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Pittsburgh Dad | Digital Culture

Posted by David Safin on Thu, Sep 25, 2014 @ 15:09 PM

Recently, the creators of the popular web series, Pittsburgh Dad, (Chris Preksta & Curt Wootton) visited my course, Digital Culture, which is an upper level Communication course that examines how the internet has changed the way society engages media. 

They discussed topics ranging from their backgrounds to the genesis of the show to what is next for them. It was a terrific evening, and I really appreciate the time the gave to my students.

Pittsburgh Dad Saint Vincent

In honor of their visit, I wanted to list my top five favorite episodes of Pittsburgh Dad. 

1. Kennywood

This is their magnum opus both in length and scope. It immaculately captures a day at Kennywood; a long day that moves too quickly. They brilliantly illustrate this feeling by showing a sweaty Pittsburgh Dad wrangling his family at the end of the night for his favorite ride, "the ride home." As he exits the park, we are reminded of the melancholy of leaving Kennywood, which signifies the end of every child's favorite season, summer. 

It is also an episode for which they engaged their community of followers for ideas. 

2. After Christmas

Their 11th episode finds them straying from the single location formula with Pittsburgh Dad jumping around the house in this tribute to post-Christmas malaise. This is their most tightly edited episode; Chris' razor-sharp edits emphasize Curt's machine gun-like quips over this fast-paced 1:47 video. 

3. Dad Yelling on the Answering Machine

This episode is an ingenious diversion from the formula in that we never see Pittsburgh Dad; we only hear him. As we learned in class, they had to produce this episode remotely because Curt was in Los Angeles at the time of filming. It is a classic example of a restriction inspiring creativity.

4. Jeffy-vision

Another diversion from the formula, this episode focuses on Jeffy, who serves as a Dennis the Menace to Pittsburgh Dad's Mr. Wilson. This episode shows a different side to both Jeffy and Pittsburgh Dad adding depth to their characters by literally showing life from Jeffy's point-of-view.

5. 4th of July

Another celebration of summer, this episode features my favorite line in Pittsburgh Dad history. It takes place at the 2-minute mark. Pittsburgh Dad scolds the kids for not throwing their used sparklers away without first dipping them into a coffee can filled with water. 

He emphasizes his point by demonstrating, "You dip it in." 


Topics: digital media

About the Authors

Michelle Gil-Montero is an associate professor of English and director of creative writing at Saint Vincent College. She runs the visiting writers series on campus, oversees the student literary magazine, and serves as guru to aspiring poets on campus. She received her MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2007, and she has been on the Saint Vincent faculty since that year. She is an active poet and literary translator from Spanish. She is spending part of the 2016-17 school year travelling to Argentina on a Howard Foundation fellowship and Fulbright grant. 

Dr. John J. Smetanka has been a member of the full-time faculty since 1997 and currently serves as the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean of Saint Vincent College, a position he has held since January 2008. Dr. Smetanka has taught courses in Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry and Geology as well as interdisciplinary seminars. He has published scientific research articles in physics and astrophysics journals, numerous conference proceedings and also works in science education reform and the interaction between science, technology and theology.

Jim Kellam is an associate professor of biology at Saint Vincent College and our resident ornithologist. He received his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2003, and is taking this semester as a sabbatical. What does that mean? He'll explain in his blog posts.

Dr. Michael J. Urick is Graduate Director of the Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence program, and Associate Professor of Management and Operational Excellence at the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics, and Government. Dr. Urick teaches courses related to organizational behavior, human resources, culture, leadership, diversity, conflict, supply chain, operations and research methods. Professionally, Urick serves on the board of the Institute for Supply Management (Pittsburgh) and belongs to the Society for Human Resource Management and APICS. For fun, Urick enjoys music and, since 1998, has led and performed with Neon Swing X-perience, a jazz band that has released multiple albums and toured portions of the US. He enjoys watching movies, is an avid reader of fantasy and science fiction, and also likes to fence.

David Safin, C'00, has been a lecturer in the communication department since the Fall of 2003, and has served in a variety of administrative roles since the summer of 2004. Currently, he teaches multimedia in the communication department as an assistant professor. 

Dr. Michael Krom received his Doctorate in philosophy at Emory University in 2007 and is currently the chair of the philosophy department at Saint Vincent. He has authored a book on religion and politics and continues to publish works in Catholic moral and political thought. Dr. Krom also directs the Faith and Reason summer program every summer. 

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