It would be pointless to rank television’s top fathers by parenting style, since we all know what good fathers look like (Mike Brady) and what bad fathers look like (Homer Simpson) in the television universe. Instead, in honor of Father’s Day, let’s look at ten iconic TV dads chronologically. (You can see the slide-show version on the homepage.) It’s instructive because we can see the transformation of fatherhood on television reflecting the left-wing bias against traditional family roles. Here we go:
Ward Cleaver (Leave It To Beaver, 1957-1963)
The archetypal TV dad, Ward finished nearly episode by giving good, solid moral advice to his sons. He also had a great marriage with prototypical 1950s mom June.
Mike Brady (The Brady Bunch, 1969-1974)
We’re already moving into the era of alternative family structures, though the Brady clan was obviously in coincidence with traditional moral values. Mike is still the moral authority in the household, though he’s a very soft authority figure.
Archie Bunker (All in the Family, 1971-1979)
Archie is a good dad but a horrible person. Here’s where television begins to change from the respectful view of fathers to the flower-power view of fathers as racist, bigoted, old men you can mooch off of for years on end.
Steven Keaton (Family Ties, 1982-1989)
Steven is in one way a reversal, in another way, a step forward for liberals. Where liberals were militantly anti-father with regard to conservative dads, they’re all of a sudden in favor of traditional father roles when dad uses his authority to promote hippy liberalism. Steven always gets the last word, even if we love Alex.
Cliff Huxtable (The Cosby Show, 1984-1992)
The last gasp of the conservative father on television came not from a retrenchment of conservatism but from liberals who wanted to assure blacks that not every television show about blacks had to take place in a junkyard or the streets. The result was one of the great conservative characters of all time: a traditional father who is successful in his career and authoritative at home.
Al Bundy (Married … With Children, 1987-1997)
A horrible father, a vulgar personality, and a cynical jackass. The Left’s newfangled view of traditional fatherhood takes Archie Bunker a step further, now stating that middle-American conservative dads aren’t good dads or good people.
Homer Simpson (The Simpsons, 1989-current)
The cartoon Al Bundy is even worse than Al — he openly abuses his children (strangling Bart), he gets drunk at the local bar every night, and he is stupid, slothful, and bigoted. A far cry from Ward Cleaver. Peter Griffin (Family Guy) is Homer Simpson with hair and glasses.
Ross Gellar (Friends, 1994-2004)
What is Ross doing on this list? He’s here because he represents the left’s next step: the absentee father who simply doesn’t matter to his son’s life. Ross impregnates his lesbian wife, has a kid, and then takes care of the kid once every blue moon between his affairs and antics. His son, Ben, never feels any ill effects. Welcome to the liberal paradise, where dads are completely superfluous.
Tony Soprano (The Sopranos, 1999-2007)
Tony is a lot like Archie, except violent and sexually promiscuous. He’s a terrible person, but he’s loyal to his family. Tony actually represents a soft retreat for the left — at least they’re now engaging the notion that fathers are necessary.
Cameron Tucker and Mitchell Pritchett (Modern Family, 2009-present)
They’re virtually ideal dads, except that they make silly mistakes like locking a baby in a car. But they can be ideal dads because they’re gay, which means that as the series progresses, look for them to become even more sainted. The Left has finally come to terms with fatherhood — anyone at all can be a dad, and there’s no need for mom.