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Top 12 Sitcom Style TV Dads

By Cody |

I grew up watching sitcoms on weekday nights. My dad, sisters and I would sit back and pick an episode of Home Improvement, Family Matters, Full House, or The Cosby Show among other selections. I can still hear my dad’s laugh while he was watching those shows.

Even after I moved out of my parents home and married my wife, I continued to watch sitcom television shows that featured various types of dads. Currently, my DVR is about half full of sitcoms and I can’t imagine that ever changing.

After stepping into a bit of a storm last month with my ill-advised decision to publish a post entitled Top 10 Things Mothers do Better than Fathers, I learned for the first time that the dad blog community had been frustrated with shows like Home Improvement.  Apparently, Tim Taylor did not do justice to the real dads who are trying to fix the mainstream image of the “hands-off dad” for fathers everywhere.

I can understand this sentiment. Tim Taylor was certainly not a model father. In fact, many of these shows mock fathers as incompetent dipsticks, blundering around trying to fulfill their rather limited roles as fathers. I have always viewed fathers in these types of shows as a combination of every bad, funny, or quirky characteristic from every father I’ve ever known all jammed into one fictional person. That’s part of the reason I find these shows so funny. I can watch an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond and point to certain things Ray says and identify which father I know who has similar characteristics. And sometimes the bad characteristic is one of my bad characteristics–I’m not a perfect father either.

The truth is fathers from shows like Home Improvement don’t do justice to many of the fathers out there. Many fathers are stay-at-home parents who have mastered the art of caring for their children. Other single fathers juggle a work schedule and their role as a parent and do it quite well. There are fathers who work full time jobs in order to support their children and do what they can to care for their children and do an admirable job in their parenting role.

As a father who goes to work each day and only gets to spend a few hours a day with my kids, I am secure in the type of father I am.  No matter how many shows I watch about blundering dads, those dads will not be the judge of the type of father I am to my children. For me, watching these types of shows does nothing to affect my sense of security as a father. Instead, they allow me to sit back and have a good laugh.

Although I know that many dads are “working earnestly to be taken seriously as parents and sometimes can’t afford senses of humor about it,” I’m a dad who wouldn’t enjoy this world all that much if I couldn’t find humor in parenting.

When you really look for it, you can see some good qualities in some of the dads in sitcoms.  Here is my list of some of the best sitcom style TV dads:

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The Best Dads from Television's Many Sitcoms

#12. Frank Lambert

The twelfth best sitcom style TV dad on my list is Frank Lambert of Step By Step. I know, I know. This sitcom was pretty cheesy, but I still sit back and watch a few episodes here and there reminiscing from my days of adolescence. A father of three kids from a previous marriage, Frank Lambert, married his second wife who already had three kids of her own. The family learns to adjust to each others' funny quirks and Frank Lambert picks up a few new parenting tricks from his new wife, Carol Foster.

Read more about my family on Moosh in Indy or follow me on Twitter!

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About Cody



Cody is a father, husband, practicing attorney, and loyal football fan who is outnumbered by girls in every area of his life. He's also been known to drink maple syrup straight out of the bottle. Read bio and latest posts → Read Cody's latest posts →

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13 thoughts on “Top 12 Sitcom Style TV Dads

  1. neal says:

    Hey Cody,

    I’m not an aficiando (I know I spelled that wrong, but whatever) of sitcom dads, but I just wanted to say I think it’s classy to admit up-front what your blogging mistakes have been (with the link you mentioned), when some people might be inclined to defend themselves to the death. I’m new to blogging too (and a fairly new father), and I hope people cut me some slack when I do stupid stuff, which I’m sure I already do, and which I’m sure I’ll do in the future. But I’m interested to see both in myself and in others the way a person can evolve to become both a better person and to be better at the activities they decide to explore. A person who evolves and learns from their past is someone I’m interested in following. A person who admits their faults and then shares how they’re trying to rectify them gets a thumbs-up from me.

  2. theycallmecody says:

    @Neal, thanks for the comment. No question I made a mistake with that previous post. Lots of people have asked why I haven’t removed the post, but I think removing the post would be the easy way out. I made the mistake and I should deal with the aftermath and hopefully learn a lesson from the experience.

    I started reading your blog a few weeks ago and thought it was really good. My wife stumbled on your blog and fell in love with it last week. She sent me a link on Friday and told me I would like your blog. For once, I was a few steps ahead of her in the blogging world.

