"Fathers and Sons"

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I watched "Fathers and Sons" last night. I was thinking that most of the characters on "ER" didn't have a good relatinship with their dad. Doug and Mark didn't. Carter doesn't anymore. Carol's dad died when she was young and Lucy's dad didn't even bother with her. How sad is this? I think the saddest one is Lucy but Carol comes in a close second. Carol didn't know her dad but he was around unlike Lucy's dad. What do you thimk about this? I don't know how the other characters got along with their parents.

-- Cammie (rmaelhorn@home.com), July 05, 2000


of all the character's relationships with their fathers, i think doug's was the most realistic and saddening for me. i know people with father's like dougs(emotionally distant, not abusive alcoholic), and the feelings he was describing, how you promise yourself you won't get excited but then you do, are very real to them. It's a hard way to live, and i understood all of doug's emotions and felt for him too. I also like how doug was able to rise above what he learned from his father and become the man he was capapble of being. NOt everyone has a perfect family, it is a fact of life. but being able to make something out of yourself despite what you went through is what really counts. So i think doug's situation was the most realistic for me.

-- Erin (earthgirl24@yahoo.com), July 05, 2000.

I have to agree with Cammie about Lucy because unfortunately there are teenagers who have babies and the father of the babies don't want anything to do with the baby or the mother. I wish it wasn't so but it is. So that's why Lucy's story about her dad is the sadest.

-- Andie (no@no.com), July 05, 2000.

Unfortunately it appears that only Benton had a real relationship with his father, perhaps that's why he's such a major & good influence on his son's life.

(Elizabeth appears to have a good relationship w/hers also, but that's not in the context of this thread)

-- AmyE (roamyn@aol.com), July 05, 2000.

Marc's relationship with his father didn't improve until, unfortunately, right before his father passed away. I think this realization will make Marc a better father for Rachel. I also think Doug will be a better father for his girls because he doesn't want to carry on with the kind of relationship he and his father had. Isn't it ironic that the most seemingly unsensitive doctor (Dr. Benton) comes across as the most loving father. Having him become a doctor is the best thing they've done for his character. It allowed us to see a different side to Dr. Benton. And finally what ever happened to Carter's parents? Do they live overseas or are they just always on "vacation"?

-- Carin Haseltine (cdenisehaze@usa.net), July 05, 2000.

I was thinking that Carter's relationship with his father is sad. In fact, I think it has a direct impact on his with Benton. Carter sought Benton's approval constantly (even when he wasn't directly under him), making him a father figure IMO. The scene where Benton was sitting on the plane next to Carter taking him to the treatment center in Atlanta illustrated a father-son relationship that Carter hasn't had with his real dad. Someone (Phyl, I think) has pointed out that Benton calls Reese "little man" and Carter "man," furthering my point.

-- Diana (dilynne@juno.com), July 06, 2000.

Again, and my comment as such is mentioned in that same review, when I see and consider Carter and Benton, I'm reminded more of a relationship between younger and older brothers. Even in the abstract, father/son doesn't really work for me here.

In the early seasons, when Carter wanted to be a surgeon, it was always emphasized that Benton was a few paces ahead of him on the career track (without yet having "made it" himself; he was still learning as well). Carter idolized him and was eager to learn and catch up and be involved in things in which Benton was involved, as well as to ingratiate himself on a social and personal level. Benton usually responded to Carter's personal overtures and gestures impatiently, and sometimes blew him off rather cruelly -- he was the like the star-athlete older brother maintaining distance between himself and the scrawny, geeky sibling tagging after him. Now a few years have gone by, they've both grown up a little bit and the circumstances have changed, and we're seeing some other scenarios that are evocative of a close relationship between siblings: Carter teasing Benton in a knowing, brotherly way about Cleo and the "jazz club," and Benton bantering back. Concerned Benton racing to the scene when he heard about the stabbing. Benton being the one who could get through to Carter about his drug problem (someone said once that a close sibling is the one person you can never fool), and taking the time to accompany him on the plane trip. That's the void that I think Benton fills in Carter's life, rather than a parental role.

-- Philip (PlacidDen@aol.com), July 06, 2000.

I have never understood Carter's relationship with his parents - at some points it seems really distant, but I remember in the episode where he matched for his residency program, he called his dad with the good news... I wonder if TPTB will explore his relationship with his parents and sister next season?

-- Beth (BSmith@internet-95.com), July 06, 2000.

Doesn't anyone agree with meabout Lucy though? I mean her dad lefr her mom when she was pregnant with Lucy and bever had anything to do with her.

-- Cammie (rmaelhorn@home.com), July 06, 2000.

Cammie - I agree that it is sad any time a father chooses not to be involved in his child's life. But I wonder if it's easier to adjust to no dad then it is to adjust to a dad that constantly lets you down (like Doug's father).

I've always liked the fact that Benton is portrayed as a devoted single father. I think I read somewhere that Eriq LaSalle insisted on this - he has always placed heavy emphasis on playing Peter Benton as a positive role model. Way to go Eriq!

-- Beth (BSmith@internet-95.com), July 06, 2000.

The reason I've seen Benton/Carter's relationship as more father/son than older/younger brothers is the approval seeking. In general, a younger brother doesn't so adamently (if at all) seek his older brother's approval. They might be rivals and compete, however. Carter has constantly sought Benton's approval, appearing more father/son IMO. In Season 7 and beyond though there might be a shift away from the old relationship characteristics and I can see where they could become more brotherly.

-- Diana (dilynne@juno.com), July 07, 2000.

That is interesting, Diana, because the approval-seeking is a big part of the sibling dynamic I've always thought they had. It is seen often enough in cases where a younger sibling looks up to an older one and wants to emulate him or do things together. The same can be said for Benton's typically impatient, distancing responses (" Carter..."). The reason I've never bought them as the symbolic father/son figures people have talked about, is that there never has been enough of a maturity gap between them, either chronological, emotional, or professional, for me to make it fit. A maturity gap does exist, certainly (Benton always has been and remains more world-wise, inward, disciplined, shrewd, etc.), but it's a narrower one.

By contrast, and this won't make the "Carter/Kerry romance" contingent fond of me, I *do* think of Kerry as playing a somewhat maternal role for Carter. That's what her demeanor and their interactions in recent seasons have suggested to me. To some extent, other residents and med students in her charge as well (e.g., Dave, Lucy). I know, I'm getting afield here. But there isn't any "Mothers And Sons" episode to inspire such a thread...

-- Philip (PlacidDen@aol.com), July 07, 2000.

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