Duels or “classy show-downs” as they are often called by no one, have been solving hot debates for ages. They’re useful for delivering crowds a champion, through often unpredictable means (just ask Alexander Hamilton). Television loves a surprise, so what better way to measure and battle elements of TV than with a duel? Here, we will battle two characters in an imaginary contest of wills. Sometimes a winner will be crowned because of pertinent facts, and sometimes in spite of them.
This week? Frank Reynolds vs. George Bluth Sr. for the title of World’s Worst Father
This week’s duel will leave the mothers out of it. Like a bad call at a championship little league game, this duel pits father against father. As Mary J. Blige once said, “Let’s get crunk cause Mary’s back!!” She also said something about families, which probably applies here too. For the sake of the family, let’s see how these two terrible fathers would stack up against each other.
Frank Reynolds is such a bad dad that he didn’t even show up for the first season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Since then, he has lived up to the fake epitaph his son Dennis, and daughter Dee, wrote on his gravestone, “He was a dick of a father.” Since reconnecting with his adult children, he’s truly embodied the character of a man who went to Vietnam… in 1993 to open up a sweatshop. Frank pimped out Dennis to an extreme sex ring, which isn’t ideal parenting, but displayed his belief in his son’s abilities. Frank’s relationship with Dee is slightly more complex: he has set her on fire, waterboarded her, and forced her to box his archrival’s daughter. However, probably the best explanation of Frank and Dee’s rapport is seen here:
That’s right, Frank and Dee pretended to be engaged, which is the traditional celebration performed after learning someone is not your biological relation. Dee and Dennis were probably pretty happy to technically lose a “dad” who, during their childhood, only gave them Christmas gifts that he wanted for himself and later cut off their health insurance after Dee had a heart attack. However, it should be noted that while this revelation non-paternal occurred in season three, Frank has stuck around for the past four and a half seasons since. He arguably became a better dad the day he stopped being their dad.
Frank’s continued presence in Dennis and Dee’s life may have to do with his bond to their friend Charlie Kelly, his roommate and possible biological son. After a rocky start where Frank supposedly insisted that Charlie’s mom have an abortion, which Charlie somehow survived, Frank and Charlie have had a wonderful friendship. Charlie and Frank share an apartment, a sofa bed and a love of eating cat food. Despite Frank’s attempt to order a hit on Charlie and refusal to take a paternity test, they are devoted to each other — so much so that they were even once briefly married.
Though often near fatal, Frank’s emotional investment in his three — biologically disputed — children, or children-like adults, is unquestionable. George Bluth Sr. is just the opposite, remaining in jail or on the run for the majority of Arrested Development due to his securities fraud and “light treason.” George’s paternal style is represented by distance, disinterest, and the unrequited love of his kids, while Frank’s is represented by feeding his children human meat. While neither is ideal, Frank would never have the cold, calculating ability to execute the following ultimate fatherhood mind game.
Winner: George Bluth, Sr.