Is An Overprotective Dad A Good Dad?
When asked to describe their dad, people will use terms like hard-working, dedicated, or even stern. Most dads fit into these norms, working desk jobs from 9–5, five days a week, and probably fixing up the house on the weekends. The media shows these stereotypes all over, in shows like The Simpsons and Full House. In the newly anticipated Netflix original series, Safe, specifically in “episode 1”, Tom plays the usual dad, not invested into his children’s lives while wanting to act like he cares about them. Once he cannot get hold of his daughter after she mysteriously leaves for a party, Tom all of a sudden realizes he needs to change, and goes on a mission to find his daughter. This ends up giving off the impression that middle-aged dads are overprotective and caring about their kids in times of worry.
To start off with, Tom realizes Jenny goes missing when he is sitting drunk in his living room. He looks at his phone, realizing it is one in the morning, and starts frantically calling her. At this time, it is most likely too late to be worrying about his daughter. If Tom was a loving, caring father, he would have been texting Jenny sporadically throughout the night, checking in on her and making sure that she is okay. Tom continues on to try and figure out the whereabouts of his daughter, tracking down her friends and questioning them to give him answers. Tom ends of convincing a boy, Ioan, who was at the party to sit down with him and tell him everything he knows. Tom interrogates Ioan by saying things like “My daughter is missing, no more f****** lies.”. This further proves the point that Tom is being portrayed as an overprotective, crazy dad in times of turmoil, and he will do anything to get her back.
Furthermore, Tom does more than just track his daughters friends down to find her whereabouts. He gets a co-worker from his extremely well-paying job to install a software into his smartphone that clones Jenny’s sent and received text messages. By doing this, he can see everything that Jenny is texting and receiving, without her having a clue. This reinforces the norms about dads nowadays, always wanting to know what their kids are up to, because you know, all kids are such trouble makers.
On the other hand, it is not solely Toms fault that he is the way he is. His wife, Rachel, recently passed away and their daughters, including him, are having an extremely tough time coping with the loss. This could add to the reasoning that Tom does not regularly show affection to his kids, it was usually Rachel that did that for them and now Tom needs to switch roles and show more love. This being said, the episode shows a cultural transmission, single father households are not common in the media. Tom needs to come out of his shell and show a new side of himself that most dads do not need to show. All in all, Rachel’s death contributes to Tom being overprotective and caring about Jenny when she goes missing because she, along with her younger sister, are the only two people Tom have left to care about.
Ultimately, shows like these teach the viewers that dads do care about their children. In the media today, dads are shown as non-loving, work-oriented people that show little affection towards their children. This episode of Safe is a quality piece of media, portraying the actions taken by a true caring father when his daughter is in desperate need. They might not be all lovey-dovey, showering their children with hugs and kisses, but deep down they would do anything to keep them safe.