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Father Figures - by SimonBob

Father Figures

With Father's Day behind us, I think it's time to look at the dads in EarthBound. After all, without the love and care of their parents, the Chosen Four wouldn't be kickin' butt and chewin' bubblegum. Ness's mother makes his favourite meal so he can recover his HP, and Paula's mom provides the Hand-Aid...

Wait. Didn't I say "the dads in EarthBound?" Well, that was a trick. Y'see, the dads in EB are just a bunch of useless, deadbeat guys who don't really make the grade as good parents. Don't believe me? Follow along, I'll prove it.

Let's start with the biggest example of bad Chosen Four parenting: the father of Poo. Ha! You thought I'd start with Paula's dad! In fact, we see neither of Poo's parents anywhere in the game. Nor do we ever hear of them. The old Master and the Star Master are great father figures, and they certainly offer excellent advice and training, but there's no direct bloodline connection anywhere. You'd think that if Poo was supposed to be training to save the world, his folks would be there to support him along the way, but instead I guess they flew the coop, or maybe Giygas influenced their minds and made them jump off the edge of Dalaam. We'll never know, and by association we'll never know if Poo will live forever in agony at the thought that his parents didn't love him.

Now let's get on to Paula's dad. This poor, whiny fellow apparently serves one useful purpose around the house: being as lame as possible so as to turn away potential TV interviewers. He's also not that bright; he blames Everdred for kidnapping his daughter, and he thinks he can find her by yelling out "Time for pie!" which in turn probably brought more TV cameras to the now unguarded house. (How come we never see the alleged cameras? Join me next week when I answer this and other questions.) And he gets super-whiny when Paula leaves, so she has to tell him to blow his nose. I usually know when I have to blow my nose, the boogers start running down to my lip and it's really gross.

Jeff's dad was the guy who got me thinking about the poor parenting in EB in the first place. It's no wonder mom isn't around in this game; she left when she realized that the doc was a lazy donut-guzzling mind job who would rather put his kid in a boarding school for ten years than help develop the growing talents of a young future science star. Their relationship's gotten so bad that whenever Jeff comes by the lab, they have very little to say to each other, probably because Jeff had Maxwell Labs as a father figure. Dr. Andonuts has plenty to say to Jeff's new friends, though, particularly on the subject of bed-wetting. Way to destroy your nerdy son's only chance at belonging to a social group there, pops. Grow your kids in a test tube next time.

And finally, what about Ness's dad? Well, what about him? He's never there, so he thinks he can just stuff money in his son's bank account and write up his adventures in a journal and give lousy advice about saving often. Important tip for all future fathers: lots of handouts do not replace the love and care of a present father figure! Ness is going to grow up to be one of those psycho punk kids who sings about how his dad never really cared that much about him, and it's all because of his traumatic childhood.

There are lots of other tragic examples throughout the game: the couple who leave their son in Twoson to join the Happy Happy cult, the rich-but-clueless father who buys his son absolutely anything at the Auction House, and the drunken "nice guys finish last" attitude of Aloysius Minch. But I think developing on them would be overkill. The evidence is clear; if you want to be a good father, do the opposite of what the fathers in EB do.


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