  3. caseymullins says:

    Cody swears “perspires love” is an actual thing and that he totally meant to use the word perspire. We just had a five minute discussion about it, involved google and he stands strong with his use of the word perspire. I tried people.
    Signed, Cody’s Wife.

  4. Erin Marie says:

    I read “perspire” and was confused. But then I looked at it, and I think it’s a legit phrase. I get what it means. I was going to comment just to say that I loved that phrase. My vote goes to Cody in that debate. :-)

    1. theycallmecody says:

      @Erin, Thank You! Finally, I may win one of these internet debates with my wife.

  5. neal says:

    Now I have proof to show my wife that not ALL the clicks on my blog are from two Capuchin monkeys in Brazil.

  6. neal says:

    Also, I’m enjoying imagining what “perspiring love” would be like. Maybe I’m doing it now. We don’t own an air-conditioner, and my daughter just gave me her bed-time hug (after a bit of a wrestling match and a tearful time-out).

    1. theycallmecody says:

      @Neal, I think you got it right. Actually, what I was going for was a person who can’t control the love that comes out of him/her. Kind of like how we can’t control the sweat that comes out of us on a hot day in a non-air conditioned room.

  7. Miriam Christina says:

    Daddy Phil from Modern Family! I think he’s hilarious!

    1. theycallmecody says:

      @Miriam, he also lives in SLC. I love Modern Family.

  8. Chad says:

    I would like to try to clear up one thing. You wrote:

    “For me, watching these types of shows does nothing to affect my sense of security as a father. Instead, they allow me to sit back and have a good laugh.”

    I have been an at-home dad for 12 years. For most of that I never really thought about sitcoms and diaper commercials. It was when I went to my first at-home dad convention and got connected to this larger organization that I began to care. I started to care about the way dads are portrayed in the media not because they affect my sense of security as a father, but because they impact the way larger society sees dads. And those have real impacts.

    The impact the way the census counts dads and childcare which impacts spending and policy. They impact the way fathers are treated in court.

    And as an at-home dad they impact the way society sees you and interacts with you. For heaven’s sake the go to phrase for at-home dads comes from a nearly 30 year old movie.

    As Hanna Rosin put it in her recent article on Slate, “The Evolution of the Doltish Dad”

    “It might be hard for you to muster up much sympathy for a bunch of beleaguered white guys, but you should, because the TV doltish dad has become a genuine block to social progress. Seriously. Over the last 60 years women have rapidly changed their role in the public domain and TV has chronicled it all, from Mary Tyler Moore to Murphy Brown to Hannah Horvath. But white men, in cinema as in life, remain “fixed in cultural aspic,” as Jessica Grose memorably put it. The dads evolve but only in tiny increments, and very slowly.

    Until very recently, a guy who wanted to stay at home or be earnest about fatherhood could not see his image reflected on TV, which essentially meant he did not exist. About a year ago in a story about breadwinner wives I wrote that I was “startled” by the sight of a stay-at-home dad making hand-print T-shirts for the teachers in my preschool. I’ve thought a lot about my use of the word “startled” since then. What was so startling, exactly? I think I just had no category to put him in. A lifetime of TV has taught me that a scene like that ends with a mess all over the walls or one of the kids accidentally dunked in the paint bucket. It does not end, as Chris Rock’s Vic insists about his afternoon with the toddlers, with the dad declaring that he’s really the one “living the dream.””

    So I hope you can understand this isn’t about insecurity as a father. It is about changing society. And that means, at least in part, changing the media.

    1. theycallmecody says:

      @Chad–Like I said, I’m someone who wouldn’t enjoy this world all that much if I couldn’t see the humor in all aspects of it. However, I understand what you’re saying and don’t necessarily disagree with the underlying premise of what you are saying. I’m not sure how the perception of fathers affects policy, but I do know, as a lawyer who goes to court quite often, I haven’t seen the court treat fathers any differently than mothers. This is because in a family law type situation, when we look at what’s in the best interests of the children we look at who has actually been providing the care for the children. There’s really no room to evaluate preconceived notions of which gender would better care for the children. There was a time several decades ago when there was a presumption in favor of the mother, but that was found to be unconstitutional a long time ago and really has had no part in court since. Thanks for the comment, I enjoy discussions like this.

  9. sex says:

    Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic blog post.Really thank you! Keep writing.

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