Is Chris Evans’ Andy Barber Character TV Dad Goals?
Is Andy Barber, as played by Chris Evans, one of the best TV Dads ever …or one of the worst? Should we focus on his loyalty and commitment to proving his son’s innocence, or is Defending Jacob a study in one psychopath’s unrelenting mission to stop at nothing to maintain the facade of a perfect family?
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What defines a great Dad? In the realm of TV it seems dedication, loyalty and focus on one’s family is a surefire formula. Sure, TV fathers don’t always get it right, but oftentimes their foibles endear us to them even more. Jack Pearson, Phil Dunphy, and Julius Rock are all Dads we admire on the small screen. Does Defending Jacob’s Andy Barber deserve a place alongside them? I will outline the instances where Andy shows his dedication and loyalty to his young son, whose innocence is his sole focus, and you can be the judge.
He believes his son. As the plot drives on, we have our doubts about whether he should, but there’s something to be said for a father that trusts his son and believes him.
He tells his son the hard truth and we love to see it! There’s a scene early on when Andy has a tough love conversation with Jacob about the seriousness of the Ben Rifkin muder investigation. Laurie interjects to tell Andy that he’s scaring his son. Andy’s response is “He should be scared!” This is an excellent display of not only how afraid Andy is but also how important it is that Jacob understands the gravity of the situation, so that he can change his behavior.
Andy tries to spend one on one time with Jacob, by going fishing, to help them both relax and bond. The two end up having a nice time and sharing some important quality time with each other . Here, you can tell dad starts to see his somewhat carefree son as the 14 year old boy he is.
He listens to Jacob’s views on The Catcher in The Rye and allows him to vent about his schoolmates being fake, recounting that they all hated Ben before, as he had a reputation as a bully. But now that he’s dead they all want to claim that they were his friends. Only a comfortable relationship where Jacob feels he can truly express himself without judgement could facilitate such an exchange.
Andy attempts to protect his son from the negative influence of his imprisoned father, Bloody Billy Barber. Some may be surprised by the secrecy that revolves around Andrew’s father. I think too much is made of it. It’s not uncommon for parents to not disclose upsetting or traumatic things from their pasts in order to protect their children, as Andrew did with Billy.
He calls Jacob out on his stupid behavior of continuing an online presecence and making that psycho meme. Sure he blows up at Jacob, but this is one of the most ridiculous actions Jacob has taken thus far. It had me wondering, why does he still have access to the internet, his phone or computer!
None of the loyalty that exists for his son comes from a genuine place. A tell-tale sign of a psychopath is one’s ability to mimic the actions of those more human. It’s all for show. Andrew sees Jacob as a reflection of himself. He is indeed one of the Worst Dads to ever grace the small screen.
This is not even taking into account the immense amount of privilege he levels as being part of the American judicial system along with his vows to wholeheartedly trust it – until there is a chance that it won’t work in his favor! Yes, he is really the worst.
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Kay Montgomery is a host at Afterbuzz TV who loves sitcoms and is currently embroiled in a vicious debate on Bracketology. She is A Different World devotee and although she has a masters degree in Education from The University of Redlands, she would have given anything to go to fictional Hillman College.
Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, artist-friendly AfterBuzz TV is the world’s largest digital broadcast network and pop culture news platform, producing post-game ‘after-shows’ for nearly all favorite TV shows, interviewing cast and showrunners and providing the widest video, audio and article coverage of shows, content and influencers than any entertainment news platforms in existence
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