dad things

Clark Kent’s Most Super-Dad Moments on Superman & Lois

The edge of the child’s bed is among the top three locations for a parental heart-to-heart. Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW

Can the world’s most famous super-powered alien truly have it all? That seems to be the question the CW’s latest superhero series, Superman & Lois, grapples with. There’s still lots of stuff for comic book fans — evil Kryptonian armies and a great, let’s call it steel-y character reveal, among other things — but what sets this show apart from your typical comic-to-TV fare is that it is very much also an emotional small town family drama. In the pilot, Clark Kent and Lois Lane move their teenage twin sons, Jonathan and Jordan, out of bustling Metropolis and into the late Martha Kent’s Smallville farm as a way to reprioritize what their family needs after Clark loses his job at the Daily Planet; they discover that Jordan has latent Kryptonian abilities that are beginning to reveal themselves (just in time for high school!); and they decide to let their sons in on the whole “hey, your dad is Superman” thing. The Kents have a lot to deal with!

What this means is that as Superman & Lois has proceeded with its first season, we’ve gotten to watch Superman do just so many Dad things. Yes, he’s holding up bridges and stopping nuclear reactors from melting down, but he’s also going to football practices and packing school lunches. There’s a lot of Dad content to be found throughout the first season — Superman is, not surprisingly, a sort of dorky, sensitive Hot Dad — but what is the best Dad content? The most typical wholesome Dad things we get to see Clark Kent take on? Find out below as we list the best Superman & Lois dad content from least dad thing to most dad thing. Dads!

Note, spoilers below for the first nine episodes of Superman & Lois.

When he uses the phrase “hey, hey, language!”

Episode 6, “Broken Trust”
I mean, the boys are simply expressing that their old classmates and now football rivals at Metropolis High are grade-A dicks, but their dad is gonna dad.
How Dad Is This Dad Thing?: Honestly, this feels more boy scout Superman than simply “dad.” Maybe some dads!

When he takes a bullet for his son. Literally!

Episode 8, “Holding the Wrench”
You know how dads are always like, “I’d take a bullet for you!” to express how much they love their kids? Well, Clark Kent puts his money where his … uhh, bulletproof body is and takes not one but, like, at least 50 bullets for Jonathan. It’s during this whole thing where Jonathan goes snooping around in the creepy van that belongs to this guy from the multiverse who wants to kill Superman because on his Earth his Superman went bad and killed this guy’s wife who happens to be that earth’s version of Lois Lane and the van detects an intruder and tries to stop that intruder with lots and lots of bullets. It’s all very complex! But Superman swoops in to cover his son just as the bullets rain down.
How Dad Is This Dad Thing?: The sentiment is super dad. The actual execution in this instance is Super Dad, you know what I mean?

When he uses the phrase “maybe when you’re older.”

Episode 3, “The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower”
Honestly if your dad has super-hearing and refuses to tell you the most embarrassing thing he’s ever overheard and/or if that thing included nudity, what even is the point?
How Dad Is This Dad Thing?: A real dad would wait until the other parent left the room and totally tell his kids!!!

When he gives a “with power comes responsibility” speech.

Episode 6, “Broken Trust”
Fine, Clark is giving this speech to Jordan after Jordan lets his powers get out of control and he accidentally — sort of — breaks his brother’s arm, ruining Jonathan’s chances at playing football ever again. But this conversation could also apply to dads in general, say, about someone getting a driver’s license or something?
How Dad Is This Dad Thing?: It could be very Dad in certain circumstances! Also, very Spider-Man.

When he uses his ice-breath power to get his son’s attention.

Episode 7, “Man of Steel”
Some dads have a specific whistle, some flick something at their kid, Superman sprays his ice breath on his son to get him to pay attention.
How Dad Is This Dad Thing?: All dads have their way!

When he has a catch with his sons.

Episode 4, “Haywire”
The man just wants to toss the pigskin around with his sons, who are both on the football team now, okay?
How Dad Is This Dad Thing?: Okay, so in this catch, Superman throws the football but then also uses his super speed to go and catch the football before his sons can, so, like, not your regular kind of father/child catch.

When he reveals outdated music references.

Episode 1, “Pilot”; Episode 5, “The Best of Smallville”
Clark hates when his “Soul Asylum days” are mentioned and immediately regrets mentioning to his heartbroken son that he used to listen to REO Speedwagon post-breakups.
How Dad Is This Dad Thing?: Points deducted for not singing a couple bars of some REO Speedwagon. Give us the goods, Clark!

When he packs absurdly large lunch bags for his sons.

Episode 9, “Loyal Subjekts”
Props to the Kents for using reusable lunch bags, but why are they so big? I feel like these sacks were a Clark purchase.
How Dad Is This Dad Thing?: I mean did you see those things? Pretty Dad.

When he feels guilty for putting his own baggage on his kids.

