Modern Dads – A Huge Miss by A&E

Modern Dads - Round Table

A&E Modern Dads (From Right to Left – Rick, Nathan, and Stone) with their children

Modern Dads on A&E, upon first glance, was a step in the right direction for dads.  It appeared as though the media was starting to take note about dads being more involved in the family and raising children.  It is something that many dads are fighting to prove that we are an involved parent.

Before getting into the brunt of the review of Modern Dads, let me first say that I do not know these dads, nor do I know what type of parent they are.  I am certain that these dads are incredible parents, because after all it isn’t what other people think but who you are to your child.  My biggest problem is with the parts of being a stay-at-home-dad that A&E chose to show.

To start, I was not impressed with the beginning.  They made fatherhood sound like a game at one point someone said, “Someone could get killed out there.”  That went just a tad far in my eyes.  A&E really took the creative juices to the extreme with this beginning making fatherhood the equivalent to Monday Night Football.

There was one part towards the beginning of Modern Dads when one of the dads, Nathan, mentioned that fatherhood has made him more emotional.  There is not a dad out there that would disagree with that.  At this point in time I thought that this show would not be so bad and it might be worth watching.  But, you knew that A&E was not going to play that card with these dads, which should be played more.

Modern Dads - Dads Round Table

A&E Modern Dad Sean and his children

I am not sure if this was scripted or not but Rick mentioned that his daughter pulled a knife out of the dishwasher.  I will admit that this is probably more of a common occurrence than many would like to admit, however it does not look good on you as a parent mentioning this on a reality show.  Just the way that Sean said it though made it sound like this is so common in his house that all of his kids and himself and the TV crew are in danger.

It appears like Modern Dads is very much forced, scripted, and very much NOT reality TV.  If that is what you are looking for when you watch this show you might want to turn it, but then again, what is true reality TV these days?  The conversations between the dads look almost staged.  If you watch the conversation between them while they are at the park it almost appears as though they are all very much uncomfortable with the situation.  They are talking about a vasectomy which can be an uncomfortable topic at times, a topic that we have even talked about here on Dads Round Table a couple times as a matter of fact., but not something that most men stand around in a public park and talk about.

Another seemingly scripted portion of Modern Dads, Stone, the single dad, goes to visit the doctor about the vasectomy that the four dads talked about him getting and flat-out refuses to get one.  As the doctor is explaining the procedure, the show is cut between the doctor and Stones daughter in the waiting room cutting a piece of paper.  This was cleaver editing and as a video editor I can appreciate this portion of the show because I was able to see the creativity in this portion of the show.

One dad refused to stop the car to pick up one of the other dads so that his child would continue to sleep.  That part had to have come from a producer telling them to do that.  Sure it looks cool to do but what mature person would really do that.  A&E sure has cut Modern Dads to make dads look like immature idiots in this show.  As I mentioned, this is unfortunate and not an accurate portrayal of dads, anything but reality.

There is one message that Modern Dads does get across, the importance of family to dads, even if Stone is single.  It is interesting to see how you can tell that these dads are dedicated to their family by taking on birthday party (despite one saying “dads know how to party” like they are back in college) planning and come up with a very creative medieval time 1st birthday.  For Modern Dads in general terms family is everything to us, and this show does a great job of at least showing that.

While Modern Dads had its moments, there were too many “dads are clueless” moments to make up for it.  The show is not a step forward that real “Modern Dads” need and what this show should be.  I plan on watching this show for a couple more episodes to see if things improve, and because it is right after Duck Dynasty, but if A&E does not change how these four fantastic involved dads are, than I will turn the channel, or better yet turn the TV off all together, play with my son, and be a Modern Dad to him.

Have you seen Modern Dads yet? If so what are your thoughts on the show?


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  1. Mike says:

    I couldn’t agree more, I thought the show was scripted and overall in bad taste. The children were a minor part of the show as the dad’s and their “antic” seemed to be the spotlight. Most shows like this seem scripted after a season or two, but to see the lack of authenticity from episode 1 is disheartening to anyone who may have been pulling for this show to work.

    • Mike, I could not have said it better. Antic’s was the word I was searching for as I was writing this piece. Those antic’s seemed to be forced almost which just made this show really bad.

      I try to look for the good in everything and the only good thing that I can see as I mentioned is the importance of family within the show. The dads do plan a birthday party for a one-year-old, which my wife would NEVER let me be in charge of.

  2. I did not see the 1st episode, but now I have to catch the next one. As Dads are taking their proper place in child-rearing and care responsibility,the old saw “Any press is good press” doesn’t apply here.Early press sets the tone for further discussion.

