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I guess I just like liking things

This dad.... he's not my kind of dad.

This dad…. he’s not my kind of dad.

This past Sunday was Father’s Day here in the US, so it seems like the perfect time to whip up a “Favorite TV Dads” list. I meant to do a list of TV Moms for Mother’s Day, and I’m not sure what happened there, so I just made this list longer.

17. Jed Clampett (The Beverly Hillbillies) – TV dads run the gamut from bumbling to all-wise. Jed is the epitome of laid-back knowledgeable country folk. Not much ruffles him.

16. Andy Taylor (The Andy Griffith Show) – Who was wiser and nice than Sheriff Andy?

15. Harold Weir (Freaks & Geeks) – World-weary, realistic, and comfortable with who he is.

14. Bernie Mac (The Bernie Mac Show) – Try sass-talking him and see what happens to you.  Go on, try it.

13. Tony Soprano (The Sopranos) – Hey, I didn’t say this was a “dads you’d want as yours” list. He’s the head of two families and he serves as a good example on how not to run either of them I think.

12. Burt Hummel (Glee) / Steven Keaton (Family Ties) – You might never see this pairing anywhere else, but I think both of these TV dads are good examples of how to parent a child who has turned out differently than maybe you wanted or expected. A good dad loves and protects his kids, whether they’re Republican, gay, or Mallory.

11. Frank Costanza /Morty Seinfeld (Seinfeld) – Both entertaining in completely different ways (“I’ve got a lot of problems with you people” vs. “My wallet’s gone!).

10. Seeley Booth (Bones) – Granted, the show seems to only bring up his kids when it needs some extra drama here and there, but when you say “protective father” I think Booth.

9. Willie Tanner (ALF) – Okay, listen: no Dad of the Year candidate is going to harbor a crazy, possibly-dangerous space alien in his home around his kids, wife, and cat. No one’s better at the frustrated slow burn than Willie Tanner, though, so maybe there’s awards for that.

8. Howard Cunningham (Happy Days) – Another wise dad. Funny how the better father-son relationship was him and Fonzie, not him and Richie.

7. Jonathan Kent (Smallville) – Nature vs. nurture: would Superman be Superman if he hadn’t had a Pa Kent? Go read Red Son for one possible answer to that. There’s no denying Jonathan Kent helped shape the Superman we know, though.

6. Perry Cox (Scrubs) – Sure, he’s got a tough exterior, but the minute his son gets sick, Perry’s all breaking protocol and interrupting the pediatrician and kidnapping his puppets.

5. Michael Bluth (Arrested Development) – Is there a good dad on this show?  They’re all pretty bad at their jobs, but that’s most likely what makes them so entertaining.

4. Hal (Malcolm in the Middle) – Man, he just wants to be good at whatever it is he’s doing, and in the process he’s going to enjoy the fire out it. Seemingly hen-pecked, he and Lois actually make a pretty good team, though one might argue they’re not very good at parenting — their kids are pretty rotten.

3. Splinter (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) – Adoptive dads for the win! Now, granted, if you adopt four kids maybe you shouldn’t train them up to be ninja vigilantes, but if those four kids happen to be turtles mutated by some sort of ooze maybe you don’t have many options. Besides, Splinter taught them the meaning of family in ways Tim Taylor (Home Improvement) could only dream of.

2. Homer Simpson (The Simpsons) – Sure, he’s terrible (“I have three kids and no money. Why can’t I have no kids and three money?”), but he loves his family even though he’s an idiot. He’s an inspiration to us all.

1. Cliff Huxtable (The Cosby Show) – Wise but human; one step ahead of you and easily foiled, all at the same time. There has never been a better TV dad and I doubt there ever will.



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