Television’s Best Dads Power Rankings

Earlier in the year, on Mother’s Day in fact, I compiled a list of the hottest television moms. Since today is Father’s Day I tried to make sure both sides were represented, but let’s be honest, there aren’t many good looking dads on television. Instead, casting directors forced my hand and made me write a blog about the best television dads. A lot of television dads are great for different reasons, so while some people might see certain guys as “bad dads”, I’ve tried to appreciate them for who they are. Life as a dad is about more than just making sure food is on the table and yelling at the referees from the sideline and I think this list provides a well rounded appreciation for dads of all shapes, sizes and mental capacities.  So without further ado…

lets get it on

10- Ned Stark, Game of Thrones

Ned Stark

Ned may have ranked higher on this list if we had more film on him. While he lacked the ability to stay alive past the first season, he possessed loyalty to his children that you don’t see very often. Not only did he care for his own children, he took in a child who everyone thought was his bastard son, risking his relationship with his wife and overall reputation just to protect Jon Snow. I’m not in the business of giving spoilers, other than telling you Ned Stark dies in the first season, but Ned’s life as a father to his biological children and Jon Snow shaped the series into the great story it’s been so far.

9- Frank Lambert, Step by Step

Patrick Duffy in Step by Step

While we’re on the topic of taking in kids that aren’t theirs, how about Frank Lambert? A contractor by day, Super Dad by night. Our generation’s cooler, sexier, tougher Mike Brady. Just a good ol’ boy from Wisconsin doubling the number of kids under one roof just so he could call the ThighMaster chick his wife. Was that his only motivation? I can’t say for sure, but I’m willing to bet if someone that looked like Large Marge from Pee-wee’s Big Adventure showed up with that many kids, Dreamy Patrick Duffy would’ve sent her ass packing and re-upped his membership to whatever dating telephone hotline people used back then.

CONFESSION: Now I want Mike Brady and Frank Lambert to fight. It’s literally all I’ve been thinking about for the last 15 minutes. 

8- Carl Winslow, Family Matters

Carl Winslow

Who would break up the fight before Frank Lambert murdered Mike Brady on his AstroTurf lawn? I’ll tell you who: Carl Winslow. While Big Daddy Carl wasn’t fighting crime, he was protecting his beautiful daughter from getting caught up with the worst type of criminal: a nerd. I realize that’s the second colon I used in the same paragraph, and I’ll be honest, I’m not happy about it. But this is about Father’s Day and the type of father Carl Winslow was, not my writing style.

Steve Urkle is to blame for today’s modern nerd-chic look that Millennials are trying to pull off. Never played a sport and don’t have any muscle on your body because you spent your early adolescent years watching Urkle get shot down by beautiful Laura? Don’t worry, you can throw on some skinny jeans and button up your short sleeve dress shirt all the way and say you’re “just a total nerd”. I hear chicks are really into that, until they aren’t. Ok, enough about nerds. I liked talking about colons better. It’s Father’s Day, not Nerd’s Day. I’ll save my Urkle takes for another blog.

7- Arthur Spooner, King of Queens

Arthur Spooner

Speaking of colons, I bet this guy is on the once a year colonoscopy schedule. Arthur Spooner was the perfect yin to Doug Heffernan’s yang. Not only was he a great father to Carrie Heffernan (nee Spooner), he took on a father role for Spence and was one hell of a father-in-law to Doug despite their squabbles. He may have been a pain in the ass for Doug and Carrie at times while living in their basement but the show, their lives, and our lives would not be the same without Arthur Spooner roaming the streets as the Jester of Queens.


6- Frank Reynolds, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

Frank Reynolds

Frank Reynolds is one of the most complex dads on the list. Not only because he transformed from a successful business man to a derelict, but because we don’t really know if he’s anyone’s dad at all. He’s not Dennis and Dee’s biological father (no shit, look at them), but he miiiiight (Tony Romo voice) be Charlie’s dad? He also takes on the role of Mac’s (no relation) father throughout the series since Mac’s dad spends most of the series in prison or running away from his son’s shenanigans. The only reason Frank isn’t in my top three is because we don’t know if he’s actually a dad and I didn’t want that black mark on my record if anything is revealed in the final seasons that prove he’s just Charlie’s crazy roommate and not his biological father. I can’t really put into words why I love Frank Reynolds so much, so here’s a compilation of some of his best moments.

