Ah, the American father — that beer-guzzling, football-watching, hamburger-grilling lump of a human who so often prostrates himself on the family couch before his stupefied children like a sedated gorilla has been soundly mocked as a hapless oaf since, well, General Yepanchin in The Idiot. Then, of course, there's every sitcom father ever, even lumpy dinosaur Earl Sinclair, whose mere presence in the sitcom-dad pantheon suggests that working and middle class fathers have been supreme idiots since human fathers even existed.

It's refreshing, then, to see a dad not play the dumb-dad clown every now and then. When Stereotypical American Clown Father appears in a commercial for some housekeeping chemical, it's usually to demonstrate his utter incompetence (dads don't clean, silly! they spill rib juice all over the couch as they slip into a meat stupor over the course of a lazy Sunday afternoon) and promptly exit stage right, a freshly chastised goon. A (relatively) new Tide commercial, however, doesn't rely on goon-father to hawk its detergent — Tide Dad is just a normal parent having a blast playing-pretend with his daughter. And what do they play in this blissful domestic imaginarium? Everything from fairy tale princess to wild west sheriff (hint: dad has to stay in a jail made of chairs until his power-drunk daughter decides to free him).

Tide Wows with Commercial That Treats Dad Like a Norml Human [AdWeek]