Pittsburgh Dad

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Pittsburgh Dad
Pittsburgh Dad title.png
Title from opening sequence
Created by Chris Preksta
Curt Wootton
Directed by Chris Preksta
Starring Curt Wootton
Country of origin United States
Release
Original network YouTube
External links
Pittsburgh Dad

Pittsburgh Dad is an online series of short films featuring the observations of a "blue-collar" father from Pittsburgh who speaks with a thick Pittsburghese dialect.[1][2]

Background[edit]

The Internet show was created by Chris Preksta and Curt Wootton. Preksta, a native of Munhall and a graduate of Point Park University and Pittsburgh Filmmakers, serves as director.[2][3] Wootton, a native of Greensburg, Pennsylvania who graduated from West Virginia University, plays the "Pittsburgh Dad".[2] Wootton and Preksta met on the set of the 2005 web series Captain Blasto.[2] They later collaborated on The Mercury Men for the Syfy network, where Wootton entertained the crew with a character based on the character "Greg" from the web series and TV show [Greg and Donny]' and his own father, Keith, emulating the thick Western Pennsylvania accent of his youth.[2][3] The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette describes the character as "Archie Bunker from Dahntahn or S'Liberty or Little Warshington," referencing Pittsburgh locales.[2] Dan Gigler of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette praised the portrayal, saying, "This is supposed to be a parody but it's practically a documentary. Pure genius. De Niro has nothing on Curt Wootten [sic] for method acting. This is a dead on portrayal of like, every single one of my male relatives."[4]

The first several episodes were recorded "just for fun" on an iPhone, with the intended audience only the two men's families and friends.[3] It quickly became an Internet hit, generating 3 million YouTube views within 6 months.[2][3] The series appeals to both current and ex-Pittsburghers, many of whom relate to the character's speech patterns and temperament.[2]

Each episode lasts about two to nine minutes and opens with a piano theme song reminiscent of the intro to another Pittsburgh-based program, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.[2] Each show features the Pittsburgh Dad delivering soliloquies on topics including "grass clippings," "freeze pops," and "jag-offs in Baltimore/Philadelphia," all punctuated by an exaggerated laugh track,[2][5] which would eventually be removed.

The idiosyncrasies of the Pittsburgh dialect plays a large role in the show, including such regional words as "yinz," which means "you (plural)"; "nebby", which describes a nosy person; and "redd up", an idiomatic phrase (imported from Scots into regional American English) which means to clean up and/or to make a space orderly.[6][7]

Pittsburgh Dad was one of three finalists for the 2012 Steeltown Film Factory award.[8] In 2011, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette named it the 3rd best internet video of the year.[9]

In November 2012 both Pretska and Wootton were hosts and guests of the annual Three Rivers Film Festival in Pittsburgh.[10]

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has published guest columns written by "Pittsburgh Dad," including one for Father's Day 2013.[11]

In October 2013, Pittsburgh restaurant chain Eat'n Park issued a special edition "Smiley Cookie" bearing Pittsburgh Dad's face; the cookie, which was to raise funds for Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, was the first ever Smiley Cookie to feature the likeness of a living person.[12]

On December 19, 2014, WPXI aired a Pittsburgh Dad-themed Christmas special, Pittsburgh Dad's Guide to Christmas. Hosted by WQED personality Rick Sebak, the special showed Pittsburgh Dad's previous Christmas specials, as well as debuting a new one at the end. The 1960s-era NBC "Laramie Peacock" made a cameo appearance at the beginning of the special.[13]

On July 14, 2015, Pittsburgh Dad aired a special Back to the Future-themed episode in tribute to the first film's 30th anniversary, complete with a DeLorean time machine. The episode showed Dad (all in a "what-if" cutaway) going back to 1989 just to shop at Hills, 1988 where he "appeared" in the WQED production Kennywood Memories to visit attractions "before they tear them out", to 1972 to watch the Immaculate Reception in person and buy beer for $0.75/bottle while at the game (as well as telling the fans "not to hold their breath" on construction on upgrading Pennsylvania Route 28 to a freeway that didn't eventually end until late 2014), and to change Tom Brady's future from being a star with the New England Patriots to owning an automotive detailing business.[14]

