Goldstar’s recent entry on a fairly recent Staples back-to-school ad caused me to remember this earlier Staples spot from 1996:
I get the obvious joke here, and it is a funny one, so no need to delve into that. As amusing as this spot is, there’s always been one thing about it which has always puzzled me…
…Namely, why is the parent in this spot a dad and not a mom?
If we’re to have wholeheartedly swallowed the gender myths of our culture, it’s generally assumed that the fathers are the ones who go to work during the day, while the mothers are generally the ones who stay home watching the kids. That being the (presumably) default case, why would a dad be all super-stoked about the kids going back to school when generally speaking, the dads are typically at their jobs during the day and consequently wouldn’t notice the difference between the little brats being home or being at school?
Of course it’s possible that it could be a Mr. Mom/role reversal situation, but if that were the case, then they should have specified that at the start of the commercial. It’s just always struck me as odd. The way Staples did it is fine, it just seems to me that the other way would have been more expected and would have made more sense. It just comes off to me like they used a father here because TV gives everything to fathers, following the archaic and outdated belief that “women can’t be funny”, which I know not to be true.
Of course, it could also be that I’d rather have seen a hot mom dancing and frollicking around smugly in front of her kids instead of some goofy guy, that could also be a factor.
Yeah, shocker, I know!