In the fast-paced modern age there will always be a generation gap between parents and their children. Wait Till Your Father Gets Home was made during a time in American history when social upheaval and cultural activism were arguably at their height (or at least it was made near the end of that era), and so the concept of the series—which explored the clash between a hard working conservative father and his new age liberal kids—was highly relevant to the time period in which it was made, even if the concept was far outside the scope of Hanna-Barbera Studio’s usual fare.
Harry Boyle had traditional, conservative views about life, family and responsibility. He worked long hours as the president of Boyle’s Restaurant Supplies, and provided a good home for his wife and children. Irma Boyle—Harry’s wife and mother of their three children—was a full time housewife who was generally content in her role and always supportive of her husband and kids. Their eldest son Chet was a 22 year old, unemployed college graduate who lived at home. He was a loafer with no ambition or direction in life. When pressured by his father to get a job (which was a common theme on the show) Chet claimed he needed time to “find himself” and that he was a “thinker, not a worker.” His favorite pastimes were playing guitar and visiting the ghetto to give motivational pep talks to the underprivileged. 15 year-old, middle child Alice had a weight problem. She tried dieting, but never appeared overly self-conscious or concerned by her weight. Like Chet, most of her views were in accordance with those of the hippie culture. Youngest son Jamie was the polar opposite of his two siblings. At 9 years of age he was already an ambitious capitalist who took every opportunity to gain money.
The family neighbored Ralph Kane, an obsessive conspiracy theorist who was perpetually on the lookout for communists. Ralph was the leader of a group of like-minded individuals calling themselves ‘Vigilante Company B’, who actively investigated what they considered non-establishment activities and people in order to expose their communistic plots. Perhaps even more fanatical than Ralph was his “Sergeant” Sara Whittaker, who was as ornery as she was old (which was in both cases ‘very’). Harry was constantly exposed to Ralph’s wild points of view and random suspicions, but he just shrugged them off and told Ralph that he was crazy. Though seemingly insurmountable, the two didn’t let their differences affect their friendship, except for the few times that Ralph became suspicious of someone in the Boyle household for engaging in an activity he deemed sympathetic to the communist cause (which could be almost anything).
For three seasons Harry struggled to temper the new age ideals of Chet and Alice with real-life pragmatism. He met with success a good deal of the time, but success can be fleeting and all too temporary—a lesson that Harry Boyle was to learn again and again.