My father visited me yesterday. He drove from Tucson to Yellowstone, then over to me in the Twin Cities on the way to visit relatives in Milwaukee. In tow was his wife and other son, his second family, which wasn’t made until I was already an adult, which has always been a little weird, but not uncomfortable. His second son, my half brother, turned six this February, and two of his three favorite entertainment franchises were atop my lists around his age – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Star Wars. His other favorite franchise is Avatar: The Last Airbender, a series I’ve become awkwardly addicted to since it started airing a few years back, a comparable addiction to that of Breaking Bad, Deadwood, Mad Men, and any other number of quality adult television series.
In other words, we see eye to eye.
The strange and exciting part about this for me isn’t that I have similar tastes in entertainment to a child (I still remember seriously discussing Dragonball Z with an 8 year old about 7 years ago), but that my father and his wife don’t have time to watch entertainment franchises of their own, meaning they’ve watched TMNT, Star Wars (all six, my mother would’ve never let me see Revenge of the Sith at six years old), and Avatar more times than myself. And because they’re grown-ups, they’ve taken to dealing with them in more interesting, adult ways. Well, not so much on TMNT (though the new show and movie were pretty good). And by ‘adult’ I mean the goofy fanboy dissection I love to devolve into with my geekiest friends.
Some of you may have had geeky fathers from which you gathered your personal credentials, but my dad was into sports, the environment and history most of my life. The closest thing he got to real geek was an obsessive collection of duck decoys, and an impossibly complex knowledge of the history of each artisan that crafted the wooden waterfowl. This whole thing comes as a minor shock to me. I never in a million years though I’d be discussing the many points during the prequel trilogy in which the people around Anakin had a chance to ‘save his soul’ with my dad (we decided that the whole thing is really Yoda’s fault), or the importance of feminist representation in Avatar with his wife, but here we are, sitting in a hotel room, watching my little half brother playing with Ugnaughts and Geonosians, and discussing these very subjects, rather then the weather or the impending political elections, as grown-up kids are supposed to with their parents.