As quickly as the video of hapless professor Robert Kelly and his children went viral, so too did reactions. Amid the guffaws came sympathy, chagrin, and—predictably— a dollop of outrage. However you view parenting, working, and gender, it was all reflected in the online reaction to the Kelly family drama.
For parents who have tried to work from home while juggling toddlers (full disclosure: I’m one of them), the laughter came with knowing nods. I’ve been there, too. We exchanged war stories with colleagues about our own work-from-home disasters, when crying babies interrupt conference calls, or toddlers answer the phone and announce what was in their diaper.
Kelly’s attempt to forge on with his interview exposed, hilariously, the double identity many of us attempt—the cool professional at work masking the barely-holding-it-together parent at home.
For the legions of telecommuters and gig-economy freelancers, Kelly’s cobbled-together home office, with its precariously-hung map, and books stacked on the guest bed, looked very familiar. There was also a widespread understanding about why he didn’t spring up to usher out his children:
Some viewers fixated on his daughters’s swaggering entrance:
For some, however, there was some tut-tutting about Kelly’s brusqueness in shoving his daughter out of the way:
And a possible double standard if it was a mother being interviewed:
There was commentary about the initial assumption that the woman rushing in to rescue Kelly was his nanny, rather than his wife, and what it says about how we view interracial marriages.
Some viewers declared they could find no humor in the piece because its depiction of the father working while a mother chases after the children is “patriarchy in a nutshell.”
And, of course, with the hot takes and think pieces came reactions to the hot takes and think pieces: