Ask Alan: Who Are The Worst Parents In TV History?

Time for another installment of Ask Alan, as I take your questions about the past, present, and future of TV.

First up this week is a topic I could have talked about for at least an hour without stopping: Who are the worst parents in TV history? The medium’s had a whole lot of them, in part because giving your main character a difficult relationship with their mother and/or father is one of the simplest and most relatable ways of generating conflict, either for drama or for laughs. The question originated with the lousy parental hand dealt to Eleanor Shellstrop on The Good Place and Rebecca Bunch on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, but it moves far and wide from there.

Next up is a much more specific one: Is Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel the most Judaism-centric series in TV history? Years ago, I used to go to local synagogues to give a talk about overtly Jewish representation on TV. These day, that talk would be a lot different thanks to shows like Maisel and Transparent, I think.

Finally, Adweek‘s Jason Lynch, inspired by my best-of 2017 list, wanted to know what shows might benefit from following The Leftovers‘ lead and putting its characters on a Tasmanian lion sex boat for an episode.

As always, you can email me questions at, or tweet at me with the hashtag #AskAlanDay.

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