In honor of Father’s Day, I decided I would put together a top ten list of my favorite TV dads. Trust me, some of the dads on this list will never win “father of the year”, but they make up for it by being memorable and at times, hilarious. Most importantly, however, they are always entertaining.
10. Randy Marsh, South Park – Stan’s dimwitted father always seems to overreact during certain circumstances or wanting to join in on the latest fad, it is this trait that makes me like him so much. Whether it’s wanting to join his son and his friends as they play World of Warcraft and being ultimately denied, attempting to prevent his son from joining a boy band (because of his previous role in one), or just wanting to ‘friend’ his son on Facebook, Randy obviously means well, even if he is a dingbat.
9. Tim Taylor, Home Improvement – At work, he was accident prone and needed “more power” for his tools, but at home, Tim Taylor was a pretty good father and husband. He came down hard on Brad when he found out his bag of marijuana, he was there for support for his wife and son Randy when they weren’t sure if Randy had cancer, and at one point, helped youngest son Mark get back at his brothers for messing with him. Of course, the words of wisdom from his neighbor Wilson, probably helped out a bit.
8. Danny Tanner, Full House – Being a single father raising three girls would have been quite the challenge if he had not had the help of his brother in law Jesse and friend Joey, but Danny Tanner managed to raise them right. Sure, he was a little quirky and he loved to clean, but despite any problems his daughters might have been facing, Danny was always there for reassurance and guidance, as is the norm for a half hour corny family sitcom.
7. Jack Arnold, The Wonder Years – Kevin, Wayne and Karen’s father was a stern, hard working, conservative man with quite the temper, but would do anything to help or support his family. Sure, there were times when he would disagree on certain things involving his children (especially with his daughter), but his wife Norma was always there to help him see the bigger picture. Jack Arnold possessed many admirable qualities, which Kevin saw and ultimately respected.
6. Phil Dunphy, Modern Family – Phil is the “cool dad”, the lovable doofus of a father who just wants to bond with his children by acting like them. While he is considered to have a juvenile attitude, there have been moments where he has shined as a father: he has had a father-daughter bonding moment with his middle child, Alex; he has helped his oldest daughter get over her fear of going to college, and he’s always around to play with his son Luke, whether it’s shooting BB guns at each other or pulling pranks.
5. Alan Matthews, Boy Meets World – Alan Matthews is a traditional, hard working father of four whose role as the head of the household has lead him to doling out responsibilities to his kids, especially his two sons Cory and Eric, as he wants them to go further in life than he ever did. He is always there to offer advice and even turned Cory away when he and his new wife Topanga, were having difficulties searching for home and were asking for help – all because he wanted his son to learn the value of responsibility. He even offered to adopt Cory’s best friend, Shawn, at one point as he views him as a son. Don’t forget, this is the guy who managed to survive his son Eric, that alone is worthy of inclusion.
4. Al Bundy, Married with Children – Of all the fathers on this list, Al Bundy is probably the one who is the most miserable and for that, I thank him. Yes, he is very vocal about his resentment towards his family which consists of his lazy wife Peg, sexy bimbo daughter Kelly, and horn dog son, Bud but despite all this, deep down inside still loves them, even if he doesn’t want to be around them. There’s a reason why he is still selling women’s shoes, a job he hates, as well as putting up with his annoying neighbors, Marcy and Jefferson (and previously Steve). He’s miserable, but his misery is our entertainment.
3. Cliff Huxtable, The Cosby Show – Come on, Cliff Huxtable was easily one of the best fathers in television history. He raised five children, four of them girls and he managed to keep himself sane through it all. His demeanor towards his kids was soft and accessible yet he managed to maintain a firmness towards teaching them responsibilities. It also didn’t hurt that he was capable of being a silly goof ball at times. His ability to teach his kids while still being funny is easily one of his best qualities, as you can see in this clip below:
2. Red Forman, That ’70s Show – Red Forman gives new meaning to the term, “tough love”. His approach at raising his two children was vastly different, he seemingly let his daughter, Laurie, get away with a lot more than his son, Eric, who he came down on constantly. His no-nonsense gruff attitude was a great contrast to the fun, crazy antics that Eric and his friends would get into (not to mention his wife, Kitty’s, demeanor). Despite this, Red did love his son and to an extent, loved the rest of Eric’s friends, he just would never admit it, and who can forget Red’s motto of putting his foot up his son’s ass?
1. Homer Simpson, The Simpsons – Now Homer will probably never win “father of the year”, but he does have a big heart. Sure, he would much rather lounge around the house eating and drinking beer than doing things with his kids, but when he has to, he’s always there for his kids and usually means well. He entered Lisa in the Little Miss Springfield pageant to prove to her that she is beautiful (even giving up a ride on the Duff Blimp to pay for the entry fee), he jumped Springfield Gorge to prevent Bart from doing so (and falling in the process), and all of Maggie’s baby pictures are at work, “where he needs them most”. For all his missteps in parenting, he makes up for by being there for his children no matter what.