I’m the last person to claim to be any authority on TV, but just for shiggles I’d like to share with you my all-time top five favorite TV dads, in no particular order:
1. Randy Marsh, South Park
Stan’s dad is by far my favorite TV dad. Any episode starring Randy is guaranteed to be completely hilarious, and it’s funny in that way that’s sort of agonizingly realistic. Randy and his wife Sharon were named after Trey Parker’s parents, and while I don’t know if that means the characters were actually modeled after The Parkers, Randy is the perfect caricature of a dad you probably know in real life. He’s totally that dad who thinks he is cool but is constantly embarrassing his son and causing shenanigans otherwise because he’s just a crazy, fun-loving dude. My favorite Randy-centered episodes: Creme Fraiche and Medicinal Fried Chicken. Noteworthy scene: remember that time Randy put his balls in the microwave to give himself cancer so he could get a prescription for medical marijuana?
2. Phil Dunphy, Modern Family
Speaking of crazy, fun-loving dudes who are always causing shenanigans, Phil Dunphy is a TV dad that I was introduced to fairly recently who has become one of my all-time favorite TV characters. Modern Family is such a smart and funny show, and Phil’s character is hilarious because he’s goofy and awkward, just like a real dad. He thinks he’s a lot cooler than he actually is, and most of the time he acts like more of a child than any of his three children. Plus, he’s kind of a DILF. Favorite Phil Dunphy moments: when he tries out a fake mustache in Moon Landing, and when it becomes painfully obvious where Luke has inherited his ADD in Starry Night. Also, every moment with Phil, period.
3. Al Bundy, Married With Children
Modern Family couldn’t be as great as it is if it weren’t for Married With Children. So many years later, Ed O’Neill transforms into Jay Pritchett, doting husband and lovable grandfather, but it’s the residual Al Bundy that make his character in Modern Family truly hilarious. Married With Children is a classic nineties show, and Al Bundy is an iconic Archie Bunker type who is never at a loss for snarky words. He’s known for his raunchy one-liners and general disgust toward his wife and children–yes, he’s a total asshole, but he’s a lovable asshole, and the unbelievable cheesiness of Married With Children is perfectly punctuated by Al’s clumsy gruffness. Here’s a compilation of some classic Al Bundy quotes:
4. Red Forman, That ’70s Show
Red Forman is another loveable asshole who is also one of my favorite characters on TV. He really makes That 70s Show, because without him there would be nothing grounding the happy go lucky shenanigans of Eric and his friends. The parent characters on this show have some of the funniest scenes, and no matter what kind of hilarity is ensuing, you can always count on Red’s grouchiness to put out the fire. One of my favorite Red quotes:
5. Walter White, Breaking Bad
Obviously. If you’ve seen Breaking Bad, you know, and if you haven’t, you need to drop what you’re doing right now and go watch the first season. Walter White is the ultimate breadwinner–do you think YOUR dad would start cooking meth and risk his life just to make sure you could go to college? Probably not, and if we’re being honest that’s probably a good thing. But Walt goes all the way, and shit gets really real as he moves up the ladder in his new career, all to make sure that his family is taken care of. It’s impossible for me to pick a favorite Walter White scene, and since Breaking Bad doesn’t have a whole lot of comedic moments, I’ll share a clip that I adore of Bryan Cranston on Conan:
Honorable mention: Jack Arnold from The Wonder Years