WEB SERIES CELEBRATES THE RISE OF THE MODERN DAD
Times are changing. Artificial limbs can be created with 3D printers in the darkest of deep jungles. Some rich dude is sending wannabe reality TV stars to Mars. And now Colorado ran out of marijuana for recreational users one week after the state made it legal.
The new web series, Parked (watch the pilot below), is a sign of these changing times. Lingering somewhere between Orange is the New Black and Workaholics — 10 years later — Parked is a hilarious take on holding onto your own identity in our rapidly evolving world, told through the lens of technology designed to keep us hurdling forward at record pace.
Co-produced by Siobhan McCarthy and Tracey Mack, the show follows the story of a group of 30-something dudes as they navigate a phenomenon of our modern day world – the role of the stay-at-home dad.
“That’s a real thing in our society now,” says Sean Amsing, who plays Davinder. “Men are taking a back seat [economically] as women become so powerful and go-getting.” McCarthy chimes in: “In market research, it’s a well-known fact, because of the socioeconomic situation, there are more dads at home than ever before. There are more opportunities to work from home. And because childcare has become so expensive, there’s a situation where you have two parents who are like revolving-door caregivers. They can’t hire a third party to help them so Dad will do the day shift and Mom will be on nights.”
Canada’s Vanier Institute of the Family indicates that, in 2010, 11 per cent of single earner families had a “stay-at-home” father, up from only one per cent in 1976. According to the Institute’s Fathers in Canada fact sheet, one in five lone-parent families are headed by men.
But you won’t see the men of Parked swapping gender roles with their various co-procreators. They’re doing the Dad and they’re doing it their own way.
“Our comedy comes from a place where these are guys who just happen to have kids,” Amsing explains. “As soon as you become a parent, you kind of have to say goodbye to… what’s the word I’m looking for? Your freedom,” McCarthy suggests, laughing.
Ultimately, these are characters struggling with something everyone, parent or not, must face once in a while — the struggle between who you are and who you thought you would be.
Parked revolves around four main dudes who have been best friends since elementary school and still hang out together in their childhood park, 20 years later and with their own kids in tow. There is Tim (Kirby Morrow), a straight edge author who had immense success with creating a children’s book franchise but now is stuck with what McCarthy describes as “second script syndrome that he can’t really push through.” Jesse (David Lewis) is an accidental member of the Dad club, having been “rhythm method-ed into twins” after a one-night-stand, and now has the motto “never trust a woman to know her own body… so he struggles, I think, more than most of the characters,” McCarthy says. Amsing plays Davinder, a stay-at-home aspiring rapper whose relationship with his wife is “pretty Zen”, and who is generally the most self-satisfied with one major problem: his child projectile vomits. “Like a lot,” is how Amsing tells it. “I’m always kinda high, so I’m always trying to cope with it… [And] I’m not letting go of this music dream. My wife, she’s trying to be supportive of it, but it’s just kinda cute to her, like, ‘Oh yeah, do your music thing, just make sure to take the garbage out.’” The odd man out in this Dad-crew is Josh (Matt Granger), a childless guy who likes being single. He sleeps with post-menopausal women so that he doesn’t have to pay for condoms, and does what he wants to, reminding the dads of what their lives used to be like, both the positives and the negatives.
The first season of Parked takes place over the course of one day, and is told entirely in web episodes spanning more than 20 shorts mixed in with six longer instalments. The script is a little too badass for YouTube but you can find all the broadcasts on parkedtheshow.com. The first short will be posted just in time for Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14, followed by a longer taste at the end of the month and then regular releases every Friday.
“At the end of the day, watching media is an escape and the web is actually a very discreet escape, because as soon as you turn on the TV, the kids are going to want to watch whatever they want to watch, and it turns into a power struggle. But because of all the personal computers and devices, you can watch these things on your own timeline,” Amsing speaks to the delivery of this show, which has such a high quality of production value that it easily stands out against the majority of made-for-web series out there. “It has the feel of you downloading a show that you like.”
This change in approach to an online series reflects a change from the traditional broadcast television approach to home entertainment and pushes it more and more towards the on-demand format of Netflix. “In the next year and a half, the landscape is really going to change,” Siobhan points out. “For example, this year Fox is no longer doing pilot season. They’re putting more money into web series. The whole industry is making a change, and I think that this is just the start of it.”
Stay tuned at www.parkedtheshow.com.
By Liz GoodeBC, British Columbia