Whether they play a dad living in a mansion in Beverly Hills or one who is trying to keep the lights on in the fictional town of Lanford, lovable, caring, and supportive dads can act as a moral guide for viewers who are trying to understand their own fathers or leaning how to be one.
Dads may not feel the same pressure for perfection like moms do, but that doesn’t mean their job is easy. These TV dads aren’t always perfect, but that’s what makes them great role models. Being raised by TV isn’t so bad thanks to these awesome father figures.
11 of the best father figures in TV history
PHILIP BANKS, THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIRJames Avery was not only a great dad, he was also the ultimate uncle. The actor’s role as Uncle Phil for six seasons on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air gave us countless lessons in fatherhood, as well as the emotional moment between Avery and star Will Smith when the pair acted out the heartbreaking scene that featured Smith’s on-screen character being left by his father. Has anyone ever not cried when watching that episode?Getty
JACK PEARSON, THIS IS USThe bar was set pretty high with Pearson family patriarch Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia), who cemented his status as a saint by dying after rescuing his family from a house fire. Spoilers, but also, catch up. From Pilgrim Pete to Sequin Pizza Parties, Jack never let down the Big Three. How can you not love the man who said, “The moment I saw you, I knew you were my boy. You weren’t a choice, Randall, you were a fact.” Tears. All. The. Tears.Getty
RANDALL PEARSON, THIS IS USJack Pearson’s death left a hole on the Father of the Year podium and his son Randall was quick to fill it. Dad to Tess, Annie and Deja, Sterling K. Brown’s Randall is quite possibly the most involved, woke, and caring dad on TV today.Getty
LOUIS HUANG, FRESH OFF THE BOATBeing a dad is never easy, but being a dad who is trying to run his own business, deal with an extended family that loves to flaunt their success, and relate to three kids who are growing up in a different era and country all add to a role that can at times feel impossible. We may not be as positive as Randall Park’s Louis Huang, but we love seeing the ideal version of ourselves on TV.ABC
GEORGE COOPER, YOUNG SHELDONLance Barber’s George Cooper may not understand his brilliant son Sheldon, but that doesn’t stop the Texas dad from continually trying to not only find common ground, but also support his son’s academic endeavors. Barber’s portrayal of George Sr. is a refreshing and relatable take on parenthood, with the character showcasing the struggle that many parents have when trying and failing to relate to their children.Getty
DAN CONNER, THE CONNERSRoseanne and later The Conners changed TV by showcasing a realistic lower middle-class family that didn’t end each episode with a pretty bow. John Goodman’s Dan Conner became and continues to be (yay revival!) the blue-collar dad for the new millennium. A little rough around the edges, Dan is unwaveringly dedicated to his kids, whether that means keeping his family financially afloat by putting off his retirement or supporting his grandson’s decision to wear a dress.Getty
SANDY COHEN, THE OCPeter Gallagher’s Sandy Cohen was a walking affront to stereotypes. He was a lawyer with a conscience, a rich California resident that wasn’t shallow, a dad who could be friends with his kids and still discipline them. Our love for Sandy Cohen started from the very first episode when he showed off his heart of gold by rescuing teen runaway Ryan Atwood, inviting him in into his (pool) home and family.Getty
KEITH MARS, VERONICA MARSPlayed by Enrico Colantoni, Keith Mars is the kind of dad that brings his teenage daughter to his Private Investigation office and entrusts her with some big-time cases. Sure, it’s a lot for a teen to handle, but most teens aren’t Veronica Mars.
Watch Seasons 1 – 3 of Veronica Mars available now on Crave.Getty
MITCH LEERY, DAWSON’S CREEKJohn Wesley Shipp’s Mitch Leery was a dad to Dawson and father figure to most of Capeside, thanks to his role as a substitute teacher, football coach and guidance counsellor. That’s what made losing Mitch all the more painful to watch. We were all the Dawson-ugly-cry meme.
Watch Seasons 1 – 6 of Dawson’s Creek available now on CTV.The CW
BEN WARREN, GREY’S ANATOMYWhen Ben (Jason George) and Miranda (Chandra Wilson) were married on Season 9 of Grey’s Anatomy, Ben became stepfather to Miranda’s son Tuck. Ben and Tuck’s relationship isn’t often featured, but when it is, we get to see the integral role Ben plays in his stepsons’ life, including their moving conversations on consent and what is means to be a young black man in America.Getty
PHIL DUNPHY, MODERN FAMILYIf overly supportive fathers who make dad jokes, know all the words to the songs from High School Musical, and can perform magic at the drop of a top hat are your thing, then you probably love Phil Dunphy. He’s a cool dad. It’s his thang. WTF. Why The Face. Etc.ABC