‘Daddy Knows Best’ Knows What’s Really Funny
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Dads on television have it rough. They are either loving dimwits with very little interest in the emotional needs of their families (e.g. Homer Simpson), or they are meth-cooking supervillains, adulterers, and murderers. Steve Rannazzisi in “Daddy Knows Best” falls into the former category. He’s lazy, insensitive, and overall pretty awful. But much like your Homer Simpsons, Rannazzisi has a heart of gold beating under that selfish, stupid chest of his. He’s not perfect by any stretch but at least he cares, at least he’s funnier than hell.
Rannazzisi has experience playing the muddled dad. He also plays Kevin, a clueless fantasy football-obsessed father in the FX show “The League.” But unlike Kevin from “The League,” Rannazzisi in “Daddy Knows Best” possesses almost zero social decorum. It would make Rannazzisi hard to love if not for the fact that he is ultimately clueless. It’s not that he doesn’t care, because he does. In fact, throughout “Daddy Knows Best,” Rannazzisi does the best he can while trying to support his family. Unfortunately, almost every instance of this results in some catastrophically awful ending. It’s sort of tragic in a backwards, self-serving way.
Each episode of “Daddy Knows Best” plays out in three- to five-minute intervals more akin to sketches than actual episodes. Primarily, Rannazzisi and his wife (Jade Catta-Preta) square off about one particular poor decision he has made. In the second seasn’s maiden episode, Rannazzisi is caught attending a late-night fight club instead of the ballet with his wife. It’s a classic television dad set up: Clueless husband hates the ballet, lies about it, and is caught with his metaphorical pants down. “Daddy Knows Best” flips the equation around, however, placing Rannazzisi in a completely insane alternative. Clueless husband isn’t ditching the ballet to drink with his buds or go bowling, he is actually at a fight club where he proceeds to get knocked the f**k out.
“Daddy Knows Best” thrives in its ability to subvert the classic television dad trope. A clueless dad skipping out on the ballet or being emotionally distant is old news, we’ve seen it a million times. But how often is that dad forced to argue with his wife about filming a sex tape just to measure his own *ahem* progress?
Rannazzisi is lovable, deplorable, caring, and insensitive. He is a complex man living in a world that continually punishes him for his poor choices. Sure, we sometimes hate Rannazzisi for making dumb decisions, but watching him squirm once he’s caught is incredibly cathartic. He’s the dad we love and hate in equal parts, a protagonist we all know but are terrified to one day become. Thankfully Rannazzisi is here to show us the errors of our ways. Maybe he’s the father figure most disenfranchised millennials actually needed.