Monday, June 25, 2012

My Six Favourite TV Dads

I remember once during a media class in college, my teacher was trying to make the argument that Homer Simpson had introduced an era of "dim-witted fathers" on television and since Homer's arrival, almost every father depicted on a TV show was either a jerk, an idiot, or a well-meaning but still clueless imbecile. Being a TV-fanatic, I was appalled at the suggestion. I instantly thought of at least 10 upstanding dads from shows I watched growing up, and I have to say, I absolutely loved the stumped look on my teacher's face when I raised my hand and named them one by one.

The landscape of television is home to all kinds of dads (and moms, for that matter). Yes, some are stupid, like the Homers and the Peter Griffins. Yes, some are hopeless but still loveable, like Tim the "Toolman" Taylor or Ray Barone. Some are dicks who are funny but we wouldn't exactly wish they were our dads, like Red Foreman or Hank Moody. And some are just fucking scary - seriously, nobody should have to suffer through being the child of Benjamin Linus or Dan Scott. One stole a baby for 18 years and then basically dared a mad-man to shoot her at point-blank range (which he did), and the other knocked up and abandoned his high school sweetheart, knocked up his college flame less than six months later and chose to raise that son, like, down the fucking street from the other son he refused to acknowledge, and then some 18 years later, shot the father of his original baby mama's infant daughter (who also happened to be his own brother).

But just like in real life, you can't let the crazy mofo's distract you from the fact that there are a ton of amazing dads out there who do right by their kids all the time. So I made a list of some of my all-time favourite TV dads to remind all of us, and our smug media professors, of that very fact. No, this is not a comprehensive list of every awesome TV dad out there; that would mean I had to do some actual research. Yes, this list would have been more relevant a week ago when it was Father's Day. But whatever. This is my blog. And I'm pregnant. I can do what I want!

So here we go:

6. Danny Tanner (Full House) – So what if most of his lines sounded like an after school special? Who cares if he is arguably one of the nerdiest characters ever? That’s exactly why I love him. His wholesome, squeaky-and-geeky-clean image was his charm, and you’re a liar if you say it didn’t have you rooting for him. Quite frankly, Vicky was an idiot not to marry Danny. Not only was he a great father, but he willingly and regularly cleaned the house. What more do you need? 

5. Jim Walsh (Beverly Hills 90210) – Okay, you might be wondering why a dad who would move to Hong Kong and leave his posh Bev Hills home in the hands of his college-age kid and his friends could make this list. Jim is on this list because, well, because he’s cool enough to move to Hong Kong and leave his posh Bev Hills home in the hands of his college-aged kid and his friends. What? It’s not like he left Brenda in charge.

4. Sandy Cohen (The O.C.) – Sandy was the Jim Walsh of a new generation, but cooler. Was it because of Sandy's luscious eyebrows? Maybe. Probably. Yes. But also, he was lucky enough to show up on television after the phase of cheesy dads had ended (see numbers 5 and 6). Sandy was sharp, funny, and sarcastic, and was given as many good lines as his sons were. He also never moved to Hong Kong, which meant he got more screen time to bail his family out of sticky situations. 

3. Nathan Scott (One Tree Hill) – If you only ever watched the first season of OTH, you will surely not understand how Nathan could end up on this list. He was selfish, mean, and careless. But that’s what makes his evolution into one of the best dads ever so much sweeter. Nathan eventually managed to step out of his father's raging psycho shadow (see aforementioned Dan Scott) and grow into a loving husband and father, proving that you’re not destined to be a shitty parent just because you come from shitty parents. 

2. Phillip Banks (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - Uncle Phil may not have been "freshest" of them all, but he was still pretty fly. The most obvious reason being that he took in his wise-cracking nephew and raised him like his own, despite Will constantly insulting Phillip's weight. But let's not forget about the fact that he always kept a straight face while Carlton made a fool of himself, never slapped Hilary for being a spoiled brat, actually let Ashley out of the house despite the fact that never wore a shirt that covered her navel, and could toss Jazz out of the house with one hand. Plus, he didn't even bat an eye when his wife suddenly showed up as a totally different person. 

1. Burt Hummel (Glee) – How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love Burt because he is fully accepting and supportive of his gay son, Kurt. I love him because he turned out to be Kurt’s biggest champion even though at first glance, he looked the part of a “No-son-of-mine-will-be-gay” type of character. I love him for dancing so goofily up the aisle at his wedding to Finn’s mom, Carol. I love him for stepping into the father figure role for Finn. I love him for always maintaining the balance between loving and being there for your children, and standing your ground with them. But nothing, absolutely nothing, could make me love Burt Hummel more than this. Pure. Magic.

And just in case you're wondering, Cliff Huxtable is not included here not only because it would be a no-brainer but because I didn't think it was fair to the other dads since Cliff has pretty much topped every single other "best" or "favourite" TV dad list in the history of life. Also, as much as I love Ted Mosbey and the fact that the older version of him is voiced by Danny Tanner, you do not get to be on my list if you take seven seasons and counting to TELL ME WHO THE FUCKING MOTHER IS! Oh, and Marshall's not on here because he's only been a dad for five minutes and he was drunk for the majority of that time.

And anyway, there are many other TV dads who could've or should've made this list. But like I said, Alice's blog = Alice's rules. Feel free to discuss your favourites though!


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