October is now over and that means television networks have rolled out their new Fall programming lineups. Quite honestly, I’m not much of a TV watcher unless it involves grown-ass men throwing, kicking, catching, slam-dunking, or hitting balls (that sounds way dirtier than I intended). However, if I owned a television network like Oprah does, I’d definitely put these seven parenting shows on it.
#1 – Daddy Skills – The Game Show: The concept is simple. A bunch of dads would compete in various events for cash prizes. Events would include fastest diaper changer, the cutest/most original hairstyle created for their toddler, the quickest to calm an infant’s meltdown by singing, the first dad to create a meal that the world’s pickiest toddler would actually eat, etc. You’re lying to yourself if you think you wouldn’t watch this.
#2 – Deadbeat Island: I mentioned this idea in my new book, but I’m sharing it here as well. A bunch of deadbeat dads get captured, put on an island together, and all they have is crappy food, dirty water, and each other. The scorned moms (who happen to watch this all go down via satellite in a studio audience) get to choose the fate of the deadbeats each episode. One week it could be watching them eat a meal you delivered to the island with your kids’ poop mixed in as one of the main ingredients (just think of the movie The Help and you’ll catch my drift). The next week it could include tying them up, blindfolding them, and quizzing them on their kids’ birthdays. In the event they couldn’t remember correctly, a NFL punter with a full head of steam could run up and kick them squarely in the hang low. The possibilities are endless.
More often than not it would include deploying the show’s heroine – Gertrude the DDD (“DDD” stands for Deadbeat Daddy Destroyer) to the island. Gertrude is mean, strong, and she’s a black belt in the ancient art of BeatingTheShitOutOfYou. It’s never a pretty sight once she finds the deadbeats. Well, if you’re one of the scorned moms, I guess it’s a pretty sight…but you know what I mean.
Seriously, if you want to end the Deadbeat Dad epidemic, this show must be green lit.
#3 – Will He or Won’t He?: For each episode, a mom goes out of town and leaves her husband alone with the kids. Unbeknownst to the husband, a hidden camera is installed in the house and the mom provides him with a list of five household tasks to complete with the kids while she’s away (help with homework, only feed them healthy meals, bathe them each day, wash the dishes, do laundry, read bedtime stories, etc.) Before his wife skips town, the host of the show will ask her how many tasks she believes the husband will complete successfully. If she’s correct, the family will win $50,000 (meaning, if she thinks he’ll only complete three tasks successfully, he would have to complete exactly three tasks successfully). If the husband completes less tasks than his wife predicts, then they’ll have to attend a mandatory couples bootcamp/therapy session. If the husband completes more tasks than the wife predicts, he wins an all-expenses paid weekend trip with his male buddies to any location in the United States (no wife and no kids).
Ladies, would you take that bet?
#4 – The Toddler TV Quiz: Quick, what’s the name Kristoff’s reindeer in Frozen? How many members are on the Little Einstein team? What’s the name of the Bubble Guppy with pink hair? Basically it’s a rapid-fire line of questions that get delivered to dads “Game Show Style.” If they get a question right, they win money towards a college fund for their children. If they get one wrong, they have to sit in a room and watch that show until they figure out the answer. Just think Jeopardy with the cruel and unusual punishment of suffering through toddler programming in the process.
#5 – The Perfect Parent: Do you know that mom or dad who thinks their kids are so perfect? Do they constantly remind you how much smarter, well-behaved, and faster-at-doing-everything (talking, walking, potty training, etc.) their kids are than your kids? Well, this show is a way to get them back. Simply invite them to the studio under the pretenses that they are there to witness a taping of a television show about toddlers. At that point, the most hyper and obnoxious group of toddlers storm the stage and create chaos. Of course it wouldn’t take long for your Perfect Parent friend to say, “Ugh. Look at those kids! There’s NO way my angels would ever behave that way!” And that’s when the magic happens. The host of the show will shine a spotlight down upon this parent and tell him/her to come on to the stage and complete a series of tasks with the toddlers (making them sit still for a group photo, eat entire meals together without getting up, etc.) Of course, this person will fail miserably and will be put in his/her place for good.
I know what some of you are thinking. These parents will just roll their eyes and say, “OK, so I can’t control these little neanderthals, but my kids are better than they are!” That’s when the host cuts to the video of the Perfect Parent’s kids eating rubber cement, punching themselves in the face repeatedly, or attempting to flush the family dog down the toilet (Note: Yes, this would require you to spy on these folks to get the video, but it would be so worth it).
No parent is perfect. Not me, not you, not your so-called “Perfect Parent” friends, nobody. A show like this is long overdue if you ask me.
#6 – The Sleep Challenge: On this game show, a group of exhausted parents will compete in challenges that will test their knowledge about simple things. For example, the host will ask contestants extremely easy questions (such as, “what is the state capital of Massachusetts?”), and if answered correctly, they will win sleep time. In other words, the more questions the parents answer correctly, the more time they’ll get to spend at a 5-star hotel (all-expenses paid) while a 5-star nanny service watches their children. The problem is that even the simplest of questions can be difficult when you’re extremely tired. I could see myself being a contestant on that show…
Host: “I’d like to introduce our next contestant. His name is Doyin. He’s an author and a dad to two toddler girls. Come on down, Doyin!”
***I stumble onto the stage like a drunk person***
Host: “Somebody looks exhausted!”
Me: “Damn right I’m exhausted. I slept for 45 minutes last night because one kid kept barfing in my face, and the other kid came into my room at 2:00 AM just to lift up my eyelids while asking, ‘Do you want to build a snooooooowman?’ I’ll fucking cut you if you don’t let me sleep.”
Host: “Um, sir – this is a family show and there’s absolutely no cursing. Please keep it clean.”
Me: “Whatever, dick nose. Let’s get on with this shit.”
Host: “Alrighty then. For three hours of sleep time, please name all four seasons.”
Me: “Oh, I got this. Um…Winter…Um…Uh…Um…Spring…yeah, Spring for sure….Summer….and…uh…and…Chartreuse?”
***Buzzer goes off***
Host: “Oh, I’m so sorry, Doyin…the answer is FALL!”
***I collapse on the floor***
Host: “What are you doing?”
Me: “You just told me to fall, dude. Now bring me a blanket and some warm milk so I can sleep.”
Due to the inevitable outbursts of foul language by exhausted contestants, this show would eventually move from network primetime television hours to being buried on some obscure cable channel late at night. You know…when you’re probably awake anyway taking care of your kids who REFUSE TO SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT! ARRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!
But I’m not bitter though. Not at all. Not one bit.
#7 – Daddy Doin’ Work Nation: Tired of mainstream media portraying dads as buffoons? Well, this is the show for you. Wives and girlfriends secretly nominate the amazing men in their lives who always put the needs of their children and families first. They play dress up with their daughters, they teach their sons how to be gentlemen, they dance and act silly without worrying about what others think of them, they don’t believe that housework is “women’s work,” and they view the title of “Dad” as the most important job title they’ll ever receive. The DDW Nation camera crews will visit their homes and share these uplifting stories with viewers each week as proof of men doing the daddyhood thing right. In any event, I think my Instagram feed serves as a good start.
S0 0n the .0001% chance that I’m able to start a television network someday, this would be my opening lineup.
Hey, don’t laugh. It could happen.
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Photo: BigStockPhoto.com, courtesy of the author