Ah, TV dads. Often on television, they play a vital role in providing the perfect blend of comic relief and emotional support for their wives and children. As the patriarch of their family, it is important they reflect the times in which the show is made, while remaining a positive example to millions of viewers around the world.
We have collected some of the best fathers from television and highlighted what specific traits lead them on the list. Enjoy our definitive list of fathers below.
Phil Dunphy, Modern Family (ABC)
It’s hard to argue that any father supports his family as much as Modern Family’s Phil Dunphy. He married into the hard and emotionally-repressed Pritchett family, and his dose of love and affection are just what the rest of the family need to bring balance.
Best Quote: “I’ve always said that if my son thinks of me as one of his idiot friends, I’ve succeeded as a dad.”
Tim Taylor, Home Improvement (ABC)
Tim Taylor is a man’s man, the head of a family with three boys and the front of his very own TV show! He is the typical dad: lover of cars and power tools, while still giving wise life lessons to his friends and family. Tim Allen’s blend of humor and drama in the character portrayal was much of the show’s success.
Best Quote: “I think men have a lot in common with babies. We get cranky when our dinner isn’t ready on time, we like to take naps in the afternoon, and I don’t know any man who doesn’t love a spirited game of peek-a-boo.”
Philip Banks, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (NBC)
The quick-tempered uncle of Will Smith’s character in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air turned heads and won hearts during the show’s run. He was a strict disciplinarian but a loving and caring husband and father, who made it his priority to care for Will, Carton, and the rest of the Banks family.
Best Quote: “Before you criticize somebody, you find out what they’re all about”
Peter Griffin, Family Guy (Fox)
America’s favorite goofball has been entertaining audiences on and off since 1999. Created and voiced by Seth MacFarlane, the drunk and goofball dad shocks viewers through his stupid and erratic behavior, making us laugh along the way. Despite this, he loves his wife and (most of!) his kids.
Best Quote: “Love is like a fart. If you have to force it, it’s probably crap.”
Hal Wilkerson, Malcolm In The Middle (Fox)
Before he broke bad as Walter White, Bryan Cranston played Hal, the loveable head of Malcolm’s family in Malcolm in the Middle. He was always a charming – albeit somewhat immature – dad who never disciplined his five children unless supported by his wife, Lois. His indecisiveness often caused hilarious results.
Best Quote: “I didn’t come to work because somehow I felt that eight hours of joyless, mind-numbing crap just didn’t seem like fun. Well, I guess we’re just going to have to agree to disagree.”
Dan Conner, Roseanne/The Conners (ABC)
John Goodman is about to get quite the change in the role once Rosanne returns in its new form: The Conners. Goodman plays Dan, the patriarch of the family who will now be a widower (which is strange since, in the original ending, it was revealed that Rosanne was a widow in a flash forward.) Either way, he is a shining example of a blue-collar, hard-working man who cares for his wife and children.
Best Quote: “When did ‘masculine’ become a dirty word?”
Homer Simpson, The Simpsons (Fox)
The original cartoon dad! Homer Simpson has been on our television screen across four decades, making him one of the most recognizable characters in history. Despite his antics, he is an incredibly caring and supportive father to his three children. Even though they drive him crazy at times, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Best Quote: “Well, it’s 1 AM. Better go home and spend some quality time with the kids.”
Michael Bluth, Arrested Development (Fox, Netflix)
Every family needs the straight man to play off the absurd realities of some characters, and Michael Bluth is no exception! Played by a deadpan Jason Bateman, Michael takes responsibility for his dysfunctional family as they undergo financial troubles and raising reputation problems. After five seasons, the show is still going strong on Netflix.
Best Quote: “Family? I tried that. It does not work for me.”
Hank Hill, King of the Hill (Fox)
Another cartoon dad that left an impact on viewers in the 1990s, Hank Hill represented the average working man in middle America, out of Texas. Even though he spends his time drinking beers with his friends, he is widely considered one of the wisest men in television history. As a natural conservative, he is hard-working, closed off, but means well and believes in the impact of the individual.
