Hello, Wisconsin! This week on Dad Grades we’ll take a quick look at Red Forman, the always disgruntled patriarch of the Forman family on That ‘70s Show. What are his strengths as a dad? His weaknesses? Let’s take a look.
Red Forman has a very intricate relationship with his two children. He favors and spoils his daughter, Laurie, though he tends to fall for her manipulative daddy’s-girl act. That’s really on her though.
He’s constantly at odds with his son, Eric, whom he perceives to be weak and routinely calls a “dumbass.” But deep down we know he loves him. The best example of this is the season 6 episode “Sally Simpson,” in which a stress management specialist visits Red. When the specialist tells him Eric is the cause of all his stress, he yells at him and throws him out of the house. “My son is a fine young man,” he defends. Eric tries to thank him, but is once again told “shut up, dumbass.” We know tough love when we see it.
Red Forman is a stubborn, my-way-or-the-highway type of dad. He served in World War II as a US Navy sailor, and as a result became a very strict disciplinarian with his kids and suffers from what we’ll call “resting no-nonsense face.”
He has great difficulty saying the phrase “I love you.” We here at The Dad believe fatherhood should be enjoyable, fair, and full of enthusiasm. Constantly threatening to put your foot in someone’s ass isn’t it, fam.
At times he can be sadistic in his discipline. In one episode, Eric is suspended from school after getting caught holding his girlfriend’s cigarette. Believing the punishment should fit the crime, Red’s solution is to make him smoke an entire pack. We’d like to strongly discourage this torturous, albeit hilarious punishment. Please don’t make your kids smoke.
You’ve gotta take Red in the context of his era. We feel like one out of every three dads in the 70s was a total Red Forman. Administrators of tough love, hardened by the struggles of early 20th century American life. Dude was born right before The Great Depression happened. He gets to call you a dumbass sometimes.
FINAL DAD GRADE: C+
Check out what Frank Reynolds from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia scored on our previous edition of Dad Grades.