Welcome to another edition of “Favorite Underappreciated Fictional Characters.” In this series, Gord and I will discuss fictional characters we loved in the 80s and 90s who, for whatever reason, didn’t get the cred they deserved for being awesome. Sometimes they were too obscure for the public eye, sometimes they were simply overshadowed by a fellow character, etc. Here at GordTep.com, we are happy and proud to give them the praise they deserve. This week, we have…
On a personal level, I’m stunned it took me so long to include The Wonder Years’ patriarch Jack Arnold (Dan Lauria) on this list. To be quite honest, part of me is in fear of Jack finding me, rolling up his sleeves, and pummeling my skull to dust with his bare fists for disrespecting him in such a way.
Jack Arnold is the fucking man. He’s The Incredible Hulk without gamma-ray poisoning, always ready to blow his stack and become an unrelenting ball of fury and mass destruction. What’s the over-under for the amount of Communists he killed in the Korean War? 1,000? Take the over. Is it a stretch to say Jack Arnold is probably impervious to fire? That he eats gun powder for breakfast and shits bullets? That he could flip over a tank with a backhanded strike? I think not.
War is Jack’s natural habitiat, and that’s why he’s often miserable at home dealing with his hippie daughter, obnoxious son #1, and boring son #2: he knows he’s no longer in a position to kill. I don’t know why that would stop him (no jail cell could hold him), perhaps it’s simply a case of Norma taming the beast. She must have, because on rare occasions we do see the tender side of Jack, the loving husband and the caring father. It’s these moments that define Jack as, IMO, the greatest “TV Dad” in history.
Jack Arnold, I salute you. Please don’t kill me.
Don’t forget to listen to Episode 17 of 300 Bucks Damage, available for download this Saturday, where Kev and Gord will discuss their favorite TV Shows of the 80s, including The Wonder Years.