Don’t we all love a good TV dad? Biological or circumstantial, the best of them strike a chord because they show us something uncannily similar to the dads and father figures in our own lives. What is it about dads that these TV dads capture so well? Let's investigate:
1. Luke Danes, Gilmore Girls
Loyal fans of Gilmore Girls have grown to love this chronically cranky coffee slinger and owner of Stars Hollow’s favorite diner. His open beefs with everyone from pesky patrons and the overzealous town mayor only highlight his devotion to those he truly loves. He’s always been something of a surrogate dad to Rory, but when his unruly teenage nephew Jess is exiled into his care, we are charmed by his reluctant but ultimately well-meaning dad displays of affection.
2. Philip Banks, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
As the patriarch on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Phil (or “Zeke”) commanded your attention. As a prominent judge and former lawyer by profession, he sticks to the strict father script because he simply demands the best from his children and nephew Will (in another case of a misbehaving teen sent away to be reformed by an uncle). He runs a school of hard knocks, but he’s also the first person who will advocate for you in the stickiest jam.
3. Danny Tanner, Full House
Danny Tanner is outnumbered in a Full House of women, and his parenting style reflects that sensitivity. As someone who fits the “nerdy dad” archetype, he appears blissfully unaware of it, much to the chagrin of his daughters, who deem him deeply uncool. His obsessive cleaning habits and bouts of overprotection come from a loving place, merely wanting to ensure a world where the women in his life can thrive unhindered.
4. George Lopez, The George Lopez Show
George is a loyal, hard-working family man and scrupulous father with a joke somewhere up his sleeve for nearly every situation. You love him because he is the king of bad dad jokes, with a twist. His bits of comic relief fill his household with a welcome lightness, reminding you that sometimes it’s okay not to take yourself too seriously.
5. Red Forman, That 70s Show
A respected WWII veteran, Red is known for his gruff, no-nonsense style and dry sense of humor. Feared by neighborhood kids, he shirks off hugs and struggles to express love and remorse. Convinced that there is a right way for a young man to be, he is always quick to overlook his daughter Laurie’s shortcomings and bash on his son Eric’s minor successes. Even so, we get the feeling that his hardline attitude is designed to help his kids build character.
6. Don Draper, Mad Men
Early in the Mad Men series, overly-occupied adman Don doesn’t exactly fall on track for making Dad of the Year, but you might say he takes Most Improved by the show’s finale. His journey getting there certainly involved lots of trial and error. The major breakthrough was only made possible by an honest look into his difficult past and much soul-searching. When Don is finally able to settle into his own skin, he became a father his children could relate to. We all cried at the end.
When it comes down to it, dads have the best intentions and only want the best for their kids, even if that means laying down the law and having to be the bad guy. Which of these TV dads is most like yours? Did we miss your favorite fictional father figure? Let us know in the comments!