Based on the mention of Hills in the Back to the Future-themed episode as well as several episodes of Dad wearing Hills-themed attire, a Pittsburgh-based candle company released a "Pittsburgh Dad's Hills Snack Bar" scented candle that is supposed to replicate the smell of the popular snack bar from the now-defunct chain.[15]

Starting with the 2016 NFL season, Pittsburgh Dad now airs a weekly recap of the most recent Pittsburgh Steelers game in addition to regular episodes.

On July 19, 2017, Pittsburgh Dad aired his first short film, Street Light Stories. The special detailed what family life was like in Pittsburgh circa summer 1987.[16] The film, while having the characters from Pittsburgh Dad, is considered by Wootton to be non-canon to the main Pittsburgh Dad series.[17]

The August 15, 2017 episode has Dad drive his family "six hours round-trip" to the nearest Rax Roast Beef location, not telling his family what their trip is until they arrive.[18] Rax had been previously mentioned by Dad in a previous episode of him watching the Week 15 game between the Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals during the 2016 season when he said that "The only reason you drive to Cincinnati, because I heard there's a Rax somewheres [sic] around there, in the general vicinity. Well I'll find it."[19]

Pittsburgh Dad aired an episode bidding farewell to Kennywood's Log Jammer ride on its last day of operation, September 17, 2017.[20]

Characters[edit]

The title character watching the Pittsburgh Penguins. Note the character's stereotypical Pittsburgh glasses and facial hair, along with the Iron City Brewing Company sign in the background.

Though the "Pittsburgh Dad" is the only character visible for the duration of the episodes, a number of developed unseen characters play an integral role in the series. The release of Street Light Stories was the first time that Pittsburgh Dad's family was revealed, albeit set in 1987 and it is unknown whether the short movie is a part of the Pittsburgh Dad continuity.

