Sunday, June 04, 2006

Defining Manhood in Sitcom-Land

I recently caught a syndicated episode of Tim Allen's Home Improvement television sitcom. The episode focused on Tim's reluctance to get a vasectomy despite his wife Jill's requests for Tim to do so. The episode included the expected silly jokes involving a man's virility including measuring a man by his ability to sire children. Tim's reactions were further complictaed when he saw that the urologist was a woman and he wasn't letting a lady doctor into "man-land".

One of the episode's pivotal scenes was Tim at the backyard fence talking with his neighbor Wilson. Part of Tim's reluctance to have the vasectomy was that he never felt more like a man than when he heard his wife was pregnant that first time. He and Wilson had a discussion regarding cultural beliefs about men and virility. Wilson being Wilson offered reasons that the act of creating kids does not define a man as there are many facets to be being a true man besides being able to procreate. Had it stopped at the procreation = manhood I would have been pissed. Years ago watching this I would have watched the episode for pure comedic value but it's interesting how present facts do color your interpretations and reactions.


Bea said...

Wilson rocks.

He always pulls shit like this. He's so cool.

It's a pity he can only be wise from the anonymity of behind a fence...


Stork Stalking said...

oh I totally understand what you mean... I was watching a re-run of "Friends" the other day... it was an episode where Monica decides that she wants to have a baby by herself, and use a sperm donor. In the end Joey talks her out of it... saying that he always pictured her with this perfect family, with a perfect house... I of course lost it... sitting there crying on my couch at an episode that I didn't think twice about a few years ago!
Am I never going to have that perfect little family... with that perfect little life? Probably... I will.. Donor or no donor... but the episode left me feeling like my options were less than perfect :(
(Of course our situation is totally different... but it doesn't matter... the sensitivity is in overdrive on this subject)