    • I am able to see a few positives, atleast A&E was able to see that the “Modern Dad” is changing and being more involved and they are bringing to light that fact. How they are portraying that though, is not helping out dads.

  3. JoeB says:

    I have not seen it, nor do I think ANY network would be interested in showing the positive side of dads.

    It’s not the idiocy that is the negative, because we are all a bit quirky, but they don’t show that we are really passionate about being family men.

    • As I mentioned, if you are looking for a positive in the show, you can tell what their families mean to these dads. But no where in the show is that said so you have to assume that.

  4. Nick says:

    It’s still sitting on my DVR, and one of these nights after I spend the day with the kids, I’ll turn it on for a quick run through. I will say, I hold more hope for this than the upcoming Seth Green sitcom “Dads” on FOX when it comes to portraying modern dads in a positive light. I’ve heard good things about how “Duck Dynasty” is done, so maybe A&E will pull it together as the season runs.

  5. I have only seen the first episode, and I think your criticisms are valid. In the end, one man’s hilarious goofball with a big personality is another man’s idiot making dads look bad, though. There’s no pleasing everyone. And let’s face it, a realistic show about care-giving would be pretty boring, so rather than try to drum up fake drama through fights between the guys or marital problems, they’re happily going for making it entertaining my casting some funny, self-deprecating guys. I honestly saw nothing of the “dumb dad” stereotype in the first episode — to the contrary, I thought they all seemed really quick-witted, competent at what they were doing, and to be embracing the role.

    All of that said, I hope you keep watching, because I do know some of the people involved behind the scenes with the show, and they are all very, clear on not wanting to make dads look like idiots. One of the producers is SAHD Adrian Kulp from “Dad or Alive.” The realities involved with making a show like this also mean that the pilot episode is almost always the weakest, and as the season progresses their on-screen conversations will feel a lot less scripted. I hope they focus less on Stone and his sex-life in the future, for sure.

    • I agree. I know Dad or Alive is involved, and while the show hasn’t broadcast in Australia yet, I can’t see it going too badly. Hopefully it builds into something decent for everyone.

  6. Chris says:

    I guarantee you this show is scripted and not “reaity” by any classic sense of the word. How do I know this? I live in Austin, and they have been filming parts of the show where I work. I saw them film for about four hours one day – There is a huge unseen film crew… Maybe 25 people just out of camera view the whole time, and I watched them do multiple takes of the same scene, over and over, the “Dad” I watched is the fat bearded guy, and he did the same basic scene with minor dialogue variations at least five times. He seemed to be improvising the dialogue, but was working from a script – It looks like they have them on laptops that the production crew had just out of shot.

  7. Chris says:

    The weirdest part to me were the multiple kid wranglers that were on set. There were lengthy breaks in the action between takes, and as soon as the scene ended, the “Dad” would hand off the kids to one of several women circling the area with strollers. Seemed to be how they kept the kids occupied and calm between takes… But it was disquieting to see a supposedly dedicated Dad just hand off his kid to someone like the child was a sack of flour. I’m not a father myself, but the whole feel one got watching this crap get filmed was that its all entirely fake. Nothing you’re seeing on this show is real.

  8. Modern Dads is Satan. says:

    this show is on another level of terrible. Why not just make a scripted show rather than getting these absolutely terrible actors either reading scripted lines or coming up with their own “storylines” and lines. The “ladies man” is just the biggest slimy douchebag. I honestly feel like all of these guys are closet homosexuals, it’s so pathetic and cringeworthy.

    • Brandon P. Duncan says:

      No, no, please, don’t hold back. Tell us how you really feel about the show.

  9. MsAmericanPatriot says:

    Rookie do you and the other guys at the tabled know how many FEMINIST leaning females are on the crew of Modern Dad because it seems like they are the ones behind painting the dads that way. Feminists do NOT like stay at home dad. They do NOT find them “sexy” and this show comes across that way to me. If these guys had wives they were probably very, very feminist leading and are now damaged goods (the dad’s on the show). Their odds in finding another woman have decreased exponentially. If they get another it is because of their new found fame from being on the show. It is thanks to feminism men especially white men which is the cast of this show are under appreciated and painted as jerks, bumbling fools and ignorant. It is high time white men took a stand and took back what is rightfully theirs.

  10. GeorgeWilson says:

    I watched a little of the show for the first time tonight and within just a few minutes one of the dads was calling the others “bitches,” and then one or another proceeds to say something that needs to be bleeped…all in front of one the kids (a kid that can talk and understand what is being said). Super parenting. NOT.

  11. Chiqa says:

    Oh come on people. I enjoy it. Everyone is so critical. Boy I wish I had your amount of free time on my hands. Let them live.

This is what I think...