In honor of Father’s Day, we salute some of our favorite TV dads from past and present. These fathers may sometimes come off as aloof or overprotective at times, but ultimately are always there for their children.
List by Sarita Muley
Mike Heck (“The Middle”)
Mike Heck isn’t a very communicative or affectionate person. He doesn’t like talking emotions, particularly his own. When he does express himself, the result is an awkward or insulting situation. Once, he told his children which child was his favorite. Another time, he yelled at his daughter because he was embarrassed that she asked people to gush about him for a video tribute. However, even if Mike is unable to give a hug or tell his family how feels, his actions always show how much his kids and wife mean to him. After years of hard work and little pay, he had a business venture starting to make money. When his daughter ran into a financial aid issue at college, he ends up selling the business venture to pay off her debt. He helped his youngest son deal with socializing issues, and always bails his oldest son out of his latest craziness (one of them being getting an annulment after a quickie marriage). His family might not always know what Mike Heck’s thinking, but they always know he’ll be there for him.
Phil Banks (“Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”)
Phil Banks technically had four children, but basically adopted Will, his nephew, as his fifth son. Much of the dynamics between Will and Phil involved Will making fun of his Uncle Phil and Uncle Phil yelling at Will. Behind that yelling though, was an Uncle who sought to help his nephew meet his full potential. He took Will into his home and put him into a prestigious private school. He gave Will guidance and disciplined him to guide him in the right direction. Most of all, Uncle Phil listened and cared for Will even when Will’s own father abandoned him. Uncle Phil never gave up on Will even when Will gave up on himself.
Luke Danes (“Gilmore Girls”)
Luke was technically April’s real biological father. However, for most of the series (before April was introduced), he was Rory’s pseudo father. Rory’s biological father wasn’t always in her life, which means that Luke often -indirectly- filled in that void. Whether taking interest -in an often overly protective, though well-meaning way- when she started dating a new boy (often in an overly protective, though well-meaning, way), making her special food during her birthday, or throwing her a graduation party, Luke was always thinking of Rory’s well being. The best part about Luke’s attachment to Rory is often times he got more worked up than Lorelai did when something happened to Rory. It was often comical and endearing at the same time.
Danny Tanner (“Full House”)
It’s easy to make fun of Danny Tanner (and “Full House” in general) for his overly sanctimonious and often unrealistic tone. However, underneath some of this contrived goodness is a reality that we often overlook: a widower who wants his girls to have the best after his wife dies, so brings in two other co-parents to help him raise them. Losing a parent is a destabilizing event, but Danny works to minimize this impact and make sure his girls have a loving environment. He also stays involved with his girls’ lives even though he’s juggling a job and now has others to take off some burden. While he was overprotective at times, his girls also had independence to become (as we see in Fuller House) good and loving people.
Jack Pearson (“This is Us”)
Jack Pearson is everyone’s favorite new TV dad, and deserves every praise he gets. He’s a good listener and a problem-solver at heart, trying to make lemonade from lemons. When the family car broke down in the middle of nowhere during Thanksgiving, he makes the most of what he can find at the motel and brings his kids so much joy from the simple things he finds that they incorporate them as Thanksgiving traditions. Another time, his daughter is hurt after girls in her class make fun of her weight, but Jack makes it better by giving her a ‘magical T-shirt’ to make things better. Jack Pearson definitely know how to turn that frown upside down.
Proud to be a book nerd but also love talking and writing about TV. My favorite shows are those that have complex and multi-dimensional characters. Other hobbies include going to classical music concerts, trying new restaurants, and visiting art museums.