“Superdad” Season One, Episode Nine
There’s been a lot of play this season about the type of parent Jim is and the type of parent Jeannie is. Jim is a guy who is always on the lookout for that next lazy moment. Those moments are few and far between when you have five kids. So we see him doing things like pushing a sleeping child in a stroller to go have lunch at his favorite deli with his best friend. Which is a very bare minimum of parenting.
But what happens when Jim starts getting too much parenting credit for that teeny-tiny amount of parenting? He lands on the cover of New York Dad magazine. Throughout the article, which paints Jim as a perfect and involved father, Jeannie’s name is not mentioned once. There is one reference to “Jim’s wife,” but otherwise readers would believe Jim is a single father.
All this is fine with Jeannie, at first. Then it isn’t as days go by and Jim continues to receive unearned adoration from Father Nicholas and the teachers at the kids’ preschool. Jim is well aware that he doesn’t deserve this praise, but doesn’t want to stop it. Meanwhile, he and his buddy Dave argue about Jim’s ‘clean’ act vs. Dave’s ‘edgy’ act, and how Dave thinks it’s emasculating to be only known as a dad.
Daniel stops by with the news that the 92nd Street Y wants Jim to be a speaker on a parenting series they’re doing. Daniel isn’t happy, but he’s on the board of the Y, and that’s who the other board members wanted. Daniel and Jim know that he doesn’t deserve it, so Jim tells Jeannie that they want her to do it.
Jeannie is thrilled to do it, but the audience turns on her when she lets a few complaints about Jim’s lazy parenting loose. And she only gets them back when she starts talking about what a great dad Jim is. She gets home and is completely frustrated, and tells Jim she wants to stay ‘behind the scenes’ from now on. And anyway, being a mom behind the scenes is a lot more rewarding.
- “You’re literally being rewarded for overpopulating the planet with your aryan offspring” - Dave to Jim after seeing the magazine cover.
- Jim tells Dave that parenting is, “The most important thing I’ll ever fail at.”
- A question to one of the kids “What superpowers does your dad have?” Kid: (pause) “He sleeps a lot.”
- Jim pathetically eating in every scene reaches its apex in this episode when he’s eating a babyfood pouch in bed.
- “I don’t want to be on the cover of a magazine. Being on the cover of a magazine? That’s not real. Being a mom is real.” -Jeannie to Jim after her disastrous Y speech.
- “I don’t want to be the one in the spotlight. That audience tonight turned on me…. I feel like I finally understand how hard it must be to be you. To get up on the stage every night in front of an audience and know you could fail. No wonder you eat so much. I don’t need the approval of a roomful of strangers. The need for it must stem from a deep psychological problem. Maybe some sort of childhood trauma.” Jeannie is not making Jim feel any better at all. But still, right after that, the baby starts crying and Jim lets Jeannie relax while he gets him. Until he realizes the baby only wants her. Jeannie’s happy to be wanted.