Episode 9, “Loyal Subjekts”
Of course in this instance the “baggage” is “superhuman powers that thus far have only caused his son pain both physically and emotionally” and Clark expresses that guilt by crying in the Fortress of Solitude instead of in the shower like a normal person, but still, this is dad content.
How Dad Is This Dad Thing?: Regardless of the super-circumstances, guilt for passing hardships onto your children feels like a very common emotion for parents to deal with.

When he celebrates because his son can punch a tree trunk.

Episode 6, “Broken Trust”
Sure, this sounds hyperspecific to Superman & Lois, but a dad getting hyped that his son is both skilled and strong feels universal, doesn’t it?
How Dad Is This Dad Thing?: Dads love watching their sons punch trees, it’s science.

When he has a heart-to-heart with his son on their front stoop.

Episode 1, “Pilot”
Jordan is reeling from learning that his once-latent abilities are appearing and he has no control over them. Also that thing where he almost laser-blasted his classmates with his eyeballs has really shaken him up, naturally. Clark goes out to talk to his son, who he now knows is more like him than he ever imagined, and gives him that patented, “I may not know what I’m doing, but I promise to always be there for you” type of talk. He’s reprioritizing his life, he’s making changes, and he wants his son to know that this family is the most important thing to him. He says all of this while sitting side-by-side on their front stoop.
How Dad Is This Dad Thing?: The most typical parent/child heart-to-heart location is obviously the car (there’s no escape!), followed by the edge of the child’s bed (see above), but after that, any front stoop/porch type of situation is right up there.

When he can’t help but be proud of his son for kissing someone, even in the middle of a family argument.

Episode 2, “Heritage”
Clark and Lois step in to break up a fight between the twinkies — this whole “one of them having powers and one not” thing is tough to process even if they don’t know that’s why they’re fighting — and while the parents are trying to lay down the law, Jonathan blurts out something about how Jordan kissed Sarah, and for as serious as Clark is trying to be, he can’t stop a smile from spreading across his face. Jordan! Kissed! Sarah! You know he wants to give his shy son an attaboy, but Lois would probably punch him in the gut or something, so he restrains himself. It seems difficult for him.
How Dad Is This Dad Thing?: What an infuriating Dad thing!!

When he yells “my job is I’m their dad!”

Episode 4, “Haywire”
Clark only specifically yells that in one episode, but the idea that he wants to be better at putting his family first, above any responsibility he has as Superman, is one of his major throughlines throughout the season. Yes, Superman needs to figure out who is uploading Kryptonian consciousnesses into Smallville citizens and how to stop this evil Kryptonian army from destroying Earth, but he also wants to be there for his young sons. He’s all about that work/life balance these days!
How Dad Is This Dad Thing?: Don’t dads just love yelling shit like this? It’s very moving!

When he forces his sons to “help” him fix things around the house but won’t actually let them do anything.

Episode 2, “Heritage; Episode 8, “Holding the Wrench” 
Gosh Dad, do I even need to be here? Do you really need me to hold this toolbox while you fly back and forth from the roof? I can just put it on the ground, Dad! I wanna hang out with my friends, why am I standing here like an idiot holding this freaking wrench when you can just punch out that dent in the car with your bare hands, come on, Dad! DAAAAAAD.
How Dad Is This Dad Thing?: A classic Dad power move.

When he pokes his head into his son’s bedroom to say he’s proud of him.

Episode 1, “Pilot”
Clark had already congratulated Jonathan for being named starting quarterback as a freshman and lingered a bit too long as Jon’s girlfriend watched in cringey horror from the computer screen, but even though he took the hint to leave the room, he couldn’t help himself but to pop back in for a parting, “proud of you!” He’s just so excited!
How Dad Is This Dad Thing?: What a sweet nerd dad Superman has turned out to be!

When he wants everyone to be as pumped about his hometown’s harvest festival as he is.

Episode 5, “The Best of Smallville”
Clark Kent has seen the world — I mean, as Superman he literally flies around it on the regular — yet still, what gets him going the most is Smallville’s little old annual Harvest Festival where he used to go with late parents. He tells his family all about it with a huge smile across his face: The town camaraderie, the spirit of giving associated with it, and the chocolate-covered bacon. Oh, the bacon! The kids are not into it at all, but you know what? That’s their loss.
How Dad Is This Dad Thing?: Forcing old family traditions on their children and food available on sticks? Dads live for this shit.

When he won’t be guilted into raising his kids’ allowances

Episode 3, “The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower”
This dad doesn’t care that you’re mad at him for using his super-hearing abilities to spy on you (it saved you from a fight at school, duh!). This dad apologized and promised to never do it again from this point forward. This dad will NOT be giving you more money just because he feels bad right now and needs to earn your trust back. But this dad is proud that you gave it a shot, BEGRUDGINGLY.
How Dad Is This Dad Thing?: Yes, Dad! Stand your ground, Dad!

