Not The Worst Parent! Yay!
Have you watched your kid eat some crackers off the ground and thought “I know the cat’s butthole has probably been there at some point” but done nothing? Maybe your child has zoned out while you watch The Walking Dead and suddenly both loves and fears zombies? Or maybe when it’s been a long day and your husband or wife is finally home, you just watch as your children yell at each other because you’ve got no will or possibly even a soul left?
Do these incidences and any others that you, as a parent, feel are maybe “bad parenting” bring you down? Do you feel like you’re alone?
Well, I guarantee in real life you’re not the worst parent, not even by a long-shot. There are TONS worse parents than you – consider that at least a solid 10 people like the Star Wars prequels and you’ve got a decent group right there.
If that doesn’t make you feel better, though, I have compiled a list of some of the most negligent, harmful, and downright awful parents on film. I have left off low-hanging fruit like Norman Bates’ mother or Jack from The Shining, because duh. Take a second, admire these trainwrecks with a new sense of pride in your parenting, and then go check on your kids because you know they’ve been too quiet for too long.
Big Love – The Henricksons
3 wives, 1 husband, and of course the unseen, omnipresent babysitter. Just like real life.
Big Love was a great show, and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes a mixture of drama and humor. It’s at times incredibly heartfelt while also sprinkled with moments of pitched tension. The Henricksons – the family around whom the show revolves – are a modern polygamist family.
So it’s no surprise that they have a lot of kids of all ages. In fact, once Nikki joins the show, they add several new babies! Oh what joy!
Except the kids are only ever around as plot devices. Seriously, in the above video clip, all three mothers are in the “main house”, talking. Bill, the husband, is at work, and the grandparents are…not really in the picture (in the most complicated ways possible). Who is taking care of the children? Sure, some are at school, but there are babies somewhere. It’s so noticeable that it’s become a joke between my wife and I that when a family on a show has kids that are never around, we suggest it’s the Henrickson’s babysitter watching them.
So if you have kids and you’ve watched Big Love and wondered how that family, with all their kids, kept 3 marriages going, the answer is simple: get an around the clock babysitter that is possibly invisible OR simply just dump your kids into a room and leave them there until they’re needed for exposition or plot advancement!
Veronica – Veronica’s Mother
Creepy and psychic or not, the nun is wrong – Veronica is pretty much alone.
Veronica is an unsettling and pretty solid horror movie. At first, Veronica and her siblings are alone in their apartment, and V is the oldest, so I assumed mom was at work or something and would return home shortly. Then scene after scene goes by and we get a little information – her mom works a lot. Like, a LOT, a lot, and it’s not until the terror ramps up that we really see her interact with her kids.
I thought, at first, that perhaps Spain (where the story takes place) has a fundamentally different attitude towards child rearing, maybemore akin to that of a shark. Admittedly, I was sick when we watched this, and on no small amount of Nyquil, but still, when her mom actually showed up at home, it turned into one of the more startling moments for me.
Rugrats – Literally All Of The Parents
There’s easily 30 feet and years of counseling between the kids and their parents
I grew up, as most of us did, with Rugrats. The show is great, and even now as my kids watch it, I don’t have a problem sitting in with them. This is in contrast to say, Caillou, which when my kids ask to watch it, it makes me feel like I’ve personally angered God.
No, Rugrats hearkens back to a special time where the youthful hijinks of a smattering of toddlers was the best in fun. Except now as an adult, I see how glaringly negligent their parents are, and I have to repress my parental judgement of characters from a 20-year-old cartoon. The kids are left alone more often than not, especially in public, as illustrated by the gif above. At home it’s not much better, from getting lost in the basement to summoning Azazel, the kids just get into TROUBLE.
The Walking Dead – Rick Grimes
I’m glad they replaced my fear of “how will Carl severely injure himself” with “seriously who is watching Judith”? Much better.
Rick Grimes is making it work the best he can. The world has ended, zombies are plentiful in a market where zombies aren’t super useful, and he’s got a kid to raise.
WAIT, no he’s got 2 kids. Where’s Judith? “Haha, who knows?” is the answer to that question because it’s anyone’s guess unless she’s specifically needs to be in the scene for some reason.
In a show where even main characters have no real guarantee they will be “needed” for future episodes, we still see more of “extra #3” than we do of Judith. Carl doesn’t fare much better, though that’s less on Rick than it is on his own bravado.
Still, as a Real Person™, I’m super neurotic when it comes to my kids; when it’s storming I like to have them nearby, in case a tornado blows our house up. If there were zombies, I’d be strapping those little buggers to my back at all times. Just me being 65 years old with a couple of 30-somethings strapped to me like bandoliers, fighting zombies and chronic acid reflux.
