Dad! No one wants to hear your stupid Vietnam stories!
Quite often, especially in shows set in the 50's and 60;s, the father figure will be a veteran. Whether he's a Standard '50s Father
or an Overprotective Dad
, he's capable of being a real hardcase in the right circumstances. Yes, even the Dads who appear to be nothing but creampuff can be tough guys when they need to be.
Often this is pulled in situations where a younger (almost always male) character needs to be browbeaten or intimidated. Whether the dad was merely a marine, or the equivalent of FOXHOUND
, at some point, they'll bring it up in a not-so-casual way when they need to remind the younger character that they aren't as soft and yielding as they seem to be.
This effect can also happen if Dad used to be a cop, or a government agent of some sort. In comedies, it often turns out that yeah, Dad was in the Army... but he was a cook, or a file clerk, or a mechanic, or had some other less than intimidating job.
- In Secondhand Lions during Hub McCann's Crowning Badass Speech of Asskicking, when he single-handedly takes down the greasers who invade the diner, he rather pointedly mentions that he is a veteran:
Hub McCann: "I'm Hub McCann. I've fought in two World Wars and countless smaller ones on three continents. I led thousands of men into battle with everything from horses and swords to artillery and tanks. I've seen the headwaters of the Nile, and tribes of natives no white man had ever seen before. I've won and lost a dozen fortunes, killed many men, and loved only one woman with a passion a flea like you could never begin to understand. That's who I am. NOW, GO HOME, BOY!"
- Howard Cunningham from Happy Days is a perfect example of a kindly, wise Standard '50s Father. But when he needed to be, he could remind his children (and he even reminded the Fonz at one point) that he'd been an infantryman during the war, and could still throw down if he needed to. It was later revealed that he had been a file clerk, and not an infantryman.