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The Bumbling Man: Reinforcing Male Stereotypes

The bumbling man and/or dad—if you’ve watched a sitcom chances are you know him.  He almost always does something wrong during any given episode; his most common offenses include lying, forgetting, breaking, ruining dinner, or saying the wrong thing.  The wife or woman is often smart as a tack, well-balanced and all-knowing.  She comes through the door with kids in tow and groceries in hand to find that "dad" couldn’t even handle the simple task of putting the lasagna in the oven to heat up (the stupid male let it sit out on the counter, fed it to the dog, used it as a chair cushion—the more absurdly moronic the better).  He is chided, belittled, and given a kiss—she still loves her husband even if he is a stupid man.

Now of course, I’m generalizing.  There are sitcoms out there where the man isn’t a complete moron, or the wife is a bit dumb as well.  But I see a disturbing proclivity of men who simply cannot handle a task if it doesn’t involve sports or drinking.  This is a direct reciprocal of the stereotype that women can’t handle anything that is outside of fashion or caring for the home.  The airhead wife has been replaced by the bumbling dad.  And the problem isn’t restricted to the realm of sitcoms.