When I watched Mrs. Doubtfire as a child, I totally sided with Daniel Hillard. In fact I sided with him so hard that I hated Sally Field for years to come. “What an uptight bitch,” I thought whenever I saw her in that movie and ANYTHING ELSE. But then, upon a recent rewatch, I realized that she was completely in the right. And that Daniel’s a horrible father. So let’s take a trip back in time to this movie so that you too can see that he’s the worst.
The movie kicks off with Daniel getting fired from his job for not wanting to do it. I think you’re supposed to view this as a sign that he’s a creative genius trapped inside of a corporate drone. But instead I see him as a stuck-up “artist” who thinks he’s too good for the cartoons he’s voicing. Um, dude, someone’s paying you to make silly voices all day long. So you can tie that high horse up at the door and come on in to reality if you’d like.
But Daniel’s too good for a job so he happily leaves it, picks up his kids at school and throws his son Chris a wild birthday party on a week night. And its literally wild. There are farm animals everywhere. I’m sorry, but what kind of party is this? No, really? Where did these animals come from and WHY ARE THEY IN THE HOUSE? The neighbor, who’s supposed to be a total c-word, calls up Miranda at work to complain that the animals are eating her flowers. Which, looking back, is a totally valid complaint. So Miranda’s forced to leave her job (bear in mind, this is now the family’s sole source of income) and come and clean up her husband’s mess. As she cleans up from the petting zoo that was in her house, she realizes that her husband’s an overgrown child incapable of making rational decisions and promptly divorces him. Which, like her neighbor’s phone call to her, is completely and 100% valid.
Because Miranda’s proven herself to be the responsible parent, the judge gives her primary custody of the kids. Even though Daniel really, really loves them. From the second they were born! Miranda’s like, “bitch puhlease, I love them too. I love them so much that I don’t risk their health by bringing a farm into our house.” The judge, realizing that Daniel’s completely unfit to be around his own children, throws an extra requirement into the mix if he wants custody– he needs to get a job.
So he does. In fact he gets two. The first one’s as some kind of shipping assistant at a TV production company. Which is boring, but that’s what happens when you get fired from your job as a cartoon voice actor. People aren’t clamoring for you to work for them. The second job is as his children’s nanny. That’s right. In effort to prove that he’s a good father, Daniel transforms into an elderly lady and applies for the job as his children’s nanny. Hijinks ensue as he proves to be a much better housekeeper/nanny than he ever was as a husband. Miranda loves him! The kids love him! Everything’s going great!
Until Chris walks into the bathroom one day and see Mrs. Doubtfire peeing standing up. Five minutes of transgender shaming later, we see Daniel explaining to his two older children that he felt forced to do this because he loves them. Which will surely be a great jumping off point for them in therapy down the road. “You know that thing where your Dad loves you so much that he violates a court order and impersonates an elderly lady just so that he can see you? Yeah, my dad did that.”