  • Deb – Pittsburgh Dad's off-screen wife, who is often portrayed as having just as much the Pittsburgh mannerisms, if not more so, than Pittsburgh Dad. Dad often explains to his kids not to get their mother angry by their antics noted in the dialogue, notably in "Where Are My Tools" saying "No, I ain't gonna help ya. You're on your own with your mum." A running gag (most notable in the episode "Ravens Win Super Bowl") involves Dad mimicking Deb in a high, raspy voice reminiscent of the one used by Fred Rogers for the Lady Elaine puppet on Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.
  • Mandy – Pittsburgh Dad's 14-year-old daughter. She is often depicted by Dad as a stereotypical American teenager, which includes texting, backtalking her parents, and since "Daughter's First Date" having a boyfriend named Andrew, who is depicted as a skate punk.
  • Andrew - Mandy's boyfriend, whom Dad hates.
  • Brandon – Pittsburgh Dad's 8-year-old son who enjoys watching WWE wrestling and Pittsburgh Steelers games. He often gets into trouble with his friend Jeffy.
  • Jessica – Pittsburgh Dad's younger daughter who is the audience of the "Storytime" episodes, in which Dad reads children's books accompanied by his unique commentary. She is the only family member to date whose voice has been heard, when in the episode "Leaving the Lights On" she said one word: "yeah" (although all the kids can be heard in the form of muffled cheering/laughing/arguing in various episodes).
  • Jeffy – A neighborhood boy who is befriended by Pittsburgh Dad's son Brandon, and often one of the top annoyances of Dad in the series. Jeffy is portrayed as a messy kid who is constantly getting into trouble due to reckless behavior, and is also noted to have an alcoholic mother named Tish and a dismissive father whom Dad claims is an idiot because he "buys his batteries down at 7-Eleven" and "buys iPhones out of the vending machine down at the airport." Jeffy is the only regular human character other than Dad to appear on screen, albeit with his face covered by a Halloween mask or in silhouette. In addition, he was the focus of two episodes ("Jeffy-Vision" and "Halloween Special"),which are explicitly from his point of view. In the former, the title sequence featured the name Jeffy in place of the usual "Pittsburgh Dad". It is implied that Jeffy's parents are irresponsible and somewhat neglectful. In the parent-teacher conference episode, it is revealed that Jeffy is in the school's gifted program.
  • Tom – Dad's next door neighbor, who is often the butt of many of his everyday commentary comprising the series' jokes. Tom is from Baltimore, Maryland, and is a fan of the Baltimore Ravens football team (arch rival of Dad's beloved Pittsburgh Steelers) and the Baltimore Orioles baseball team. Dad is often annoyed at all Tom does and has a personal distaste for the state of Tom's lawn, which is said to be unmowed, covered with weeds, and dirty overall.
  • Pete – Dad's best friend. Often the person Dad is speaking to, particularly in Dad's movie review episodes. Episodes involving Pete usually feature Dad helping him with home improvement projects in a garage or basement, and several episodes reference repair work they did on a broken sump pump.
  • Rick – Dad's and Deb's brother-in-law. Rick is portrayed as a loudmouthed and lazy alcoholic with an unhappy marriage to Linda. Multiple episodes mention his tendency to eat large quantities of food.
  • Linda – Deb's sister and wife of Rick whom she fights with frequently. She may also be an alcoholic based on Dad's comments. Linda works as a hairstylist, and has a daughter named Brittney.
  • Pap – Dad's father. He is described as having a creepy-looking eye, bad teeth, and is implied to be rather careless. He is also a Vietnam War veteran, as stated in "4th of July."
  • Gram – Dad's mother, who enjoys telling everyone about her medical problems.
  • June Boyers – Deb's nemesis, who claimed she was going to be able to get the Pope to come to the fish fry, married to Steve Boyers.
  • "That Dog" – Although its name has never been revealed, the family Dog (portrayed by Chris Preksta's beagle Sawyer) has appeared on screen in a number of episodes. Frequent jokes about the dog involve his making messes and family members forgetting to let him in or out. The family also has a pet cat, which is only mentioned occasionally. The cat appeared onscreen in the Steelers/Chiefs Live Commentary special episode.
  • Dana the Witch Girl – A girl who plays on a softball team and is friends with one of Dad's daughters. In the episode "Slumber Party", she claimed to possess magical powers and put curses on her friends. Her dad drives a Ford Explorer and works at PNC Park. Dana was mentioned again in a Christmas episode when she asked Santa Claus to put curses on people.
  • DeNuzi family - A wealthy family at Dad's church whom Dad loathes. Their entrance is always noted by Dad saying "Hey look... DeNuzis are here".
  • Bob Ash - A custodian at Dad's church who doesn't like people getting scuff marks on the floors. In "Outtakes", it was revealed that he has a large collection of guns. Bob also signed up to dress as Santa Claus at church one year, but was sick and Dad reluctantly filled in for him. More recent mentions of him imply he's elderly and possibly senile.
  • Steve Denk - Deb's ex-boyfriend whom she dated when she and Dad were on a dating hiatus. Steve has a trampoline and a firepit (not like Dad's 50-gallon drum). Steve's basement is drywalled, not wood-paneled like Dad's. Dad is jealous that Deb and Steve are Facebook friends, as Deb liked Steve's picture of his mulch.

Dad's Catchphrases[edit]

"3-2-1 Win" said at the end of any game in which Dad's team wins. Dad often posts this on his official Twitter account after the Steelers win,[21] and even has his own beer named "3-2-1 Win Beer."[22]

"You know what's next, right?" said when Dad complains about something, followed by a one-word description of what Dad thinks will happen as a result.

"I'd hate to be you when Mom finds out."

"Ah, what-a-you mean?"

"Hey Tom...."

"Geh-outta-there!" spoken as one word.

