Bringing Up Father
is a retired newspaper comic strip debuting in 1913 (written by George Mc Manus) and ending in 2000, featuring the day-to-day life of "Jiggs", an Irish-American with a habit for drinking, brawling and being generally uncouth, and his long-suffering, abusive wife Maggie, who is constantly trying to get the family into "society". The over-reaching gag is that Jiggs prefers the simple life, eating corn beef and hash, drinking and partying with his buddies, and lazing about, while social-climbing Maggie beats him over the head with various utensils while attempting to force Jiggs into more civilized behavior- dressing up, meeting other rich folk, travelling the world, and more. Filling out the recurring cast is their daughter Catie, a pretty, but horrifically spoiled, young woman who shares her mother's social-climbing tendencies, and recieves dozens of marriage proposals from wealthy Dukes, Generals, and businessmen.
More or less a comic strip version of a Dom Com
, with a healthy dose of ethnic-based humor (more European than anything), Domestic Abuse
, and the everlasting image of the Henpecked Husband
This strip contains examples of:
- Art Evolution: Maggie was initially very fat, and Jiggs was taller, burlier and hairier. Maggie eventually grew into a tall "old hen" build, while Jiggs grew more squat to make Maggie's beatings seem more believable.
- Also, Jiggs' best pal Dinty Moore was drawn differently in nearly every instance for no apparent reason.
- Brother Chuck: Maggie and Jiggs had a son in the first couple strips. He quickly vanished, not really working within the confines of the strip (which worked best with two women admonishing him).
- Domestic Abuse: Played heavily for laughs as a major running gag. Maggie frequently beat Jiggs with frying pans, rolling pins, and whatever else was available when he displeased her.
- Parodied by MAD with "Bringing Back Father", where the domestic abuse was played seriously.
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: The strip just wouldn't work without this.
- Executive Meddling: As a Hearst newspaper strip, Bringing Up Father reflected it's bosses' political beliefs. Particularly a pro-Germany stance in World War I (from Jiggs' perspective), which went against the majority of American opinion.
- Henpecked Husband: Jiggs is one of the almighty versions of this, constantly being berated by his wife (and daughter) to act more civilized to get them into "society".
- Long Runner: 87 years fits this nicely. It was one of the oldest newspaper comic strips still in existence when it died, with numbers that are nearly impossible to replicate anymore.
- No Name Given: It seems that the family name is "Jiggs" sometimes, but it isn't very clear. And then, one wonders what Jiggs' first name is.
- Rule of Funny: Many gags blatantly ignored continuity, which wasn't seen as that important. Jiggs and Maggie would often suddenly be unable to read for the sake of a gag (being unable to order at a restaurant), when they were shown reading a newspaper only strips earlier.
- Running Gag: Several. Most common is Jiggs' constant (though mainly accidental) befuddling of Maggie's attempts to civilize him, and the resultant beating. Others include Jiggs running out to drink (filling various things with alcohol).
- Shown Their Work: George Mc Manus was a very thorough researcher, designing all the women's clothes based off of the latest Parisian fashions.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Jiggs loves corned beef with cabbage. Justified in-universe by him being a first-generation Irish-American.
- The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Jiggs and Maggie are hideous, cartoonish exaggerations, while their daughter Catie is drawn as a typical turn-of-the-century beautiful chorus girl.
- What Could Have Been: When George Mc Manus died, the strip was expected to be handed over to his apprentice, who could easily replicate his art style. Instead, it inexplicably went to a series of imitators who weren't nearly as good, and the strip faltered horribly until its demise.
- World War I: The strip's second year featured the outbreak of hostilities, and it was referenced quite often (the characters had just ended a large world tour).