Best Quote: “Bobby, I didn’t think I’d ever need to tell you this, but I would be a bad parent if I didn’t. Soccer was invented by European ladies to keep them busy while their husbands did the cooking.”
Ray Barone, Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS)
Ray Romano plays the titular role of Ray in the sitcom that ran for more than 200 episodes. He’s generally considered lazy around the house and never disciplines his children, although that doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about a healthy home life with his wife and kids. Unlike other fathers on the list, his flaws are more widely highlighted – such as his neuroticism and apathy.
Best Quote: “Having children is like living in a frat house–nobody sleeps, everything’s broken and there’s a lot of throwing up.”
Rick Grimes, The Walking Dead (AMC)
Rick doesn’t just posses the role of caring father, but he is also the leader of the Militia in charge of staying alive during the Zombie Apocolypse. His dedication to his son, Carl, is unparalleled as he seeks to care and protect him from harm.
Best Quote: “These people are my family. And if you hurt them in any way, I will kill you.”
Tony Soprano, The Sopranos (HBO)
The original anti-hero. As head of the New Jersey criminal underworld, Tony Soprano balances his stressful work life with his personal family dramas. He has difficult relationships with his uncle and mother but always works on being a responsible parent to his children, who he tries to shelter from the underworld.
Best Quote: “A wrong decision is better than indecision.”
Alan Matthews, Boy Meets World (ABC)
Alan Matthews was one of the firmest rocks in the Boy Meets World universe, often being the voice of reason and wisdom for Cory and the rest of the gang. He often provides tough love to Cory while softening the land for some of Eric’s failures. However, as time goes on, he is consistently seen as one of the most trustworthy and respected characters, alongside Mr. Feeney.
Best Quote: “ I take pride in what I do. Everybody needs groceries.”
Sandy Cohen, The OC (Fox)
The original OG in the OC, Sandy is the main force in welcoming Ryan Atwood into the California home, changing his life forever. As a lawyer, he is morally firm, respectful, and does everything he can to care for all his children and extended family members.
Best Quote: “Coming and being honest with yourself and your family—in this town—it’s the bravest thing you could have done.”
Walter White, Breaking Bad (AMC)
Ok, so even though he turned out to be a pretty terrible person and criminal mastermind, his intentions were always to be the best husband and father he could be. He may have been caught up in crime, drugs, murder, and corruption, but his struggles represent a lot of the struggles of the working class in America.
Best Quote: “I am the one who knocks.”
George Jefferson, The Jeffersons (CBS)
Not just your regular TV dad. He was pivotal in advancing how black people were perceived in the media. As a successful businessman, he knew the value of a dollar and what it means to remain true to your word.
Best Quote: “If I paid you to think, you could cash your check at the penny arcade.”
Al Bundy, Married… With Children (Fox)
Al Bundy isn’t exactly the best example of a noble man – a loser who puts his family down. Still, he is a strong believer in certain values and is a shining example of hard-working working-class America.
Best Quote: “Retirement is when a woman marries, and a man dies”
Ned Stark, Game of Thrones (HBO)
Admittedly, it’s kind of his fault that most of his family dies, taking him out of the running for, you know, best dad. But you can’t deny that it was his character and strong morals that led to the moment, so we can always learn from that?
Best Quote: “The winters are hard but the Starks will endure. We always have.”
Bob Belcher, Bob’s Burgers (Fox)
Bob is a simple guy who would do anything for his kids, even if it means going against what he considers normal. The family does a good job of highlighting the peculiarities of modern-day America.
Best Quote: “You’re my family and I love you, but you’re terrible. You’re all terrible.”
Murray Goldberg, The Goldbergs (ABC)
Yeah, he might be a little hot-headed and bad-tempered, but Murray will never shy away from telling his kids how it is. Honesty and integrity are strong qualities needed in a father and he leads a shining example.
Best Quote: “Happy wife, happy life.”