When it comes to, say, watching Janet Jackson's costume failure at the Super Bowl 12,000 times in slow motion (strictly for couture quality-control purposes, of course), TiVo is pretty handy. For psychosocial research into the mental state of American fathers, not so much.
No other conclusion is possible from TiVo's list of the favorite Lovable Loser TV Dads released just in time for Father's Day. Supposedly compiled from a survey of U.S. fathers, it's either deeply flawed or proves a definite correlation between fatherhood and brain damage. (In that case, further study is necessary to determine which causes which.)
Look at No. 1, Ray Barone of Everybody Loves Raymond. Loser, definitely; lovable, only if you regard whining as soothing ambient sound. Family Guy's Peter Griffin at No. 5? Nobody could be cursed with a talking baby and a talking dog without some serious karmic offenses in his past.
Then there are All in the Family's Archie Bunker at No. 2 and Tony Soprano at No. 10. Putting aside the delicate question of the lovability quotient of racists buffoons and Mafia sociopaths, in what sense are these guys losers? Archie ruled his house with an iron fist (‘‘Stifle yaself, Edith!'') and Tony his with a tire iron. He even strangled a guy while taking daughter Meadow on a college visit. These guys got anything they wanted, far beyond the mere boundaries of television; Archie, in a 1976 episode, demanded the election of Ronald Reagan as president, and sure enough, it happened in 1980 -- a year after All in
the Family was canceled.
TiVo's full list:
1. Ray Barone, Everybody Loves Raymond
2. Archie Bunker, All in the Family
3. Al Bundy, Married with Children
4. George Lopez, The George Lopez Show
5. Peter Griffin, Family Guy
6. Homer Simpson, The Simpsons
7. Ralph Kramden, The Honeymooners
8. Carl Winslow, Family Matters
9. Hank Hill, King of the Hill
10. Tony Soprano, The Sopranos