The research is in, and the numbers are staggering: Over 1 in 14 women and children will fall victim to sexual abuse at the hands of a former sitcom dad at some point in their lifetime. We’ve all been there—walking home late at night, feeling the hairs stand up on the back of your neck, feeling like there’s surely a Bill Cosby or Stephen Collins lurking behind any corner. But did you know that men who portrayed fathers on now-defunct TV shows actually target people who look vulnerable? While no one would imply that the countless victims of family-friendly TV patriarchs were “asking for it,” there are a few simple measures one can take to reduce the odds of becoming another statistic:
Point at a bystander and yell, “Somebody, Call a Talent Agency!”
If you are being attacked or feel you are in danger of being attacked by, say, Patrick Duffy of Step By Step, don’t hesitate to make a scene. Instead of shouting “Help!” it’s much more effective to be specific with your commands to witnesses. Try something like, “You, in the green cap! Sign up for an IMDB Pro account, look up and call this creep’s agent, and tell them Chuck Lorre wants him to audition for a new show tomorrow morning!” Your attacker will be reading sides with his assistant before he even realizes you escaped.
Travel in groups while walking near tacky mansions.
There’s strength in numbers. Rich actors who played dads in the 90s prey on lone women the way their tasteless lawn ornaments prey on their neighbor’s eyeballs. If you must travel through the Pacific Palisades or Palm Beach late at night, make sure to bring a few friends with you. There’s no telling what’s lurking behind the sandstone dolphin fountains; it could be danger in the form of Cybill’s Tom Wopat.
Aim for the eyes, nose, and ego.
When you come face to face with a man who once played a father on a three-camera situation comedy, remember to attack for the pressure points: eyes, nose, temples, current career status, throat, etc. Make a “duck” with your fingers and jut at his eyes while shouting, “Things haven’t gone so great for you since Sister Sister went off the air, have they, Tim Reid?” Then, run like hell while he gasps for air. Remember: The idea is to physically or emotionally incapacitate your attacker before he can victimize you.
Use your free limb to give his new album a low rating on iTunes.
If According to Jim’s Jim Belushi has you by the wrist, don’t make the mistake of trying to free that hand. You’ve got three free limbs with which to attack his delicate Internet fan base. Save the energy you would have expended yanking that arm away by tweeting, “So unfunny!” with your foot, elbow, or left hand. Nothing will knock the wind out of your attacker like a one-star review.
Avoid all hotels, convention centers, houses, and places where someone could conceivably hold an autograph signing for their tell-all memoir.
Try this safety test to determine if a location is safe: take an 8-by-10 glossy photo of yourself and try to sign your name. Did it work? Run. That location could potentially host a sad book signing for a former sitcom dad. It’d probably have a low turnout, giving that silver fox of the silver screen a need to restore his bruised ego. Places to avoid include four-star hotels, local bookstores, dimly lit comedy clubs, luxury car washes, catering halls, and anywhere that can hold one or more persons.
Be prepared to kill at a comedy club while recounting their crimes.
Let’s say that Bill Farmer, the voice behind the single dad at the center of Goof Troop, was accused of assault by 13 women. And let’s say you’re cornered by those rumors in a dark comedy club. Are you ready to kill with riffed material about the injustice of it all? Most women are afraid to think about whether or not they’d be willing to get on stage and craft biting and exposing jokes about their perpetrator, but it’s best to ask yourself if you’re ready to do the right thing when you come face-to-face with that microphone.
Whether you’re on a studio tour at Universal or simply walking down a dark alley, these sitcom dad violence prevention tips might just save your life.