The All-Time Best (and Worst) TV Dads
by Brett & Kate McKay
Art of Manliness
Fathers Day, weve compiled a list of TVs best
and worst dads. While these dads are completely fictitious, these
men have had a heavy influence on the way Americans approach fatherhood.
Weve got representatives from the aw shucks 1950s
dad to the bumbling idiot dad of the 21st Century. Did we miss a
dad you think should have been on the list? Got a beef with the
ones that made the list? Make yourself heard in the comments.
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.
put Homer on the worst TV dad list because hes a perfect example
of televisions now ubiquitous portrayal of the bumbling idiot
dad. But I had a change of heart. 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.
of the Hill
Hank Hill may
just sell propane and propane accessories, but hes 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 hes always there
when Bobby needs him.
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 Steves three sons move out,
go to college, and get married. Raising well adjusted and successful
family men definitely makes you a great dad.
It To Beaver
embodies the stereotypical 1950s dad. Ward might have been idealized,
but that doesnt mean men shouldnt 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.
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. Huxtables 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. If only more dads were like Dr. Huxtable.
the patriarch of this almost perfect 1950s family, was a successful
insurance agent at work and a fantastic dad at home. Jim always
ended each episode by teaching his children some important moral
lesson. The show is a bit campy and isnt a reflection of what
real family life is like, but Jim Anderson is definitely a refreshing
portrayal of an American dad when all you see these days are a bunch
of dopey fathers on TV.
The Brady Bunch
a widower (another widower!), was faced with the challenge of integrating
his three sons with another womans 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 Gregs high school
Of all the
best TV dads on this list, Eric Camden is the only one who was introduced
in the last ten years. Eric was a father to seven children and a
minister at a local church where he spent time helping churchgoers
and troubled teens. Each episode took on some moral lesson that
Erics family had to deal with directly or indirectly. Issues
like alcoholism, pre-marital sex, and self injury were dealt with
on a regular basis. Eric was a good example of a father trying to
keep his kids on the right path in a world thats constantly
telling them to go down the wrong one.
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© 2011 The Art of Manliness