Best and Worst Sitcom Dads, According to Reddit
Redditor Ccubed3000 is working on a cool project, tracking the evolution of the sitcom dad over time. So what better way to conduct cultural research than to head to r/Sitcom with the question: Who are the best and worst sitcom dads? Ccubed3000 specifically asked for a wide variety of examples that span the decades, and here’s who came back as the favorites and flops of TV fatherhood…
The Best Sitcom Dads
Carlton’s pop, Uncle Phil from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, received multiple nominations for his kind advice, high standards and snappy wardrobe. “Definitely Uncle Phil,” wrote jayareyouwing.
Several Redditors made it clear that they wanted to separate characters who were good dads from the sometimes problematic actors who played them. That’s why Red Foreman from That ‘70s Show got some love despite letters Kurtwood Smith might have written in support of recently convicted castmates. “Red was an awesome balance of showcasing what dads were like in the ‘70s in conjunction with him actually caring for his family and being present,” wrote Polish_Wombat98. “I understand it’s a show, but he was always around.”
In a similar vein, ComprehensiveFlan368 explained, “It pains me to write this, but (The Cosby Show’s) Cliff Huxtable was one of the best onscreen dads.” GenX4eva agreed: “Came here to say Cliff Huxtable and was glad to see that others did.”
Other dads who got their share of flowers include Modern Family’s Phil Dunphy (“the best dad on TV,” argued fnerdyjorj), Hal Wilkerson from Malcolm in the Middle (although Hal also got a worst dad vote) and Family Matters’ Carl Winslow (“Carl Winslow for the win!” cheered u/Annual_Use_3431.)
The Worst Sitcom Dads
As for the worst sitcom dads, DizzyLuzzy was one of many who nominated George’s father, Frank Costanza, from Seinfeld. “The character is funny as hell, but he is a terrible husband and father.” Costanza led a dizzying array of nominations for horrible fathers named Frank: Frank Reynolds from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Frank Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond, Frank Gallagher from Shameless, and oddly, Frank Lambert from forgotten TGIF mediocrity Step by Step.
Several votes went to George Bluth as well, the patriarch on Arrested Development. What, a guy can’t embezzle money from the family business and hide out with the Blue Man Group without everybody judging him?
Animated fathers got plenty of hate here, too. “Peter Griffin is bad,” offered ilovemathematics174. Don’t forget Homer Simpson, who “chokes Bart regularly,” said Ozymandas2. “Homer Simpson sucks, and I love The Simpsons,” agreed SpergSkipper.
Finally, Al Bundy from Married… With Children got multiple votes, but also a spirited defense from MiaStirCrazies. While he was a lousy father, don’t forget “the fact that in 1966, Al Bundy scored four touchdowns in a single game while playing for the Polk High School Panthers in the 1966 city championship game versus Andrew Johnson High School, including the game-winning touchdown in the final seconds against his old nemesis, Bubba ‘Spare Tire’ Dixon.”
Surely, that has to count for something.