Television certainly has evolved over the past few decades. However, though there have been many changes, one thing has remained. The role of a television father is essential. In any successful show, this male part is crucial for the plot, laughs, and to bring some structural integrity to the show. Some have been better than others. Here are the top television fathers of all times.
1. Al Bundy (Ed O'Neill in Married With Children)
Okay, so Al wasn’t the best dad for you, but he was the best dad for comic relief on a hit show. His iconic moves of sitting on a dated couch with his hand down his pants brought much humor to an already funny show. He was grouchy, didn’t like his family, and was a general pain to those who met him.
Al was a beer-loving, indebted, working-class father who had two children and a wife who annoyed him. While there weren’t may tender moments between he and his family, there was plenty of occasions to smile. He wouldn’t win any awards for father-of-the-year in real life, but he sure did on television.
2. Ray Barone (Ray Romano in Everybody Loves Raymond)
It seemed like Ray Barone has it all. He lives in a beautiful house on Long Island with a lovely family. He has a great job as a sports writer, and life is good, well……almost. His obnoxious parents live across the street, along with his brother Robert.
Ray is a typical man that tries to stand up and have a backbone but is often shot down by his controlling wife. He was a great dad; his only problem was everyone was always trying to run his life for him.
3. Mike Brady (Robert Reed in The Brady Bunch)
One just cannot do an article about dads and not mention Mike Brady. He was the quintessential dad that everyone wanted to be. He loved his wife, and he adored his children. He showed no separation between his three boys and her three girls.
In fact, he was a good representation of how to correctly parent a blended family. While his sappy nature was a bit over the top, he always got his point across. The architect loved nothing more than being with his family.
4. Archie Bunker (Carol O'Connor in All In The Family)
It was a roll of the dice and a new comedy situation when CBS introduced Archie Bunker. He was a loud, foul-mouthed, beer drinking, grouchy, father. Don't think for one minute he didn't love his wife Edith or his daughter Gloria.
Consequently, it was his dislike for his son-in-law "Meathead," and neighbors that made America fall in love with him. He was the king of prejudice. However, Crude characters have their place in drama, and Archie was one dad you couldn't help but love.
5. Howard Cunningham (Tom Bosley in Happy Days)
"Mr. C.," as he was often called, was a classic 1970's television dad. He was stern when he needed to be, generous but not overindulgent, and loving to his children. He didn't just act this way with his kids Richie and Joanie either. He became a father figure to many of his son's closest friends. The relationship between this father and Arthur Fonzarelli, Potsie, and Ralph made the show. Mr. C was a model pop for all.
6. Cliff Huxtable (Bill Cosby in The Cosby Show)
As an OBGYN living in a classy New York home, Cliff charmed everyone he met. He was known for his over the top antics, deep love for his children, and his incredible relationship with on-screen wife. Though he rambled on when trying to get his point across, he always made time for fun. He wasn’t against a lecture that involved “tough love” strategies or dancing in the living room to some upbeat jazz tune. Yes, Cliff Huxtable was he dad that many wanted to be.
7. Danny Tanner (Bob Saget in Full House)
His house was always full, busting at the seams even, but he always had a smile on his face. He sang his girls to sleep and took on the role of a single father with pride. Danny Tanner was the OCD dad who couldn't clean enough. However, his on-screen chemistry with Jesse and Joey made fatherhood seem easy. After the death of his wife, the San Francisco talk show host had to raise three daughters alone. He never was too busy to sing them a song or tell a nighttime story with plenty of hugs. In fact, he was one of the most loving television dads of all times.
8. Andy Tayor (Andy Griffith in The Andy Griffith Show )
Being the sheriff in Mayberry wasn't an easy job. Add that to being a single father to a spirited little boy like Opie and you have a great television plot. Sheriff Taylor was a kind and gentle man, even when his son was into all kinds of mischief. Andy showed that life is more about spending time than money. For instance, he loved nothing more than going fishing with his son or sitting on the front porch playing the guitar. However, it was the antics of his on-screen counterpart, Barney Fife, that really made the show.
9. Burt Hummel (Mike O'Malley in Glee)
Being a father to Kurt is difficult. The child prefers fashion and musical theater to classics like football and rock-and-roll. Still, the relationship between father and son in Glee is perfection. When a fellow student, Finn, makes a derogatory comment about Kurt’s sexual preferences, Burt jumped to action. He proved that family comes first, whether you agree with their lifestyle or not. Loving your child means accepting them for who and what they are. Burt is a perfect example of how parents must show unconditional love.
10. Frank Reynolds (Danny DeVito in It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia )
Frank Reynolds is a master manipulator. As the father of twins Dennis and Dee, Frank is intelligent but mentally unstable. The character takes a different approach to fatherhood. He is often psychotic, sometimes delusional, and often paranoid. He even attempted to take his own life on numerous occasions. He takes drugs to ease the pain. When it comes to “The Gang's” schemes, Frank is almost always the ringleader.
To add insult to injury, he lives with his biological son who is now his ex-husband. Though he is no “Father Knows Best” character, he is a ruthless businessman that is quite successful. Many of his diabolical schemes have been underhanded and illegal.
Who is your favorite funny dad that didn't make it to our list? Let us know in the comments below!
And make sure to share these funny dads with your friends and family!