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An Ode to Fathers: TV's Best Dads

When it comes to TV we all know that the truth is embellished a little. I mean, not everyone in the office is having torrid affairs, and not every courtroom has tension you could cut with a butter knife. But when it comes to families, dads are often at the head of the household. For some shows, it's disastrous, but other shows paint the father figure as one that might be a little bumbling, but in the end is nothing if not totally caring. Father's Day has recently passed, but tune into one of these modern or retro shows if you're looking to get your fill of fatherly love.

ent-PhilDunphyPhil Dunphy "Modern Family"

As a dad, Phil is pretty hilarious. He might not be the brightest bulb among dads everywhere, but you can tell he's doing his best to make a great life for his kids, period. Sure, he might be totally overprotective of his daughters, but what can you expect from a traditional, suburban father? The best part about Phil as a dad is that he gets involved. When his son wants to make a hilarious YouTube-worthy video, he allows himself to be pummeled in the face with a basketball for the perfect shot. Now that's love.


ent-BurtHummelBurt Hummel "Glee"

Burt teaches us all not to judge a book by its cover. At the beginning of "Glee," Kurt's burly, lumberjack-type dad seemed completely unaware of the fact that his son was gay. Kurt went to great lengths to hide his sexuality, afraid that his dad wouldn't approve. Of course, it was Burt who had the last word when he admitted he knew his son was gay right from the start, and challenged anyone who had a problem with it. Aw, dad!

ent-MikeHeckMike Heck "The Middle"

In an ode to regular dads everywhere, Mike Heck struggles to keep up with his middle-class, slightly odd family. Mike's dealing with what a lot of dads hide from: Teen kids. When sarcastic Axl and weirdo Sue have issues, Mike thinks up inventive punishments to show them the true error of their ways. I'm just glad he doesn't simply forfeit the role of "angry, punishing parent" to his wife, because moms have enough to deal with it as it is. All hail the blue collar dad!

ent-RedFormanRed Forman "That 70s Show"

OK, I'll be the first to admit that Red isn't exactly the touchy feely type. In fact, I think he smacks his son Eric upside his head more often than he gives a hug. But what I love about Red is that he doesn't coddle his kids. He teaches them the value of hard work, not messing around, and staying on track. My favorite quote is "If it wasn't work, they'd call it 'super wonderful crazy fun time.'" Truly words of wisdom to live by, Red. You can't deny the logic of a sarcastic war vet in the '70s.

ent-CliffHuxtableCliff Huxtable "The Cosby Show"

It's been a few decades since we saw the Huxtables on air, but Cliff's parenting style definitely still applies. Parenting with love, logic, and a really good sense of humor got the Huxtables through some serious issues, such as learning disabilities and even teenage pregnancy. Any dad who can poke fun at his kids is OK by me, especially when there's clearly love behind each word. It kind of makes me wish for a "Cosby Show" reunion right now.

So you might not want to parent exactly like the dads on TV, but you have to admit that they help paint a pretty positive picture on the role of fathers. Plus, you can pick up some hilarious one-liners to use on your own kids!


Todd Lam is from Salt Lake City and writes exclusively for CableTV.com. His hobbies are watching TV, of course, and exploring the internet. 


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