A Touch of Homer Simpson, a Sprinkle of Tony Soprano: Building the Perfect TV Dad

There are plenty of great TV dads. But what if we combined them all to make the PERFECT father?

Mohan Vishwakumar, Homer Simpson, and Joel Miller
Photo: Netflix | 20th Television | HBO

No matter how good a father is, they’re always going to have faults, quirks, and personality traits that get on our nerves as their children. A dad might be an incredible provider, but that could leave him emotionally unavailable when he gets home from a long day at work. Another dad might be nurturing and tender, but that leaves him bare when it’s time to lay down the hammer and bring some tough love to the family table. 

There are no perfect dads, except if you combine all of the best traits of our favorite TV dads into one unrivaled super-dad! Examining fatherhood has always been an iconic part of watching television, with great dads setting the standard for their real-life counterparts all of the time. We’re going to compile all of the most vital parts of being a good dad, and manifest them through a combination of our favorite small screen fathers!

Ward Cleaver’s Wisdom (Leave it to Beaver)

Not many shows tried to paint a more idealized picture of family life during the mid-20th century than Leave it to Beaver. Children Beaver and Wally Cleaver (Jerry Mathers and Tony Dow) were the beneficiaries of approachable and honest parenting from June and Ward (Barbara Billingsley and Hugh Beaumont), the latter of which was always good for a rock solid gold nugget of wisdom at some point in the episode. Ward always knew exactly what to say so that his sons could correct their behavior and change their lives for the better. Dads are often supposed to be sage, but not many were as astute as Ward. 

Walter White’s Ambition (Breaking Bad)

Before Walter White’s (Bryan Cranson) canyon-sized ego sat down in the driver’s seat in Breaking Bad, the middle-aged high school chemistry teacher who was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer was actually a symbol of unselfish, uninhibited desire and ambition. Knowing that his family would struggle to bring home the bacon without him after his death, Walter’s plan to become a cash cow through the manufacturing of methamphetamine had semi-moral intentions. If only Walter could have translated these zealous ideas into something more sustainable and humane, but then there’d never be a show for us to watch!


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