When he becomes an assistant coach on his sons’ football team

Episode 3, “The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower”
Clark’s reasoning is two-fold: Jordan wants to use his new-found strength to play on the team (yes, we all know it’s technically cheating) and Clark wants to remain close in case there are any incidents, AND Clark wants to be more involved in his sons’ lives.
How Dad Is This Dad Thing?: The first reason is very Superman, the second is so Dad. Plus, the fact that Clark seems most excited about sporting some Smallville High swag (Tyler Hoechlin’s “I bought a hat!” is perfect) makes it even more Dad than it already was.

When he gets excited that his son might want to open up to him, only to be coldy rejected.

Episode 1, “Pilot”
Raising teens is hard, even when you’re Superman. At the start of the series, Clark’s son Jordan, who suffers from anxiety, is pretty closed-off toward his father (he doesn’t know his dad is Superman at this point). The first interaction we see between the two is Clark coming to apologize for missing Jordan’s therapy session and trying to make small talk about the first day of school. Jordan wants none of this. Clark, getting nowhere, decides to leave the room only for Jordan to call out for him. Oh boy, his face. He is so excited! Could Jordan want to chat about how he’s coping with first-day-of-school jitters? Or something else emotionally poignant? No, he just needs Clark to turn his music back up. Yikes, that’s rough. And that’s saying something, since this dad has supervillains trying to murder him every other day.
How Dad Is This Dad Thing?: To know a teen’s harsh rejection is to be a parent.

When he’ll do anything to take on his children’s pain.

Episode 6, “Broken Trust”; Episode 7, “Man of Steel”; Episode 9, “Loyal Subjekts”
Any parent would know this feeling, but Superman actually has ways to do it: When Jordan is about to spray his heat vision all over the football field, Clark holds his son’s face so he can point those laser beams directly into his hands; when Jordan is overcome with his new super-hearing powers, Clark whisks him off to the Fortress to figure out how to help him (noise-cancelling headphones, duh!); and when Jordan starts to get sick from Kryptonite gas poisoning and his lungs are going to freeze because of it, Clark holds his screaming son and has him squeeze as hard as he needs to as they burn the kryptonite out of his body.
How Dad Is This Dad Thing?: It’s so Dad I’m tearing up just thinking about it.

When he makes a very cool thing so awkward.

Episode 2, “Heritage”
One of Jordan’s first Kryptonian abilities to develop is heat vision. As in, the kid has laser beams shooting out of his eyeballs!! Other than the fact that Jordan experiences his heat vision for the first time while at a high school party and it puts a lot of people in danger (everyone is mostly okay, it’s fine), it sounds pretty cool right? Well, it sounds cool until Clark sits down at the dinner table and describes it as Jordan having “an ocular release of energy.” Ugh, Dad!
How Dad Is This Dad Thing?: Whether on purpose or because it is simply their nature, dads love embarrassing their teens this way. This is so Dad it hurts.

When he gets screamed at by angsty, dramatic teens.

Episode 1, “Pilot”; Episode 3, “The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower”; Episode 5, “The Best of Smallville”; Episode 6, “Broken Trust”
Wow, Superman really takes a lot of flack in the Kent house (don’t worry, the boys save some angst for Lois Lane, too), and to his credit, really remains pretty even-keeled about it most of the time — does he have to go outside and crush giant steel pipes from time to time? Sure, but who among us, you know? Whether it’s Jordan yelling at his father because he has powers and they only make him more isolated from his peers, or Jonathan yelling at his father because he doesn’t have powers and feels helpless, it’s no wonder Clark feels like he doesn’t have any clue what his kids need from him. Plus, those twins get very dramatic! The prize almost goes to Jordan for telling his dad that every choice he’s made is a mistake and he should go back to just ignoring his kids, but Jonathan squeaks out a win by telling Clark that he wants to leave Smallville and move back to Metropolis because “this town is like [his] kryptonite!” That one is personal on several levels!
How Dad Is This Dad Thing?: Oh, you can’t win for trying? Webster’s Dictionary defines parenthood as…

When he squeezes his sons’ shoulders with both his hands and says something heartfelt.

Honestly, almost every episode
The double-shoulder squeeze is Clark Kent’s go-to move when he needs to have a moment with his twins. Whether it’s an “everything is going to be fine” moment, or a “that’s so cool you have a date with the girl you like” moment, or an “I’m sorry we just had to burn kryptonite out of your body to stop your lungs from turning to ice” moment, Superman loves to face his sons, put a hand on each shoulder, and give them a reassuring squeeze.
How Dad Is This Dad Thing?: They teach this move in Dad 101, baby.

When he shows his son his old baseball mitt while down on one knee.

Episode 3, “The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower”
Honestly, what is more Dad than opening a trunk to show off his old baseball mitt and talking about how his dad wouldn’t let him play baseball because he was scared for him and he’s not going to do that to his own son, so sure, he can play football BUT BE CAREFUL, and also it all takes place while he’s on bended knee? Who else would do that but a dad?
How Dad Is This Dad Thing?: HONESTLY!!

Clark Kent’s Most Super-Dad Moments on Superman & Lois