From the days of “The Cosby Show” to today’s “Parenthood,” TV sitcoms have featured a wide-range of dads that reveal our society’s outlook on fatherhood.
Alexis C. Madrigal wrote in detail about this in an article for The Atlantic, explaining how dads have been portrayed recently as bumbling idiots who are more often than not the punchline of a joke.
But what dads on TV have inspired and helped their children? Here’s a look at eight dads that have had a positive impact in sitcoms:
Danny Tanner — “Full House”
Bob Saget played the lovable father Danny Tanner, an OCD, cleaning- obsessed father of three who got help from his brother-in-law Jesse and friend Joey. Tanner, who made Life & Style’s list of top TV dads, constantly reminded his kids of the correct moral path, and never dabbled in bad decisions.
Tanner always acknowledged he was a bit of an odd-ball in his desire to clean, and sometimes even taught a lesson with it.
Alan Matthews — “Boy Meets World”
Father of Corey Matthews, Alan Matthews raised not only his two sons and daughter, but also Corey’s friend Shawn. Alan Matthews was always bringing his kids back down to earth and helping them get through life’s harder moments. In fact, Alan Matthews' work is what made his TV son, Corey, into a man, leading to him having his own children in new Disney sitcom "Girl Meets World," according to The Portland Press Herald.
Alan Matthews was a bit of a hothead at points, but he always worked hard to protect his family and his friends.
Jason Seaver — “Growing Pains”
On the show, he played a father. Off the screen, he actually is a father -- of Robin Thicke, one of society’s biggest pop stars. Alan Thicke was known for portraying a stern and aggressive father figure on “Growing Pains,” keeping his young son Mike Seaver (played by Kirk Cameron) in line and maintaining order in his family. According to People Magazine, there’s a chance that the “Growing Pains” cast will be reuniting.
And let us not forget Mr. Seaver and his epic dance moves.
Dr. Heathcliff ‘Cliff’ Huxtable — “The Cosby Show”
One of Bill Cosby’s most famous roles came in the form of Dr. Heathcliff ‘Cliff’ Huxtable, a middle-class black father raising a family. But Cosby’s role apparently did more than that. The show actually helped people in America move past issues of racism, according to The New York Times.
He always tried to get the best out of his kids, even if it meant stepping down to their level and making fun of them.
Ward Cleaver — “Leave It to Beaver”
Though Ward Cleaver wasn’t the main focus of the show, and much of the show was focused on his son, Theodore “The Beaver” Cleaver, Ward Cleaver still inspired a new outlook on family in the media that is still important today, according to a Deseret News National story.
“It was an image of the perfect American life,” said Bob Thompson, a media studies professor at Syracuse University, to Deseret News National. “It was a very specific ideal. Families were more perfect on TV than they were in real life."
Sometimes he was a little harsh, but Mr. Cleaver always found a way to connect with his kids and get the best out of him.
Mike Brady — “The Brady Bunch”
It’d be hard to commemorate some of TV's best dads without mentioning Mike Brady, the head of the Brady household. He helped two different families, one all boys and one all girls, integrate seamlessly with eachother. Still, despite the pressure of a large home, Brady always offered helpful tips to his kids. He once said, “Them who don't look, sometimes get took,” about used cars, according to TODAY.
Mr. Brady was definitely all about cheering up his kids, even though he had a great deal of them that were constantly facing trouble.
Sandy Cohen — "The O.C."
Who can forget those eyebrows? Peter Gallagher played the humble Californian father who adopted troubled teenager Ryan Atwood. Cohen was known for his epic advice and smooth-talking charm. He was so well-liked that BuzzFeed named him the definitive best TV dad.
And it is important to remember Mr. Cohen always had an interest in bagels. Maybe it was more of an obsession.
Timothy ‘Tim’ Taylor — “Home Improvement”
How could Timothy ‘Tim’ Taylor not make the list of top TV dads? Tim Allen’s construction extraordinaire could put anything together, including the pieces that came after a family fight. And he genuinely enjoyed taking care of his son, Randy Taylor, played by Jonathan Taylor Thomas. By the way, whatever happened to him?
So, Mr. Taylor wasn't the brightest tool in the shed, but he certainly knew how to put together some machines, which comes in handy as a dad.