Sad but true, kids and teens 8 to 18 years spend nearly 4 hours a day in front of a TV screen, which is way more time than the average kid 8-18 spends with his or her father every day. In other words, it's a great day to be a TV dad. And, sure, father does actually know best from time to time, but even more enjoyable is when father makes a horrible life choice and then spends the rest of the episode trying to fix it and or justify why he did it in the first place. With out further ado, I give you, The Top 9 Dysfunctional TV Dads Of All Time starting with the most lovably dysfunctional of them all:
1. . TONY SOPRANO, The Sopranos
Sure, he shot a bunch of dudes, but he made being a mobster human and he forever changed my expectations of a therapist/patient relationship. Tony took TV dads from child’s play to a game at which even grown ups don’t always win. Tony, you will be missed.
2. . ANDRE JOHNSON, Black-ish
Finally, a show about a black family that deals with the subtleties of being black in America with all the nuance but none of the subtlety. On the show, patriarch Andre Johnson is a work in progress, and we love him for it. Black-ish has managed to stay complicated in a TV climate that tends to flatten things out. We applaud you, Black-ish, for never being afraid to explore all sides of an issue, be it religion, race, or family.
3. . ARCHIE BUNKER, All In The Family
Guys, I have never even seen this show, and I still know how to quote it. “Awe, Archie…” “Go stifle yourself!” Sure, it wasn’t the pinnacle of progressiveness, and Archie was pretty much a bigot, but the show gets major points for being one of the first things on TV to attack political and social issues. Some of Archie’s racism is so outdated now that I don’t even know what groups he’s making fun of. If that’s not progress, I don’t know what is!
4. . LOUIE CK, Louie
It takes a strong man to admit he is a mediocre parent. Remember when Louie’s daughter clearly says that she loves her mom more? Louie is aggressively honest about the hardships of being a single father in his stand-up, so why shouldn’t his kids return the favor?
5. . CARL WINSLOW, Family Matters
Not only was this dude the cool dad of three, he was a cop multiple times… actor Reginald VelJohnson played multiple men in uniforms over the course of his long and fruitful career. Ghostbusters, anyone? Steve Urkel has given and continues to give hope to all of us who are weird, obnoxious and in love with someone who doesn’t care to give him the time of day, and this guy was the perfect sobriety check to put that nerd in his place.
6. . FRED G SANFORD, Sanford and Son
Guys, Fred deals junk for a living. That’s, what he does. No, not “junk” like drugs, “junk” like physical, literal junk. Red Foxx, you have earned both of those x’s in your name for full-blown bad-assery and perseverance through multiple eras of Hollywood racism. Plus, when Red left Sanford and Son, he went on to headline in Vegas. Bad. Ass. 136 episodes and no regrets.
7. . DANNY TANNER, Full House
Here’s a guy who went from family-friendly sitcom to sucking d*ck for coke on Half Baked. You can’t top that. Michelle turned out pretty obnoxious, Stephanie had some rough years but came out on top, and Candace Cameron is related to Kirk Cameron, and also turned out to be super cool, hot and amazing, and she isn’t even forty yet. Danny Tanner aka Bob Saget, please do anything but “cut it out” for ever and ever. You are so loved.
8. . BRYAN CRANSTON in Malcolm in the Middle
Remember when the dad from Malcolm in the Middle became a bad ass meth dealer and brought sexy back to whitey tighties? Breaking Bad kicked ass and started many a conversation about what it means to provide for one’s family. Side note, Bryan Cranston is still taking names. See mic drop above…
9. . RICK GRIMES, The Walking Dead
Guys, would you eat a dude’s face to protect your son? Like, if push came to shove, would you eat a guy’s face if you knew it was what you had to do for the safety and betterment of your makeshift society? If you said no, than you, my friend, are no Rick Grimes. He is the Abraham Lincoln of fatherhood, keeping his family together when there is no family to keep together. Sure, he’s destroyed significant parts of his humanity. It’s 2015. At this point, who hasn’t?