Posted by ngrambo on June 19, 2011
To celebrate Father’s Day, we’ve compiled a list of TV’s best and worst dads. While these dads are completely fictitious, these men have had a heavy influence on the way Americans approach fatherhood. We’ve got representatives from the “aw shucks” 1950s dad to the bumbling idiot dad of the 21st Century.
TV’s Best Dads
Andy Taylor- The Andy Griffith Show
As a single dad, Sheriff Taylor did a fantastic job raising his son Opie. In every episode, Sheriff Andy taught his son and the rest of America one important lesson- do the right thing.
Not only did Andy teach little Opie important life lessons, he also made sure to spend plenty of time with him on fishin’ trips.
Sure, he is a poor example of physical health. Sure, he constantly abuses Bart through strangulation. But at the end of the day, the man would do anything for his kids. One of my favorite examples of this was when Homer, unbeknownst to Bart, acted like a robot so Bart could win the Robot war competition. In the process, Homer got bludgeoned and poked with sharp metal objects. Ah, the abiding and hilarious love of a father.
Hank Hill- King of the Hill
Hank Hill may just sell propane and propane accessories, but he’s the best damn propane seller in Heimlich County. Hank does a fantastic job of teaching his son Bobby the meaning of hard work, dedication, loyalty to friends and family, the importance of Dallas Cowboys football and Texas pride, and of course, the stupidity of political correctness.
Yeah, Bobby is awkward, and sometimes Hank is overly concerned about Bobby being a sissy, but he’s always there when Bobby needs him.
Steve Douglas- My Three Sons
My Three Sons was one of many dad sitcoms from the 1950s and 60s based around a widowed father raising their kids. Steve Douglas was an aeronautical engineer trying to raise three sons first in the Midwest and then in Los Angeles, California.
The show ran for 12 years and during that time, America saw Steve’s three sons move out, go to college, and get married. Raising well adjusted and successful family men definitely makes you a great dad.
Ward Cleaver- Leave It To Beaver
Ward Cleaver embodies the stereotypical 1950s dad. Ward might have been idealized, but that doesn’t mean men shouldn’t be inspired to be the kind of father he was. Ward Clever was a businessman that took his job as seriously as his family. Even when frustrated, the man hardly raised his voice.
He read Mark Twain to his sons. When he did give bad advice, (like telling the Beaver to get in a fight with a girl) Ward would admit his mistake and teach his sons a lesson in the process.
Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable- The Cosby Show
Cliff Huxtable was able to manage raising five kids while being a successful doctor. On top of that, he amassed the most awesome sweater collection in the history of TV fatherdom. Dr. Huxtable’s advice to his children was always based on common sense mixed with a wisecrack.
Dr. Huxtable taught his children that personal responsibility is the key to success in life. For example, even though his son, Theo, had dyslexia, Dr. Huxtable still expected him to excel in life and not use his learning disorder as an excuse.
Mike Brady- The Brady Bunch
Mike Brady, a widower, was faced with the challenge of integrating his three sons with another woman’s brood of three girls. He handled the situation by being both a strict disciplinarian and an empathetic guy. He had a home office/studio in his house so he could work part of the time at home, and even when he went to his real office, he came home around the time the kids returned from school.
He won “Father of the Year” on the show after Marcia submitted an essay in his praise to a newspaper. While clearly a stellar dad, Mike gets docked for abandoning his man haircut for a curly perm, and pulling a no-show for Greg’s high school graduation
Howard Cunningham- Happy Days
Mr. Cunningham (or “Mr. C.” as the Fonz lovingly called him) was not only the dad to Richie and Joanie Cunningham, but he also acted as a father figure for the Fonz (who Mr. C let move into the family garage), Ralph Malph, and Potsie.
He always laid down the law in his house. He was never his kids’ friend, but was always their loving authority figure. Although he loses points for not losing any sleep when his son Chuck disappeared in the second season, in general, Mr. C was a great dad.
Worst TV’s Dads
Tony Soprano- The Sopranos
Sure, Tony was able to provide for his family as a “garbage man,” but other than that, the guy was a lousy father. It’s tough to be raised by a professional criminal who knocks off people, including your boyfriend, with little remorse.
Tony cheated on his wife and had a strained relationship with his children. As a result, his kids suffered from some serious emotional issues.
Al Bundy- Married With Children
Al Bundy had no redeeming qualities. He was loser who wished he could go back to his high school days when he was a football star. Sitting on the couch with his hand in his pants, he doled out criticism to his family with apathetic aplomb.
He was stuck in a dead end job as a shoe salesman, and couldn’t even excel in that capacity. He was up to his ears in debt. His relationship with his kids was poor and his attitude toward women, including his wife, was deplorable. If you want a lesson on how not to be a man, watch Married with Children.
Archie Bunker- All in the Family
All in the Family was a critically acclaimed show that broke boundaries in regards to race, religion, and gender all thanks to Archie Bunker, the most bigoted old man in television history. Archie pretty much spent his entire time sitting in his living room chair spouting off racial epithets and calling his son-in-law “Meathead.”
While Archie started to soften up as the series progressed, he was still pretty much a racist jackass.
Peter Griffin- Family Guy
Peter Griffin is a lousy father. He makes fun of Chris, pays no attention to Stewie, and treats Meg like crap. His selling of Meg to pay off a debt at the local drug store is a perfect example of his failure as a dad. A father that sells his daughter into slavery deserves to be hit across the face with the baseball bat.
Of course, if that happened to Peter, it would be hilarious. And probably involve some kind of wacky TV sitcom flashback.
Gob Bluth- Arrested Development
Gob (pronounced like the Biblical character Job) works as a part-time magician and beauty contest judge. He was formally a male stripper, working as one of the “Hot Cops.” During one of Gob’s many one night stands during high school, he unknowingly fathered Steve Holt. Gob doesn’t find out that he’s Steve’s dad until Steve is a senior in high school.
Gob doesn’t know how to deal with this new found responsibility and Steve is surely disappointed that his long lost dad scoots about town on a Segway. On the upside, his magic show set to the tune of Europe’s ” The Final Countdown” is gold.
Sure, having a terrorist fighting bad ass for a father would be really cool in many ways. But his passion for his job has enormously detrimental effects on his family. Bauer’s job is to save American lives, but this puts the lives of his family at risk.
His own life is always in danger, he’s never at home, his wife Teri is killed, his daughter Kim is kidnapped several times, and her relationship with her dad is understandably strained.
Ray Barone- Everybody Loves Raymond
Ray is a good natured and funny guy, but definitely falls into the “incompetent man-child” stereotype currently dominating the airwaves. He’s not good at communicating, and cracks a joke instead of dealing with things seriously. He’s still tied to his mom’s apron strings and can’t confront her.
He’s not sure how to relate to her since she’s a girl and so buys her gifts to solve her problems or makes his wife deal with it.