RATING THE TV DADS
A FATHER'S DAY TRIBUTE TO THE BEST DADS IN TV HISTORY

OK, it's not a complete guide, but it's a pretty thorough look at some of the fathers, good and bad, from the history of television.  No matter how screwed up your own father was, you could always count on at least one or two dads out there who were better than yours.  Unless of course you had no dads.  But in the case of Paul Reiser and Greg Evigan, 2 dads weren't really better than none.  I'll also add that I like the fathers from "Family Ties" and "Father Knows Best", but couldn't think of anything clever to say about them.  (And before you say it, I'll just add "There's nothing very clever about the ones you wrote either!"...there!)


Andy Taylor "The Andy Griffith Show"

Andy was one of the all around great dads of all TV history.  Sure, he had a bit of help from Aunt Bea (someone had to cook and clean the dishes), but as a single dad who was also sheriff of Mayberry, he always had plenty of quality time for little Opie.  Sure, he didn't do such a good job with his other son, Clint, but nobody could have for that matter.


Charles Ingalls from "Little House on The Prairie"

Definitely the hardest working father on TV. With 3 girls at home, he didn't have many sources of testosterone, which would explain why he'd take crazy jobs away from town a lot, but he was always a pretty cool guy with a good heart.  Even when he died and was on "Highway to Heaven", he was still cool.


Ward Cleaver from "Leave it to Beaver"

Nicknaming your son "Beaver" is a bit strange, but Ward was always one of my favorites.  He had great advice for the boys, and was fairly patient, but slow burning almost lack of restraint that made him most impressive.  Unlike most TV dads of the era, Ward would get pissed from time to time and look as if he wanted to slap the shit out of The Beav.  A fun fact:  In the long running show, never once did you learn what Ward actually did for a living.


Mike Brady from "The Brady Bunch"

Good ol' Mike.  Perhaps even too good.  But any guy who can have 6 kids in the house without killing them all in their sleep in a fit of rage is doing something right.


Mr. Cunningham from "Happy Days"

He did a pretty damn good job when he raised Richie, but not even his expert fatherly advice could keep Joanie away from the dirty mitts of Scott Baio.  And I don't know what bad blood he had with his eldest son, Chuck, but he never bothered coming home again the first chance he had to leave the nest.


Fred Flintstone

Perhaps one of TV's angriest fathers, but a great hard working provider, nonetheless.  Pebbles grew up to be a pretty fine girl, so I suppose he did OK.  


Steve Douglas from "My Three Sons"

Another great single dad of TV.  Though Ernie was a big fuckup, who went on to kill several of his classmates on the now infamous "Ernie Fucks Up and Kills his Classmates" episode, but 2 out of 3 ain't bad.


Edward Stratton III from "Silver Spoons"

Though his parenting skills were suspect, he had a ton of cool arcade games for Ricky Schroeder to play with and he got to fuck Erin Gray, so he's aces in my book!


Archie Bunker from "All In The Family"

Not one of the better dads, or husbands either, for that matter.  You'd think he would have given Sally Struthers some better nutrition tips when she was younger to keep her from ballooning up to 600 pounds.


Ozzy Osbourne from "The Osbournes"

Ozzy used to be cool before you had to see his hag wife and retarded kids on TV every week.  I think he would have gained some cred with his fans if he just bit all their heads off one night, and burned their corpses in the living room.  


Homer Simpson from "The Simpsons"

Sure, he's funny, but Homer's gotta be one of the worst TV dads of them all.  His heart's in the right place, and he certainly tries hard, but just seems incapable of adding much useful guidance.  There are time when you think he'd trade his entire family for beer if he could.  But then again, who wouldn't?


Al Bundy from "Married With Children"

If you're a dad on a FOX TV show, you're pretty much guaranteed to suck.  Al's expert parenting ended up producing a hooker and a loser.  Though I guess supporting your family on a shoe salesman's salary isn't the smartest thing in the world, either.


Mr. Drummond from "Diff'rent Strokes"

Millions of dollars don't make you a good dad.  His lack of guidance caused Todd Bridges to become a murderer, Dana Plato to pose for Playboy and kill herself.  And even though he had more cash than most governments, he made poor Gary Coleman get a job as a security guard and write for UGO.


Tony Soprano from "The Sopranos"

On the surface, this Mafia crime boss is a truly shitty father, but his daughter Meadow ended up just fine and his son AJ actually deserves Tony's occasional smacks no the head.  Plus, he gave his daughter a swell SUV that he got from her boyfriend's family as payment on a gambling debt, so he's Father of the Year in my book.


Lt. Worf from "Star Trek The Next Generation"

Though he was there for a bit for his son Alexander (played by the annoying "New Kid" from the last year of "Family Ties"), Worf pretty much abandoned him to go work on Deep Space Nine, leaving Wesley Crusher and a gay Ferengi to raise him.  

Dr. Mark Greene from "E.R."

He's dead, what good is he as a father anymore?  Of course while he was alive his daughter was a total junkie and his baby ate ecstasy pills, so I suppose they're better off without him in the long run.

-Robert Berry
rberry@retrocrush.com

 


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