,” which features the main characters moving quickly through a set of many rooms and navigating numerous conversations and situations in a rapid-fire way. The effect is stimulating and provides a vigorous study of the main characters and a vivid portrait of their lives.

The commercial is just quirky enough to escape the critique of the highly “un-PC” notion that most men and dads are decent guys, who are not stupid, and who exert a good influence on their kids through both support and admonishment. Without its cool quirkiness it would not likely have escaped the “PC-enforcers,” who would never brook the notion of supporting Scripture, which says, The Lord sets a father in honor over his children (Sirach 3:2). My favorite line in the commercial is, “Now, dad-ability isn’t always easy. When a rule is broken we’re the enforcement. But when a heart is broken we’re the reinforcement.”

I’m sure you’ve noticed the playful practice in modern times of “verbing,” wherein a noun, or less commonly an adjective, is turned into a verb: “Your verbing weirds me out.” The title of the commercial below is “How to Dad,” in which “Dad,” a noun, is used as a verb. I have mixed feelings about the practice but here it is done in fun.

Enjoy the commercial!

12 Replies to “The Lord sets a Father in honor over his children, as seen in a Cheerios Commercial”

  1. Not only do commercials make men look bad. This has been at the heart of the entertainment world for decades. (Remember Archie Bunker?) For my part I have no doubt this is the deliberate choice of a Hollywood mind-set to destroy the Christian image of manhood in the family.

  2. Not only is the depiction of Dad in this commercial against the current norm, but did anyone notice how many kids are in this family? 4– not exactly huge, but much larger than we typically see on TV these days!

  3. I think you missed the essential point of the commercial. The only reason that this father is allowed to appear “good” and capable, is because he is staying home and taking care of the kids while his wife goes to work. He is the one running around the house “mothering” the children. Also, it appears he is terrible at keeping the bushes alongside the driveway alive.

  4. This is great – and, even better he’s got four kids! How did that get past the culture police!!! I’ve noticed lately that many ‘family’ ads have no dad or husband at all. In some ways that is worse, progressing from the tolerated ‘dumb guy’ to completely unnecessary/absent guy.

  5. Archie Bunker was depicted as an anomaly, though, not the norm. I think the “men as buffoons” really hit its stride with Al Bundy in Married With Children. I complain about this all the time, and was delighted to see the Cheerios commercial. I don’t watch much television – is it actually being aired? It’s rather long for television.

  6. Conversion in English has always been a common grammatical device. Shakespeare used it, as did Gerard Manley Hopkins.

  7. Liked the commercial. Dad in this family was pretty much on top of the various situations. Much better than a Dagwood Bumstead type clown, to be saved by his wife’s wisdom from silly predicaments.
    When our five kids were small, my BW and I discussed things – school plays coming up, scheduled scout outings, possible conflicts in schedules etc.
    I often phoned her before I left work to determine if I needed to adjust the routine. The majority of the dumb situations on TV comedies are set up BECAUSE the dad and mom don’t talk (phone, text) to each other when an unscheduled event impacts one or more of their kids.

  8. Archie Bunker was more about generation gap, a fuddy-duddy, set in his ways. And yet, even he came around, ultimately. Reason won him over.

    How to Dad? Would “how to father” or “how to parent” be any different?

  9. Did a bit of “catch up” reading and caught this. Put Cheerios on my shopping list this morning and, since I haven’t had them in a while, is starting to look forward to it. If there’s two flavours I’ll even buy one of each.
    I’ve heard that, even though activists complain that they can’t get Canadians to support a boycott we will support, seemingly, positive retail products, even if it costs more. So I’ll “Canadian” it.

    1. Done. Cheerios for breakfast tomorrow morning.
      Which or both? Don’t know yet.

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