George Somogyi says he and his 17-year-old daughter Rianna bond by sharing a “biting, sardonic sense of humor of the Monty Python variety” … so in honor of that, he purchased a seemingly offensive ad in Rianna’s senior yearbook without telling her. And Rianna loves it! “It’s just the way my dad and I communicate,” she explained.
Laced with pictures of his daughter making funny faces and words describing her as a “complete waste of valuable space,” the $500 controversial ad that appears in the back of the high school yearbook that is causing a ruckus amongst students, teachers and parents, was intended to be a prank, according to dad.
“When you look at the line ‘voted most likely to staple her eyelids closed’ or the play on words ‘bright as a 3-watt bulb,’ it absolutely astounds me that people don’t think, ‘Oh, wow, that’s funny. I see the joke,’ ” George told LagunaNiguel.Patch.com. “It is so clearly not serious in its intent that you have to wonder about the motivations of those who try to cast it as the sadistic ramblings of an estranged father.”
Sorry George … we don’t see the joke.
Read more below:
Not Everyone’s Laughing
Principal Charles Salter said he had gotten several emails about the ad. “All I can say is this is a personal ad,” Salter said. “I guess everybody has their opinion of what’s appropriate and what’s not appropriate. I can tell you that this isn’t an estranged dad, someone who is out of contact with his children. All that stuff that people are saying, well there’s always rumors, and people don’t usually have the facts.”
The motivation for the prank, Somogyi explained, is his and his daughter’s “disdain for the sappy ads that many parents take out for their children each year.”
“My daughter and I share a biting, sardonic sense of humor of the Monty Python variety. It is something that bonds us,” he said. “And we spend time at the end of every school year laughing at the often sickly sweet yearbook ads parents write to their children.”
A Special Bond
He said that far from being a mean-spirited act, the yearbook entry he wrote is affirmation of that bond, expressed through humor.
As to why Somogyi didn’t add an “LOL” or “just kidding” at the end of the ad, he explained, “Because a handful of people are going to think this is real, and I thought that would be very funny. I had no idea it was going to be like this. But more important than any of this is that my daughter thinks it is funny. It wasn’t meant for anyone else. And if you are angry and bent out of shape about this ad, you walked right into being the butt of our joke. To those people I say, ‘Thank you—you proved our point.’ ”
He does however, have some regrets: He wishes he had chosen different photos, as his daughter is a bit sensitive about pictures of herself and may have found them embarrassing.
Rianna agreed, to an extent. “When I first saw the ad, all I saw was the pictures, and I thought, ‘Oh, my God, I’m going to kill him.’ But then I read the writing, and I just thought, ‘OK, this is funny!’ and I was OK with it,” Rianna said.
Mom Is Not Happy
Her father also wishes that he had written, ‘From your loving father,’ at the end so that those who read it would know that this was a father’s prank and not a mean-spirited prank from a classmate, as some readers have assumed.
Rianna’s mother, Karin Somogyi, who had no idea about the ad until after it was distributed, said, “I feel horrible for all of the parents who put beautiful ads in for their own children. I kept thinking, ‘Thank goodness it was on the last page, but then I saw the picture of the two students on the flip side. I realize that they couldn’t just tear out that page if they didn’t like it. I feel sorry for everyone who found it offensive.”
The yearbook’s editor and teacher, Lori Smith, was also surprised by the content of the ad and contacted Rianna before the yearbook was distributed for her approval.
“I was talking to some people, and they said, ‘Yeah, if it had just said at the bottom, ‘Just kidding, you’re great. Love, Dad,’ it would have been OK. I didn’t see it before it was printed. I just saw it the night before we distributed it, and I thought the same thing everybody else was thinking: ‘Holy cow,’ ” Smith said.
Then she called the ad company, as well as Rianna, and everybody was fine, she said.
“I talked to her and offered to not distribute the yearbook and publish stickers over the ad.
“She said, ‘No, it’s just the way my dad and I communicate,’ ” Smith said.
Just a Play on Words
As to those who are calling this emotional abuse, Rianna wants to nip that idea in the bud.
“You can’t just pass those kind of judgments from this tiny little ad in the yearbook, when those people clearly don’t know me or me dad,” she said. “Anyone that doesn’t recognize that this is a joke does not know my family.”
Rianna’s father said he doesn’t really feel the need to defend himself.
“I am not even going to try and defend myself by stating how much I love my daughter. I could have been that banal in the yearbook ad,” he said.
But he is losing some sleep over the wrath that Smith is receiving.
“I heard that the yearbook teacher is getting a lot of heat over this. My younger daughter heard someone say she should be fired,” Somoygi said. “This is totally outrageous. I never dealt with the yearbook teacher. I went straight to the yearbook company. This teacher did nothing to hurt anyone.”
Rianna said that although the ad itself was not hurtful—albeit somewhat embarrassing—the reactions of those who tried to comfort her were.
“I’d much rather people join the joke and be making fun of me and how I look than to say those types of things. My dad and I are really close. He’s one of my best friends.”
This dad and daughter duo have one straaaaaange relationship. Someone should really keep an eye on these two.