Pittsburgh Dad

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Pittsburgh Dad
Pittsburgh Dad title.png
Title from opening sequence,
used from 2011 to mid-2018
Personal information
BornCurt Wootton
(1979-01-22) 22 January 1979 (age 42)
OriginPittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
NationalityAmerican
OccupationComedian
Websitehttps://pghdad.com
YouTube information
Channel
Years active2011-present
GenreComedy
Subscribers230,000
(January 2021)
Total views65 million views
(January 2021)
Catchphrase(s)"3-2-1 Win!", "I'd hate to be you when Mom finds out.", "Geh-outta-there!"
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg 100,000 subscribers

Updated: January 2021

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] The series was created by Chris Preksta and Curt Wootton in 2011. Wootton plays the namesake character of Pittsburgh Dad in the series.

Background[edit]

Preksta, a native of Munhall, Pennsylvania 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 television 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]

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 "jagoffs in Baltimore/Philadelphia," all punctuated by an exaggerated laugh track,[2][4] 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.[5][6]

On February 9, 2019, Keith Wootton, the father of Curt Wootton and one of the major inspirations for the series, died.[7]

Premise[edit]

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 non-canonical to the main series.

  • 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, playing on his Nintendo DS, 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.
  • Thom – Dad's next door neighbor, who is often the butt of many of his everyday commentary comprising the series' jokes. Thom 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 Thom'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.
  • Crying Bengals Lady - A Cincinnati Bengals fan, and only non-fictional recurring character in the series. Initially coming to fame at the end of the infamous 2016 playoff game between the two teams, she has been featured in a few episodes involving the Steelers and Bengals, initially being poked fun at by Dad himself before actually appearing on two episodes of the series herself, having been brought to Pittsburgh for the first episode with her husband.[8] The second episode showed her visibly pregnant sitting with Dad at a game between the two teams at Paul Brown Stadium. She has received critical praise from Steeler fans for being a good sport for the series; the two later partnered for charities to fight Huntington's disease.[9]

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,[10] and even has his own beer named "3-2-1 Win Beer."[11]

"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"[12]

"3-2-1, Ring!" said at the end of the Steelers' loss to the Ravens.

Notable episodes[edit]

Many episodes feature Dad and his family visiting many local places of interest, including Giant Eagle,[13] Eat'n Park,[14] Kennywood,[15] Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium,[16] and Hoss's Steak and Sea House.[17]

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.[18]

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.

The August 15, 2017 episode has Dad drive his family "six hours round-trip" to the nearest Rax Roast Beef location in Lancaster, Ohio, not telling his family what their trip is until they arrive.[19] 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." The same episode has Dad mock Cincinnati chili (presumably Skyline Chili) in an ongoing mocking of Ohio in general.[20]

Pittsburgh Dad aired an episode bidding farewell to Kennywood's Log Jammer ride on its last day of operation, September 17, 2017.[21]

Reception[edit]

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]

In 2011, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette named it the 3rd best internet video of the year.[22]

In November 2012 both Preksta and Wootton were hosts and guests of the annual Three Rivers Film Festival in Pittsburgh.[23]

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 UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, was the first ever Smiley Cookie to feature the likeness of a living person.[24]

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.[25]

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.[26] 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.[27] The incident would later be briefly referenced in the episode "Dad Goes Back to the Future."[18]

In other media[edit]

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has published guest columns written by "Pittsburgh Dad," including one for Father's Day 2013.[28]

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.[29]

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.[30] The film, while having the characters from Pittsburgh Dad, is considered by Wootton to be non-canon to the main Pittsburgh Dad series.[31] Due to the popularity of the film, Wootton and Preskta launched a Kickstarter campaign to create a sequel; the Kickstarter campaign proved so successful it allowed Wootton and Preskta to produce two sequels.[32]

Wootton (in character as Dad) and Preskta appeared on the January 31st, 2020 episode of The Price is Right, sitting in the audience. After the taping, host Drew Carey allowed Wootton to spin The Big Wheel, during which he nags at Deb & the kids to not use as much utilities and "also hi to Coach Cowher".[33] Wootton and Preskta were at the December 2019 taping of the episode in order to tape a special episode of Pittsburgh Dad after becoming "Twitter friends" with native Clevelander Carey, as well as a follow-up to a 2014 episode of Pittsburgh Dad watching The Price is Right at home.[34][35]

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. ^ "Pittsburgh Dad: Watching The Penguins". WBZZ. CBS Radio. April 11, 2012.
  5. ^ "Online video series celebrates the Pittsburgh dad". Associated Press. November 25, 2011.
  6. ^ "Hey! You Kids Better Be Watchin' Pittsburgh Dad N'at!". WTAE-TV. Dec 5, 2011.
  7. ^ "RIP to the real-life 'Pittsburgh Dad' ... Curt Wootton's father, Keith, the inspiration for the popular comedy character, has died". WTAE. 13 February 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_fUji0jTAE
  9. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bv6keYa0aB0
  10. ^ https://twitter.com/Pittsburgh_Dad/status/541702163249266688
  11. ^ http://pghdad.com/home/2013/8/20/pittsburgh-dad-beer
  12. ^ Preksta, Chris; Wootton, Curt (2015-04-28). Pittsburgh Dad: Everything Your Dad Has Said to You. ISBN 9780698182189.
  13. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJfNI9DppP4
  14. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyKZPkWCISI
  15. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoRmFszjLxs
  16. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbQYCtqm7NE
  17. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nijv1YTQISA
  18. ^ a b Dad Goes Back to the Future Pittsburgh Dad (07/14/2015)
  19. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E06ZpclNi50
  20. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EKeY-28mf4
  21. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P86bGBiiCIs
  22. ^ McCoy, Adrian (2012-03-12). "Best Web Video: Danny MacAskill". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  23. ^ "Three Rivers Film festival schedule -- Week 3 - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. November 15, 2012.
  24. ^ Heyl, Eric (Oct 15, 2013). "Eat'n Park cookies a tribute to Pittsburgh Dad show's success". Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Retrieved October 16, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  25. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-04-22. Retrieved 2016-04-22. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  26. ^ ‘Pittsburgh Dad’ Apologizes For Video Rant About Penguins KDKA-TV (01/05/2015)
  27. ^ PITTSBURGH DAD WATCHES "JAGOFF IN BAR" VIDEO
  28. ^ Pittsburgh Dad (June 16, 2013). "Father's Day: That holiday yinz can't be just overlookin'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved June 16, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  29. ^ 'Pittsburgh Dad' Christmas special coming to WPXI-TV WPXI (12/09/2014)
  30. ^ https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1498956703495373&id=234699749921081
  31. ^ https://www.facebook.com/pittsburghdad/photos/a.348681825189539.77102.234699749921081/975090999215282/?type=1&theater
  32. ^ https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cpreksta/street-light-stories-part-ii
  33. ^ https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/pittsburgh-dad-spins-wheel-on-price-is-right-stage/
  34. ^ https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/pittsburgh-dad-makes-stop-at-the-price-is-right/
  35. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0H98U-STcw

External links[edit]