Dads come in all shapes and sizes- literally. Our father figures wear many hats, from skilled BBQ grill master and lawn mower extraordinaire to tech geek who can hook up an HDTV with his eyes closed to the consummate sports fan who regularly shows off his team’s colours. TV has long been home to a variety of father figures, both good and bad—those you wish you could call dad and those you’re glad aren’t related to you. Whether your dad is a home improvement aficionado like Tim Taylor or a grumpy old man like Frank Barone, here’s a list of top TV dads that have made us laugh and cry over the years thanks to the fatherly wisdom they’ve imparted to their TV families.
Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor, Home Improvement
Local TV celebrity handyman, Tim balances his wacky construction projects like The Man’s Bathroom with encouraging his three sons to be the best they can be.
Fatherly Advice: “More power!”
Frank Barone, Everybody Loves Raymond
He’s the reason everybody loves Raymond. A Grumpy Gus with conservative values, Frank was a war veteran and makes his opinions known. He may not be an ideal father figure but everybody has a Frank Barone in their life.
Fatherly Advice: “You want to know the meaning of life? You're born, you go to school, you go to work, you die.”
Ward Clever, Leave it to Beaver
The archetypical suburban TV dad of the Baby Boomer generation, Ward Cleaver wore nice suits, had a gentle sense of humour, enjoyed relaxing with his wife, whom he slept next to in a twin bed. At the end of each episode he would impart a moral lesson on one or both of his sons.
Fatherly Advice: “When you're young, there are some things you have to learn. How to catch a baseball. And good table manners don't come too easily. But when you're a boy, losing things is one of the few lessons you don't have to learn.”
Homer Simpson, The Simpsons
An oafish buffoon, Homer Simpson may not be the sharpest tool in the shed and he may not always get along with Bart, but when his family needs him he’s always there to fend off Sideshow Bob or surprise the family with a dog for Christmas.
Fatherly Advice: “Son, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, ‘Never try.’”
Cliff Huxtable, The Cosby Show
Father of five children, Dr. Cliff Huxtable valued family and education above all else. There was a moral or lesson learned in each episode—sometimes Cliff was the teacher and sometimes he found himself taking on the role of student. Plus he had an awesome collection of sweaters.
Fatherly Advice: “Now I'm telling you, you are going to try as hard as you can. And you're going to do it because I said so. I am your father. I brought you into this world, and I'll take you out!”
Charles “Pa” Ingalls, Little House on the Prairie
Farmer and patriarch of the family, Charles Ingalls imbued the key themes of love, family values, faith and friendship to his four daughters and three adopted children.
Fatherly Advice: “Everybody wants to know that they are loved, or needed, or cared about. Anybody who doesn't want to know that has something wrong with them.”
Danny Tanner, Full House
It’s not easy being a widow juggling three young daughters, a brother-in-law and your goofy best friend all while being a co-host of the hit morning TV show "Wake Up San Francisco," but Danny Tanner did it was a smile and many, many, many hugs.
Fatherly advice: “I am stoked! Whatever that means.”
Mitchell Pritchett, Modern Family
An overprotective and cautious new dad of adopted daughter Lily, Mitchell Pritchett is the mild-mannered counterpart to his flamboyant partner Cameron. Despite his intense fear of birds, Mitchell takes pride in raising his young daughter.
Fatherly Advice: “People can surprise you. You get so used to thinking of them one way, stuck in their roles. They are what they are. Then they do something that shows you there's all this depth and dimension that you never knew existed.”
Mike Brady, The Brady Bunch
Here's the story, Of a man named Brady, Who was busy with three boys of his own.
They were four men, Living all together, but they were all alone.
Till the one day when the lady met this fellow, and they knew they was much more than a hunch. That this group, Must somehow form a family. That's the way we all became the Brady Bunch.
Fatherly Advice: “As a wise man once said, "Wherever you go, there you are."
Tony Micelli, Who’s the Boss
Being a dad means making tough decisions: a former baseball player, Tony Micelli made the decision to move out of Brooklyn in search of a better environment to raise his young daughter Samantha.
Fatherly Advice: “There are some things that are no good for you, like Crunchy Crawlers.”