As long as there have been families on television, there have been fathers on television. And over the years, we've learned a lot of different lessons from a lot of different TV dads. So in honor of Father's Day, let's take a moment to salute some of TV's finest fathers and their well-meaning, if not always helpful, advice.
The Cosby Show's Cliff Huxtable (Bill Cosby)Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable had an admirable sense of humor. And he cared for his flock with grace, style, and patience... most of the time. Here he is in one of the best Cosby Show clips ever; he may be losing his patience, but you can't deny he gets his point across.
Arrested Development's Tobias Funke (David Cross)Not all parents are cut out to be role models. On Arrested Development, Tobias Funke regularly embarrassed his daughter Maeby (and himself) with some of the most thoughtful idiocy a TV father (or any TV character, for that matter) has ever mustered. Though this doesn't quite qualify as advice, here's Tobias doing his ironic best to get close to his kid.
The Wonder Years' Jack Arnold (Dan Lauria)Some dads are so imposingly stoic that it only takes a single glance or grunt to hush their kids up, spur them on, or straighten their spines. Few TV dads have laid claim to the throne of their households with the same grim austerity as Jack Arnold of The Wonder Years. In the following scene, Kevin Arnold asks his dad to do a bit of reflection, and Jack, in classic Jack style, doesn't pull any punches.
The Brady Bunch's Mike Brady (Robert Reed)Though he famously already had three boys of his own, Mike Brady fearlessly took on three more youngsters when he married Carol and adopted her daughters. The resulting child army experienced just about every growing pain known to man, and Mike always seemed to have the perfect bit of wisdom to guide them through it. Here he is giving Jan a piece of advice we've all heard at some point, delivered so sincerely that you can't help but smile.
Freaks and Geeks' Harold Weir, (Joe Flaherty)Once in a while, a father's love can just plain miss the mark. But, hey—sometimes obstacles on the path to adulthood are just what children need in order to grow! Freaks and Geeks' Harold Weir did his duty by making life awkward for his kids on a far-too-frequent basis. Here he taking a rather morbid approach to ensuring Lindsay and Sam would live to see adulthood.
Happy Father's Day! Who are your favorite TV dads?