He Brought The Father Back

It doesn’t take long after people know me, read what I say, and read my blogs, to realize that I am one of the leading Smallville fans out there. In all honesty, I would say my knowledge of the series at least borders on Encyclopedic. It was a series my Dad and I watched together when I was living with my folks and when I moved to an apartment near them, I’d record them and he’d join me. Well now, we’ve had to end that tradition since I live hours away, but I still love the series.

If there’s one character I really enjoyed though when he was on, it was Jonathan Kent. In so many TV shows today, the father is often seen as some sex-crazed beer-guzzling, sports addict who sits around all day and does nothing and is a complete idiot and the woman has to come and be the voice of reason every time. It wasn’t that way in the Kent household.

Now granted there were some difficulties. Jonathan Kent, played by John Schneider, was not perfect nor was he meant to be. He was particularly stubborn about Lex Luthor for instance and he and Martha did have their disagreements as well as he and Clark. Most noted between him and Martha comes in Season 2, Episode 6, Redux and between him and Clark it’s Season 1, Episode 17, Reaper.

Still, he was the father and he had the say about what went on at the household. At the same time though, he wasn’t domineering. He was a man who was loved by his wife and adored by his adopted son, Clark Kent. It’s something quite important to keep in mind that Clark Kent is no ordinary kid. He is practically invincible and can do things that no one else can do.

When it comes time to tell Clark Kent the truth about where he comes from, Jonathan Kent is the one who does it. When Clark gets scared in “Metamorphosis” when he wakes up floating above his bed, he talks to his Dad about it. When he plays for the football team in “Jinx” and defends his actions to Jonathan, Jonathan tells him he’s starting to sound more and more like his father to which he says “I hope so Dad.”

In “Leech”, when Clark gets his powers taken away temporarily by a kid named Eric, he tells Jonathan later after he recovers them that Eric didn’t get his two strongest gifts. When Jonathan looks confused Clark answers “You and Mom.” While this family has several ups and down, the beautiful thing about them is that they are a family unit.

In fact, Jonathan shows himself to have very traditional values when in “Hidden” Clark and Lana took their relationship to a whole new level and ended up falling asleep at Clark’s place in his bedroom. (I hope I don’t have to explain that for anyone.) When they come downstairs trying to avoid the parents, they find they’re already in the kitchen.

Jonathan takes a strong stance and one I admired saying that it didn’t matter if it was safe or not. There were just some things that shouldn’t be done under their roof. Jonathan was always a strong disciplinarian and a viewer of the show can tell that Clark didn’t really like to disappoint Jonathan or his mother and if there was anything Clark feared or fears more than kryptonite, it could be the displeasing of his parents.

I don’t mean it lightly when I say that the day Jonathan Kent died was the saddest moment I think I’ve ever seen on TV. I was still with my folks at the time and my mother came upstairs afterwards and said “Are you going to be alright?” It was one of those times when I was less than honest and said “Yeah” when I really felt like my world had shattered. I went to bed that night wondering how to make sense of it all.

Naturally, I did and still enjoy the series today, yet I saw Clark go through it in the next episode asking “How can I make it without Dad here?”

In an age where the father is often made to be less than a man, Jonathan Kent truly was a man and a father. Here’s to you Jonathan Kent. Thanks for bringing back the role of the father.

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