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“That boy ain’t right.”
There’s more to abuse than hitting.
tbh, I was kinda waiting for someone to point this out and yes, you’re absolutely right. Abuse doesn’t have to be physical, it can be emotional and/or verbal.
This comic came about because I‘d read several commentaries comparing Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin, specifically in regards to how they treat their daughters.
Almost everyone I know who takes the time to think critically about The Simpsons or Family Guy hones in on the fact that Peter physically and emotionally abuses Meg, whereas Homer is incompetent, neglectful, and absolutely does not understand Lisa – but he loves her and he tries.
In the commentary about how Peter and Homer treat their daughters, I didn’t really see anyone bring up the physical/emotional abuse of their sons.
To lay it out there – I loathe Family Guy. Fucking hate it.
I grew up watching The Simpsons and can have entire conversations purely through quoting the show. But as much as I love The Simpsons, I think the overall cultural attitude to corporal punishment (physical abuse) has changed enough that it’s time to retire the running “joke” of Homer choking Bart. It may have been a culturally acceptable joke ten years ago, but more and more research is showing seriously negative outcomes for kids that have experienced any form of physical punishment. We need to stop normalizing it.
As for King of the Hill, Hank and Peggy are hardly perfect parents and both have a tendency towards stifling Bobby’s more flamboyant and/or “feminine” behavior. But they both love Bobby; they have both, at different times during the show, been able to connect to Bobby through his various interests. While not perfect, they are a much healthier depiction of a family.
As a queer transgender dude who grew up in Texas and is totally unsuited for Southern concepts of masculinity, I have a real soft spot for King of the Hill and for Bobby. It’s a far more real and complex depiction of family, compared to the pointless cruelty of Family Guy or the lesser cruelties of The Simpsons.
Hank showed discomfort at times when Bobby showed how different he was, but Hank didn’t lose his temper as much with him. And as the series progressed, Hank started becoming more open minded and the two were depicted getting along a lot more.
And we have to remember, Hank Hill *came* from an abusive household. He never joined in on Cotton’s abuse of his mother to keep himself safe, but he also didn’t stand up for her, and he blamed himself for it ever since. When he sighs that his Bobby “ain’t right”, it’s because he’s afraid that Bobby will get bullied for being the way he is. Eventually, he realizes that Bobby is safe being the way he is, and he stops worrying about that so much. That’s why he warms up to Bobby’s comedy: he realizes that it’s Bobby’s best defense mechanism. And from that point on, he only keeps an eye out for particularly “asinine” stuff (like the episode where Bobby took clowning classes), because he understands the bullies’ perspective much better than Bobby. Hank has been bullied a great deal in his life; Bobby has not.