|"Guys with Kids" on NBC|
I had the chance a few weeks ago to chat with star Anthony Anderson and executive producer Charlie Grandy about parenthood -- both are dads -- and the show.
Here's a snippet of the convo:
L.A. Story: These days, guys are more involved in child-rearing than ever before. So how has your experience been, just being the more involved dad and not just, you know, the one we see on TV from the 50’s?
Anthony Anderson: You know, it’s crazy. There was a study on 60 Minutes or one of those news programs that I was watching before we even shot the pilot, and they were talking about how stay-at-home dads are on the increase.
There are more fathers in the Mommy and Me classes than ever before. There are more fathers who are making play dates than the mothers than ever before. And, you know, a lot of people look at them and say, how could you? How could you send your wife off to work while you sit at home with your kids?
Because it’s seldom looked upon negatively when you say “stay-at-home mom.” It’s only looked upon negatively when you say “stay-at-home dad.” Why can’t this husband and this father empower his wife and support his wife for going out and making a career, (while) staying at home to raise the children?
Charlie Grandy: I agree. I think just in terms of fathering, the more time I spend with my kids, and the more I do, and even just hard stuff -- getting up in the middle of the night and the changing the diapers and staying with them when they’re sick, and, going to the hospital -- you just feel so much more connected them.
And just being with them, those little moments, can turn, not just like weeks or days around, but weeks or months around, just when you’re like, OK, well, I know I’m doing something right.
Anthony Anderson: Since I’ve been working with the show, and working with these children on the show and kind of getting into this character of Gary, it’s actually made me want to be a better father.
It makes me want to have a better connection with my children at home, because all my children have known from me is dad is on location. They were born into my career. So that’s all they know. That’s all they see is, you know, me on a plane, them on a plane, going to exotic locations and working and having fun.
But now that I’m doing this show, I can look at my son, who’s 12, and look at my daughter, who’s 16, and I’ve already realized that I’ve missed out on a lot.
But doing the show makes me want to stay home. I no longer take the weekend golf trips or whatnot. It’s like, you know what, I want to stay at home this weekend and just hang out with my kids, even if we don’t do anything but sit by the pool.
L.A. Story: What have you guys learned from your wives about mother -- or fatherhood -- rather?
Charlie Grandy: It’s just the amount of strength that she has and the digging deep for those reserves of strength and not complaining. I mean, it’s really just as hard as it gets -- just putting a smile on your face and knowing that you get so much out of it.
And that’s what a family is, it’s just working and helping your kids and supporting each other. I guess if there’s one word, it would be patience. (That's) what I’ve truly learned from her.
Anthony Anderson: Charlie said the exact same thing that I was going to say. I can’t add anything more to that. Strength and patience -- those are the two things.
L.A. Story: How do you both give your wives "me" time?
Charlie Grandy: I’ll send her to a hotel. I mean, if she needs to get away, there are some times when she’s just burned out and I can see it on her face. And one of these is coming up very soon, because I’ve been at work a lot. It’s just like, go. Take a weekend, and you know, just go, and take a friend, don’t take a friend, whatever you want to do.
And you know, it’s funny, she’s incredible, because I’ll send her away for a weekend, and on the second day she’s like, 'Can I come home now? I’m bored. I don’t want to sit around here.'
So, it’s really that. Pay attention to those times, because she won’t take it herself. So you kind of have to kick her out the door and say, 'Get out of here, you need a break.'
Anthony Anderson: Right. I do the same thing, except, Charlie, my wife calls and asks if she can stay a week longer.
Charlie Grandy: Well, I don’t have teenagers yet, so, we’ll see.