Father’s Day: TV Fathers

In conversation I had dropped I wanted to a blog post on my favorite movie dads. I love movies so it seemed relatively easy in theory. In reality it’s not because explaining why someone is a great dad is hard. My friends, Rachael and Kendall, brought up a good point: What about TV dads? 

We grew up in the 90s. The era of TGIF. Every Friday night we spent a few hours in front of the television with wholesome family programming. At the end of the episode there was something to be learned from a TV dad. Don’t get me wrong, real dads are better than TV dads, but there have been plenty of good and bad TV dads. We, after much discussion, narrowed down SIX TV dads to discuss for a little feature I like to call: Let’s Chat about…TV Dads.

First up,

Alan Matthews, Boy Meets World

Rachael: He always had the best advice for his sons. I wouldn’t say he’s the most notable (I can’t even remember his name), but he always seemed there for his family. He was a good dad overall.

Me: I have to admit I didn’t remember his name either. I remember his parenting though. He always had good advice even if it didn’t seem like it to Cory. For instance, the time he refused to help Cory and Topanga with a house after they got married. I really liked how he accepted Shawn as one of his own. Of course, any father who has to put up with Eric is a good one, right? Seriously, what the hell happened to Eric in the later seasons? 

Phil Dunphy, Modern Family

Rachael: He is semi-clueless, but always has good intentions. He’s a self professed “cool dad.” Does anyone else think it’s weird he does those orange juice commercials?

Me: I love that he was professing his thoughts on being a cool dad and then proceeded to do a dance from High School Musical. He’s strange, but it’s endearing and funny. I mean I don’t know what more there is to say about him. He has the best puns, and he said “Luke, I am your father” when his son was born. Doesn’t that automatically make anyone a good dad?

Jack Arnold, The Wonder Years

Rachael: He’s probably the closest representation of a dad of all these dads. I feel like he was the typical middle class dad from the 1960s/1970s.

Me: Jack Arnold is most like my dad out of any of these dads. He was stern the way most fathers are. He really yelled at Kevin and Wayne when they were fighting. They didn’t have a sit down discussion where they talked out their feelings. He went to work, came home, ate dinner, and never said much, but when they acted up they knew they were in trouble. It’s more realistic to real family life in the 1960s and even now. Didn’t he quit is office job to sell handcrafted furniture with Wayne?

The men of Arrested Development

Rachael: None of them will ever win Father of the Year except maybe Michael. He is borderline obsessed with George Michael. GOB receives a job from his son and doesn’t even show up on the first day. Tobias always forgets he has a daughter. George Sr. was a shady man who always tries to control his family.

Me: No, none of them will win Father of the Year. Michael has the best intentions for George Michael, but he never listens to him. He did give George Michael the job of Mr. Manger though. No one would do that unless they are confident in their son, or just trying to shape them into something they don’t want. GOB didn’t even know he had a son for awhile, and couldn’t even remember what he looked like years later when he ran into him. To be fair, he probably just thought Steve Holt was an illusion. I do love that Tobias can never remember he has a daughter or even how old she is. The blue paint could have an effect on that. George Sr. I don’t even know what to say, but he did teach everyone one thing: There’s always money in the banana stand. 

Don Draper, Mad Men

Hey, we could pick (almost) all good fathers now could we?

Rachael: Ironically, the only episode I have seen was when he takes his son to see Planet of the Apes because he gets in trouble by his mom. SOLID PARENTING

Me: Haha, I did love that he did that. Not only once though he let him watch it twice, but there was a moment after that were he looked at Bobby in wonder. The kind of wonder parents get when they are trying to find out where the hell these kids learned the things they learn. Don may not be the best parent, but let’s be honest, he’s more into women than he is kids. At times he’s a surprising parent though like when he went to Bobby’s summer camp and was singing Bobby’s new favorite song with him. It was strange and touching to see Don almost say, “what the hell” and join in. There are more bad moments for Don as a parent, but so bad they almost become funny. Sally better start to get smart to his shit.

Danny Tanner, Full House

Rachael: My favorite dad probably because I would always tell my mom she was just like him. I will mostly remember him for his obsessive cleaning and squeaky clean lifestyle.

Me: Danny is the best dad, but in the most unrealistic way. No one just sits down and has a chat about their feelings all the time. His girls, who he claimed he needed help with raising, were way too well behaved. For someone so neat and tidy, please tell me how the same photos hung in the kitchen for a million years? I did enjoy how he loved to clean (we are a family of clean freaks), but it wasn’t funny how they always took jabs at how uncool he was. Remember the time he dated a college student? That was freaking weird. Danny went to a lot a trouble for his kids, maybe not as much as the three men put together like the time they went to get the Mighty Super kids fortress thing. He always had valuable advice for the kids, and everyone learned a lesson at the end of the show. Will there be a reunion soon? 

So, there you have it. Some of our favorite TV dads. We could have gone on forever, but these dads taught us some pretty cool lessons.

  • Things aren’t always easy in the real world. – Alan Matthews
  • You only get one chance at a first impression. I suggest Julia Child because it’s easy to do. – Phil Dunphy
  • It’s not easy being a hero. – Jack Arnold
  • Have you ever been on a plane you piece of sh*t? – Michael Bluth
  • People tell you who they are, but we ignore it – because we want them to be who we want them to be. – Don Draper
  • Bruce Springsteen is the boss. – Danny Tanner