A Date with Your Family
|A Date with Your Family|
A screenshot from A Date with Your Family
|Directed by||Edward G. Simmel|
|Produced by||Edward G. Simmel|
|Written by||Arthur V. Jones|
|Narrated by||Hugh Beaumont|
|Cinematography||Harry F. Burrell|
|Edited by||Miriam Bucher|
|Distributed by||Encyclopaedia Britannica Films|
|Running time||10 min.|
A Date with Your Family is a 1950 10-minute social engineering short film presented by Simmel-Meservey, directed by Edward G. Simmel, and written by Arthur V. Jones to primarily show youth how to act and behave with parents during dinner to have a pleasant time. The subject family consists of a father, mother and their offspring, the sister, older brother and the younger junior. The narrator tells what happens with the family; what should happen during the meal, what types of manners and socializing should be exhibited to not sour the time with your family and what should not happen. There are many stereotypical views of each person to coincide with the preferred image of a nuclear family in the post-war era of the 1950s.
- Hugh Beaumont: Narrator
- Ralph Hodges: Brother (uncredited)
The film starts with the father coming home from work in the afternoon and is met with his wife. The older brother is completing his homework while junior comes home dirty from baseball and is helped to clean up by the older brother. Then the older brother meets father to have a pleasant chat. The narrator points out that it is not the time for the son to bring up any bad news such as poor grades. Mother and sister wear their best dresses to the table to please the men of the family and sister helps mother to set up the table, she puts a centerpiece on the table but moves it because it is too big. When the food is served, no one is to begin eating until father and mother do so. Table talk is to remain pleasant and inoffensive and everyone should be themselves, no one is to be emotional. It is shown that the conversation should be light and not egocentric. The sister begins to criticize her clothes to other women which causes negativity. The older brother begins to talk and motion graphically about a fight in turn disgusting the father and then the brother argues with the sister. When the meal is over, the narrator then points out the dishes being put away by the brother and sister while the father and mother talk. The short then ends with the narrator saying a pleasant time can be shared with the family every time if all of these steps are taken and also the actions that should be avoided.
Mystery Science Theater 3000
A Date with Your Family was satirized on a season six episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 as a short paired with the Cold War scare film Invasion U.S.A.. It is known as one of the most humorous shorts of the series, also containing many dark jokes ("Emotions are for ethnic people" and also "Brother has a tight psychologocial grip on Junior.") because of the extremely restrictive nature of instructions for a common social event such as a family dinner. The title itself was mocked as well, with the characters cracking jokes that implied it suggested incest (Mike Nelson responded by saying "Hey, I like my family as a friend!").