Weeds – Nancy Botwin
This scene speaks for itself, and is actually a fairly measured response by Ms. Botwin.
Ok, ok, the show is called Weeds – it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the matriarch of this family isn’t the best role model for would-be parents. Nancy Botwin, however, takes it up a notch. Aside from murder, extortion, and large-scale marijuana distribution, she can be sometimes found parenting (in the most ass way possible).
When the older son grows up resenting your very existence and the younger one might have his own spin-off show called Dexter 2: Electric Stabaloo, you should probably pay more attention to your kids.
Fortunately, her solution is to burn down a county and have a child with a drug lord or something, which are both strong moves, but don’t much benefit her mothering.
Rick Sanchez – Rick and Morty
Rick and Morty takes child neglect into the infinite dimensions.
If you’ve ever watched Rick and Morty, I needn’t say anything. If you’ve not, imagine the drunkest you’ve ever seen your parents, multiply that by 10, and send them and your children on adventures through David Lynch’s brain.
Rick’s blatant disregard for the safety of his grandkids is actually bolstered by the fact that he has, in fact, infinite access to extra grandkids. He even points this out to them at times, to keep them in line. Couple that with the fact that Morty’s mom is a hyper competitive overachiever constantly striving for her father’s approval, and his dad is essentially a child himself and you’ve got an exceptionally dysfunctional family.
Game of Thrones – Robert Baratheon
Robert has so many kids he could form his own baseball league.
The first season of Game of Thrones is a constant punch in the guts of characters dying, so while it’s a big deal that Robert Baratheon is killed, it’s not really a surprise. He’s violent towards his kids, negligent to a fault, and essentially raises the most hateable character in all of fiction. Beyond all of this, however, is the fact that Robert has possibly dozens of children that he’s never claimed.
When you’re a king with the tendency to cheat on your wife constantly, well, chances are good you’re leaving behind some little Roberts. He’s like the Johnny Appleseed of family trees, hahaha.
Pokemon – Ash’s Parents
“But not proud enough to EVER show up in any game or show ever”
We should start with the fact that most kids in the Pokemon universe are allowed to leave home on a quest to enslave animals at the age of 11. That’s already pretty messed up, but Ash’s mother and father are in the Pokemon hall of fame when it comes to neglect. First off, his mother allows him to leave, which contextually isn’t that absurd but out of context, yikes. She very rarely calls, seems more interested in Professor Oak when she does show up, and generally is absent.
And she’s the GOOD parent.
It’s largely assumed that Ash’s father is dead – in the game they don’t ever mention a dad. In fact, most families seem to be absent a father in the Pokemon world, but that’s a theory for another day. The clip above definitively illustrates that Ash has a father – he just…doesn’t care? His mother refers to his dad in the future-tense; he WILL be so proud of you. As in, when he hears about your success, but not enough to live with us or call you or support you in any way. I hope Ash’s mom is at least catching all those alimony payments.
Willy Wonka – Literally All of the Parents, Part 2: Electric Boogaloo
“Don’t do anything stupid” is the most parenting done in this movie by non-Bucket parents
Willy Wonka – and I mean the original, Gene Wilder perfection – is a terrifying movie, at least below the surface. 5 kids enter, 1 kid leaves. The new movie showed the 4 other kids leaving the factory at the end, proving they didn’t meat grisly deaths, but the original, not so much. You might say that Willy Wonka himself is a sociopath and it’s his fault, and you’d be partially right, but consider the parents.
All of these parents let their children behave vilely, ignoring Wonka’s warnings until their little brats get submerged in chocolate or turn into berries. THEN they blame the murderous chocolatier instead of their own laxity or the wretchedness of their children (which is itself their fault).
This is an aside, but if you consider the newer Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with the actors and director involved, you can pretend it’s a direct sequel to or perhaps spiritual successor to Sweeney Todd! It adds a much-needed layer of horror.
South Park – Randy Marsh
This best represents Randy’s character in all things.
It can’t be said that any parent in South Park is a good parent, but Randy Marsh takes that sentiment into a gibbering freefall into madness.
He’s a drunken idiot, a liar, a greedy, narcissistic moron whose goofy antics put him and his family in jeopardy nearly constantly. Always on the cutting edge of the dumbest possible arguments, Randy manages at times to be protagonist, antagonist, foil, muse, and at times, the singer, Lourde.
That said, he is 100% the best part of South Park, and that’s a truth printed in the Bible.
So don’t feel so bad about your parenting shortcomings., because you’re definitely not doing as bad as these parents. So the next time your kids are shaving the dog or coloring on the walls, pour yourself a nice glass of liquid, kick back and be thankful that your kid didn’t kill Ned Stark **SPOILERS**.