—Mike Nelson, Mystery Science Theater 3000.
A Date with Your Family is a 1950s absolutely-not-propaganda film meant to teach children basic manners to use when sitting together with their families for dinner. Considering the changing lifestyles and demographics of the last half century, this film may seem a tad outdated.
The short provides the following tropes.
- Be Yourself: Twisted, probably unintentionally. "With your own family you can relax, be yourself. Just be sure it's your best self."
- Clueless Aesop: "It's nice to spend time with your parents/children, and being polite helps!" What's wrong with that? Well, this film, for one thing...
- Crapsaccharine World: The Movie.
- Dinner and a Show: Despite the repression and formality modern audiences see throughout the film, the onscreen family's dinner eventually turns into this trope as an example of what audiences shouldn't do.
- Nameless Narrative: Everyone is named for their roles. Father, Mother, Sister, Brother, and Junior for the little one.
- Phoneaholic Teenager: Averted and discussed. Brother isn't on the phone for too long before hanging up, while the narrator explains it is never good to monopolize the phone.
- Stay in the Kitchen: The short's expectation of women. Shocking, we know.
- Stepford Suburbia: Unintentionally done, as the narrator emphasizes "unemotional" discussion at the dinner table, and that it's a place for pleasant discussions. Even prior, Junior and Brother are discouraged from bringing up anything negative with Father after he comes home.Narrator: If they have disagreeable news, they'll postpone the discussion until another time.
- Title Drop: "Do you begin to see now how A Date With Your Family can be a truly special occasion?"