Let's face it, Cliff Huxtable, Danny Tanner and Mike Brady, three of the most beloved television sitcom fathers of the past 40 years, are not reality. We can't all have rich, talk-show host, doctor, architect dads. Some of our dads work outside for a living and most don't have witty and loving words of advice at the end of our predicaments. Some smack you in the head for being stupid, and there isn't a hip uncle who is a faux-rocker to run to.
My favorite TV dads have always been the ones with rough edges, dealing in reality, however warped that may sound, with humor and love. As much as Danny Tanner lorded over his full house with genteel kindness, at the end of the day, he won't stab someone in the throat for you like Hal from Malcolm In The Middle would.
In the '50s, we looked to TV dads as an alternative to the bitter, hardened World War II vets that were the heads of households, and by the late '60s, dads were free-loving smile factories that just wanted to you graduate high school and not get knocked up or knock someone up.
In the '70s, TV dads were getting too hip to be dads, and by the '80s they were aged hippies, like Steven Keaton on Family Ties, too harried to deal with a right-wing future-militia member son. There has been a shift in the past 10 years with TV dads returning to their youth and acting as immature, if not more, than their offspring.
I picked 10 TV dads that I wouldn't mind having, but with a few drawbacks. Not sure if living with Archie Bunker would be good for our health in the long-run, what with Edith's cooking and the cigar smoke.
Archie Bunker, All In The Family
Downside: The whole racism thing.
Upside: Getting to hear him yell at random folks who came over would be worth staying at home until you're 40.
Al Bundy, Married...With Children
Upside: All the women's shoes you can handle, you live next door to Marcy D'Arcy and you get to look at copies of Biggins' when Dad is through with them.
Red Forman, That '70s Show
Downside: The incessant glares and beatings.
Upside: You live next door to this.
Homer Simpson, The Simpsons
Downside: The smell.
Upside: Free beer.
Hal, Malcolm In The Middle
Downside: Prone to fits of paranoia and hysteria.
Upside: Free meth. Wait, different series.
Tony Soprano, The Sopranos
Downside: You probably died in that diner at the end of the last episode.
Upside: Lucrative family business.
Fred Sanford, Sanford & Son
Downside: The screaming, and the smells that Mr. Sanford probably left in the bathroom. He just looked like he could pollute a whole block.
Upside: You could always sell the salvage yard for scrap when he dies and move to somewhere less muddy-looking.
Frank Reynolds, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia
Downside: You would live in constant fear of him selling you to China for scrap or putting you up as collateral in a poker game.
Upside: You could huff glue with him, and he would kill someone for you for a bag of donuts and a 40.
Frank Costanza, Seinfeld
Upside: Free mansierres, um, we mean bros. Bros.
Peter Griffin, Family Guy
Downside: He may not know you even exist until it comes time for a pop-culture flashback.
Upside: You get to meet James Woods and Jesus Christ. Multiple times.
Guy Blank, Strangers With Candy
Downside: Catatonic, maybe dead.
Upside: You can always borrow the car.
George Bluth, Arrested Development
Downside: Hair-brained schemes.
Upside: Hair-brained schemes.
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