"I don't know how yinz did it, but you done it"[23]

Controversy[edit]

On January 4, 2015, a video quickly surfaced of Wootton being out of character at a bar watching both the Steelers playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens as well as the Pittsburgh Penguins game against the Montreal Canadiens that were playing concurrently. In the video, a drunken Wootton criticized the Penguins game and ice hockey in general in a profanity-laced rant caused by the Steelers losing the game to their archrival; both games resulted in lopsided defeats for the Pittsburgh teams. The next day, Wootton acknowledged the incident happening and apologized on his official Facebook page.[24] The following episode of Pittsburgh Dad posted January 7, 2015, poked fun at the incident, with Dad (all covered in Penguins gear in his kitchen) poking fun at Wootton and at the end of the episode breaking the fourth wall by acknowledging that Pittsburgh Dad is a series.[25] The incident would later be briefly referenced in the episode "Dad Goes Back to the Future."[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rotstein, Gary (2012-03-12). "The Morning File / Kids, listen up: This Pittsburgh paterfamilias has some edicts". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Fuoco, Michael A. (December 3, 2011). "'Pittsburgh Dad' is an Internet sensation". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  3. ^ a b c d Weaver, Rachel (May 8, 2012). "'Pittsburgh Dad' passes 3 million views on YouTube". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. 
  4. ^ Gigler, Dan (December 6, 2011). "Pittsburgh Dad: Watching the Steelers". Blog n Gold. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  5. ^ "Pittsburgh Dad: Watching The Penguins". WBZZ. CBS Radio. April 11, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Online video series celebrates the Pittsburgh dad". Associated Press. November 25, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Hey! You Kids Better Be Watchin' Pittsburgh Dad N'at!". WTAE-TV. Dec 5, 2011. 
  8. ^ Vancheri, Barbara (May 4, 2012). "Film Notes: Steeltown to unveil film winner, newly named award". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  9. ^ McCoy, Adrian (2012-03-12). "Best Web Video: Danny MacAskill". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  10. ^ "Three Rivers Film festival schedule -- Week 3 - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. November 15, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Pittsburgh Dad" (June 16, 2013). "Father's Day: That holiday yinz can't be just overlookin'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  12. ^ Heyl, Eric (Oct 15, 2013). "Eat'n Park cookies a tribute to Pittsburgh Dad show's success". Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Retrieved October 16, 2013. 
  13. ^ 'Pittsburgh Dad' Christmas special coming to WPXI-TV WPXI (12/09/2014)
  14. ^ a b Dad Goes Back to the Future Pittsburgh Dad (07/14/2015)
  15. ^ https://www.sugarcreekcandlecompany.com/product/pittsburgh-dads-hills-snack-bar/
  16. ^ https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1498956703495373&id=234699749921081
  17. ^ https://www.facebook.com/pittsburghdad/photos/a.348681825189539.77102.234699749921081/975090999215282/?type=1&theater
  18. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E06ZpclNi50
  19. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EKeY-28mf4
  20. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P86bGBiiCIs
  21. ^ https://twitter.com/Pittsburgh_Dad/status/541702163249266688
  22. ^ http://pghdad.com/home/2013/8/20/pittsburgh-dad-beer
  23. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=sRmdBAAAQBAJ&pg=PT54&lpg=PT54&dq=i+don%27t+know+how+yinz+did+it+but+yinz+done+it&source=bl&ots=vmXoiWVDh3&sig=3-gD0D6m-KJ6Pg0UXCbNRJNo7oA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjux-bt66fXAhUFeSYKHYtzDDQQ6AEILTAB#v=onepage&q=i%20don't%20know%20how%20yinz%20did%20it%20but%20yinz%20done%20it&f=false.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  24. ^ ‘Pittsburgh Dad’ Apologizes For Video Rant About Penguins KDKA-TV (01/05/2015)
  25. ^ PITTSBURGH DAD WATCHES "JAGOFF IN BAR" VIDEO