Television Top Trumps - Henry Allen vs Mitch Leery

John Wesley Shipp keeps popping up on our screens as Henry Allen, father of Barry "The Flash" Allen, in The Flash (shocking, that.) But this isn’t the first time he’s been a TV patriarch; no, Mr Shipp loves to play televisual dads. Those readers who had too much angst in the late 90s may well recognise him as Mitch Leery, father of the not at all irritating Dawson in Dawson’s Creek. But whose dad would win a fight?

OFFSPRING

Mitch: One son, Dawson, who’s supposed to be kind of exceptional. Because he loves films, and big words, and Joey Potter. Although he’s not always that sure about that last one. Maybe he loves Jen instead. Nope, it’s Joey. Always Joey. Except when it’s not. There’s also that daughter Lily, but she’s just a baby who’s there as a plot device, so no points for her. 5/10

Henry: One son, Barry, who’s supposed to be kind of normal. Except that he’s the fastest man on earth, and spends his time zipping around saving people from MetaHumans (that’s monsters to most people) whilst pretending to be kind of normal. He’s definitely not in love with Joey Potter, though. 9/10

INSPIRATIONAL TALKS

Mitch: Dawson must’ve got his overinflated sense of self-worth from somewhere, and it’s likely from dad Mitch. He’s a man who believes in his son so much that when said son drops out of film school Mitch gives him an almighty bollocking about wasting his potential. Which is a different take on the inspirational talk. One that brings lots of guilt, and self-loathing. Maybe that didn’t work so well. 4/10

Henry: So good at inspirational talks that they bring him back from his mystery other location just so he can be all inspiring at a floundering Barry. Running like a normal human instead of the fastest one ever? Henry’s incredibly speeches can fix that. 10/10

CAREER

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Mitch: While Dawson is going to be a superstar filmmaker, Mitch can’t seem to work out what to do with himself. Does he want to run a restaurant? Does he want to be a football coach? Does he want to be a guidance counselor? Who knows? Clearly it hasn’t occurred to anyone at Capeside High that having someone who doesn’t know what to do with themselves working as guidance counselor may not be great, but that’s their fault, not Mitch’s. 5/10

Henry: Super-duper high-flying doctor man. Until he’s not anymore, due to a sudden career change where he becomes a prisoner instead. It’s not quite every doctor’s dream, that one. 5/10

CHARMING WIFE

Mitch: Oh Mitch, you poor, bumbling fool. He appears to be the only man in Capeside not to realise that his newsreader wife Gail is banging her co-anchor. Or that having an open marriage is a bad idea. Still, they sort things out in the end and get married again, because Gail really does seem like a keeper. 4/10

Henry: We don’t know much about Henry’s wife, except that he loved her and she’s dead. But, y’know, she seems pretty good from the brief flashbacks we’ve had. And as far as we know she’s not been sleeping with any co-workers. 8/10

TERRIBLE MISFORTUNE

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Mitch: The unluckiest man in Capeside suffers a fate that’s so stupid I briefly wondered if I’d hallucinated it. For he drops his ice cream while driving, and then gets into a fatal car crash. Because of an ice cream. Death by ice cream. That’s really heroic. 2/10

Henry: In a terrible miscarriage of justice Henry gets sent to jail for murdering his wife, because no-one believes that it was a time-travelling streak of light that did it. Admittedly, it’s not the most solid of alibis, but it turns out to be true. So Henry misses out on his son’s teen years because he’s in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. 10/10

CASTING IN-JOKES

Mitch: None. None at all. He’s even an age-appropriate casting choice, which is disappointing in the extreme. 0/10

Henry: Oh, how the internet got excited when John Wesley Shipp was cast, for he himself played the Flash. Albeit a rather more muscular Flash than the current incarnation, but hey, it’s all funny, right? 10/10

THE VERDICT

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There’s barely any battle in it; Henry beats Mitch to a pulp with 52 to Mitch’s 20. He didn’t even need to call on his superhero son.

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