NBC has no idea how to conduct a parenting challenge

Dancortese_lNBC recently cut back its order for pilot-season scripts. Bad idea! I know we’re in the middle of a writer’s strike, but the network’s upcoming My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad (hosted by Dan Cortese, pictured) and America’s Favorite Mom sound unspeakably jank. At this rate, folks are going to be forced to sit around the table and talk to each other at dinnertime. And then what? Reading? Doing cross-stitch? Abandoning indoor plumbing for outhouses?

That said, with a few tweaks, I think these concepts can be saved. As it stands, My Dad will pit fathers and their children against each other in "stunt-driven challenges." But why not make these papas prove their worth in the most grueling and important tests of all? If I produced My Dad, I’d have contestants face off against each other as they attempt to do the following:

• Change a poopy diaper on a surly toddler with a severe rash.
• Navigate a crowded Wal-Mart toy aisle on Black Friday with three kids — without any temper tantrums, and without making a purchase.
• Help a teenager with her trigonometry homework. (Pythago-who?)

Similarly, America’s Favorite Mom could be must-see TV if it’s pulled from the clutches of Today, and turns its focus to mothers as they try to:

• Give a guilt trip about missing Cousin Susie’s baby shower
• Conjure up new, fascinating and paranoid scenarios in which their kids’ lives could be in peril. (Fasten your seatbelts!)
• Awkwardly have "the talk" with their teenage sons or daughters.

What other challenges would you like to see on My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad and/or America’s Favorite Mom? Don’t leave these decisions in the hands of network suits!

addCredit(“Dan Cortese: Frank Trapper/Corbis”)

Comments (12 total) Add your comment
  • BrandonK

    There’s my Dan Cortese! I’ve been looking for him everywhere…
    Seriously, where has he been for the last 10 years? LOL

  • Ames

    I propose the “show me don’t tell me” award for the mother who can most convincingly nag her single friends that having kids is the biggest blessing in the world, while simultaneously screaming and harping at her own kids — all while finding no irony in her words vs. actions.

  • http://whatisrunningthroughourminds.blogspot.com/

    Most of these shows just seem so forced. I don’t find them entertaining at all.
    Have to think of a challenge though and then I’ll be back

  • Elizabeth

    Thanks Michael for the gratuitous “gun-show” picture of Dan; he made an appearance on “8 Simple Rules” and “What I Like About You” then disappeared again. (This strike is brutal!)

  • Lillian

    I’d love to see a dad complete a week’s worth of errands and chores in one day. He can even have a full 24 hours…if he’s willing to forego sleep.

  • Snarf

    Have some parents actually take a real interst in raising their children? Oh, snap.

  • mikey

    Which dad can drive the furthest on a family road trip without threatening to either “stop this car right now” or “turn this car around and go straight back home?”
    Which mom can perform the most spit-on-a-Kleenex-based cleansing of her child in front of a group of that child’s friends before the child sprints off crying uncontrollably?

  • Mike

    Can’t you just ignore this crap the networks are coming up with and just tell us when this moronic strike is over?

  • Elizabeth

    Snarf: A-Freakin-Men! Lets watch Dad (Mom) tear themselves away from being awesome and sitting down while their kid does homework. I hope they’ve got some dramatic music que’d up for that!

  • Ep Sato

    Dan Cortese is still alive? Man, I pictured him dead in some alleyway after an OD, selling himself for drug money in Las Vegas or making his comeback on “the Surreal Life”. He’s really alive and well? Shocking.
    Oi, this tv strike is making like less than awesome these days. Without fresh episodes to watch last night I actually sat down and watched the “State of the Union”. Worst was that I found myself cheering and jeering along with the congressional Democrats. At home by myself no less. How lame is that?
    Worse yet, Mike Slezak and Annie Barrett have gotten stuck writing about all these crappy reality shows instead of writing Kickazz send ups of stuff we like to watch. (Idol is the exception to this rule. Thanks to my main man and to Annie B for keeping up Idolatry and the power rankings).
    Someone please end this strike already!

  • Scott

    People that come up with this crap should be ashamed of themselves. But not as ashamed as the desperate nitwits who want to participate, or the brain-dead mouth-breathers who would watch it.

  • wildecat

    Unless the “My Dad” show has a “Putting the Kids to Bed Without Mom’s Help” competition, it is nothing but a fraud. And no one can be crowned “America’s Favorite Mom” unless they can be shown doing three loads of laundry while simultaneously helping multiple kids with homework and cooking a highly delicious, nutritionally balanced meal the whole family will love. Just a typical day at my house, of course! (Ummm…except for the cooking part)

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