Showtime’s new show I’m Dying Up Here is already well past the level of even pretending to be decent, so I’ll just get right to it. We’re three episodes in, and the show has not yet improved on the overplayed cursing, the most degrading crude humor, and the occasional near-nudity. This week, however, the show decided to drag fatherhood down with it…on Father’s Day, of all times.
On the June 18 episode “The Cost of a Free Buffet,” Bill (Andrew Santino) has a rough experience with his visiting father who is currently being laid off from his job at General Motors. In addition to blaming “Arabs and Japs” for Detroit’s failing economy, his father shows disdain for Bill’s current unemployment, warning, “I can buy and sell you ten times over.” Great guy, right there. Unfortunately, Bill is not alone as he laments with his friends Ralph (Erik Griffin) and Sully (Stephen Guarino) about their lousy dads.
Ralph: Oh, Bill, just so you know, if you would like to pay the tab, I promise not to get pissed at you.
Bill: What's the age cutoff for child abuse? Is it 30?
Ralph: Oh, shit, then it's just regular abuse.
Sully: Doesn't get anywhere near the sympathy.
Bill: Yeah, there's no adorable spokesperson, is there?
Sully: When I was ten, my dad beat me with a soup ladle because I said that Eisenhower walked like a lady. In the middle of it, he had an asthma attack and my mom took over. The really sad part is my mother was a registered Democrat.
Ralph: You know, my father never hit me.
Bill: Really? How did you guys celebrate Christmas?
Ralph: Left when I was five.
Sully: That's terrible. Do you remember what you did to make him not love you?
Bill: You don't know lucky you are, man.
Ralph: Listen, I ain't mad. The man did the best he could.
Bill: I think you mean the least he could.
Ralph: Oh, like your son ain't gonna be bitching about you when he's our age?
Sully: Yeeah-yeah, that's why I didn't order the fries. I'm saving up for therapy.
Bill: That's smart. My dad loves fries.
Ralph: Come on, Bill, there's got to be something you can point to that your father did right.
Bill: Well...I guess he didn't hit us on Sundays 'cause that's God's day, so.
Ralph: Come on, Bill.
Bill: Uh. All right, well, we were never hungry. And, uh, there was always a roof over our head.
Ralph: There you go. See? Best you can do, right? Yeah. And that's all your kid can hope for.
What a pleasant scene to close out Father’s Day: reminding the viewers how fathers can be abusive jerks or abandoning losers. At least they remembered that fathers can also bring home a paycheck. Most feminists don’t even go that far these days. But we deserve better. Kids without good fathers deserve far better than a one-parent home. Good fathers deserve better than to be demeaned or considered non-existent, and people (especially those in Hollywood) should take note of that.
Don’t think that moms get the better half in this episode, though. Earlier in, there's an entire 2-minute scene where Adam (RJ Cyler) tells a horribly graphic and offensive "joke" about having sex with Edgar’s (Al Madrigal) mother with nearly every awful word imaginable. I’m not showing that scene, but, considering how well it's received in the episode, you probably won’t have to wait long for the next shockingly over-the-top gag, mothers and fathers be darned.
I hope all you dads had a Happy Father’s Day - Heaven knows, after this, you need all the appreciation you can get.