Two short documentaries on the Wait Till Your Father Gets Home: The Complete First Season DVD set try to paint this early-'70s prime-time cartoon as a groundbreaking fusion of animation and social relevance. And how does it do this? With stock footage of Vietnam, generic rock music, and a talking head offering bland generalities about the late '60s and early '70s as "a time of change." Though Wait Till Your Father Gets Home took up space on CBS' schedule for two full seasons, from 1972 to 1974, no one on the DVD has much to say about the nuts and bolts of the series, aside from a few words about the show's gag-cartoon design and its origins in the corny imaginations of a couple of Love, American Style writers.

The reason for this is plain: Wait Till Your Father Gets Home was and is god-awful. Essentially a cartoon riff on All In The Family, the show follows a typical middle-class family at the dawn of the '70s, as a conservative father and timid homemaker mother deal with their three progressive kids. In a typical episode, dad Harry (voiced by Tom Bosley) is thrust into a wacky situation that leaves him flustered about the new sexual liberation, or that crazy acid-rock music, or the pushy demands of minority groups. Meanwhile, he berates his kids with pithy lines like "What do I have to do to get through to you? Transmit on FM?"


Those groaner punchlines make Wait Till Your Father Gets Home a chore to sit through—well, them plus the cruddy Hanna-Barbera animation, canned laughter, draggy pace, and multiple zany supporting characters apparently cribbed from Laugh-In sketches. In what way was any of this "groundbreaking," aside from the fact that the characters delivering lame generation-gap jokes were crudely animated? The show holds some cultural fascination, but only as a relic of a generation that boldly confronted the changing popular culture by snidely mocking it.

Key features: The two ultra-lame featurettes.