5- Alan Matthews, Boy Meets World

Alan Matthews

Alan Matthews might be the realest (no gimmicks) dad on the list. He’s not over the top, he’s not a bumbling idiot. He’s just a dad trying to keep shit together in a crazy, ever-changing world. He was never a rich man, but he never left his family wanting for more. As grocery store manager that never went to college, he always wanted better for his kids and even took in Cory’s best friend Shawn Hunter as basically his own since his family life wasn’t the greatest. After quitting his job as a grocery store manager, he became the manager of the sporting goods store his wife bought, finally ditching the 9-5 gig for a life he could pass down to his kids. That, my friends, is the American Dream (no disrespect to Dusty Rhodes).


4- Homer Simpson, The Simpsons

Homer Simpson

D’oh! While he wasn’t choking out Bart, getting out witted by Lisa, and forgetting about Maggie, Homer provided many laughs throughout my childhood. How he could hold the position as Safety Inspector at a nuclear power plant but constantly find himself operating like a buffoon in his personal life is something every modern man can relate to. I’m not the same person at home as I am while pumping out killer blogs from stolen WiFi at various places around the city, so why should Homer be? Homer is a great dad to observe, but might be hard to handle if you’re actually a kid of his. He’s the Michael Scott of dads, which is a comparison I just came up with and am very proud of myself. I don’t want to work for Michael Scott, but I love watching him manage. We’re not here to talk about Michael Scott though, despite the parallels. Check out next week’s soccer blog for Michael Scott filler material.


3- Philip Banks, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Philip Banks

As I was putting together the list, I didn’t think of the common recurring theme of taking in children that aren’t your own, but add Philip Banks to the list of men that check that box. Uncle Phil was a great character because he was the straight-man to Will Smith’s wacky character from West Philadelphia born and raised, on the playground where he spent most of his days. The line between child and nephew was often blurred when Will moved west and became sibling rival/best friend of Carlton, and a big brother to Ashley. Regardless of Will’s technical place on the family tree, Phil treated him as if he were his own, being a father first, and an uncle second. That’s why I prefer to call him Daddy Phil in the Mac Household.

I also just learned that Will Smith’s character’s name was Will Smith. I knew it was Will, but had no idea he carried over the last name Smith. It’s not a biopic so not sure why they couldn’t come up with a different last name, you know, to show us his character name wasn’t just an afterthought. Sorry for all of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air fanboys (and girls) I may have just pissed off. Will Smitherman would’ve been badass and just enough of a change where he could’ve still felt like himself. Not to mention, according to some website I just found, Smith is the third most common last name in Philadelphia so even if it wasn’t his real last name, it’s lazy.

2- Murray Goldberg, The Goldbergs

Murray Goldberg

I know I already gave Alan Matthews the title of the most realistic dad on the list, but Murray Goldberg is a close second. He’s everything you could expect from a dad in the 1980s. He’s brash, doesn’t help out much around the house, works long hours, doesn’t want to be bothered by his idiot kids, but when shit hits the fan he reveals himself as a caring and compassionate father. Plus, anyone who can just take off their pants the second they walk in the door and melt into their recliner is someone I envy. If you don’t watch The Goldbergs, I suggest you do. It might seem cheesy at first because of the 80s theme, but the characters are great and knowing it’s all based on true stories from Adam Goldberg’s childhood makes it even funnier. Check them out on ABC next fall. Promo code MILLIRON.

1- Phil Dunphy, Modern Family

Phil Dunphy

Successful realtor. Former cheerleader. Elite tumbler. Amateur magician. Master of Puns. Cool Dad.

Phil Dunphy.

The reason Phil Dunphy earned the top spot in this year’s Father’s Day Power Rankings was because he’s the perfect combination of all of the dads listed above. While he hasn’t taken in children that aren’t his own, he’s evolved with with the family he married into and hasn’t missed a step along the way. He’s funny, is no stranger to screwing up, puts his foot in his mouth constantly, balances family life and success in his career and is an all around fun and caring dad. While he may make his daughters, Haley (sup?) and Alex squirm, he finds common ground with Luke. Not to mention, he’s never shied away from making best buds with any of his daughters’ love interests.

Phil is the perfect TV dad, and you’ll never convince me otherwise. If you think I’m wrong, let me know on Twitter or comment below. You can try to sway me, but I have my heels dug in pretty deep on this one. Any man that can tumble like a six-year-old girl, sling million dollar houses, score a babe like Claire is #1 in my book.

Others receiving votes: That weird guy from the show that comes on after Monday Night Raw, the guy who knocked up the older/hot Kardashian and bailed, Antonio Cromartie, Joseph of Nazareth, and Whitty (I’ve seen him in the crowd at various sporting events). 

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