The Fatherly Wisdom Of Jerry Stiller, TV’s Most Lovable Angry Dad

When it comes to the best fathers and paternal role models in television and movie history, we tend to celebrate those that are a little more traditional. We look at dads like Jim Anderson, Ward Cleaver, Jason Seaver, Phil Dunphy, Ned Flanders, and Heathcliff Huxtable, among others, when referring to the fictional guys that real fathers should aim to be like in handling their typical kids. But fake fatherhood is a unique obligation, in that different imaginary dads need to handle their imaginary kids with creative styles that fit the situation. After all, while one kid may be a sweet, perfect angel like Rudy Huxtable, the next 10 could end up turning into sketchy con artists like Maeby Fünke.

That’s why I’ve always wondered what sitcom life could have been like if we’d been able to see the amazing late-in-life fathers that Jerry Stiller has played on The King of Queens and Seinfeld raising children and not just being there with his sane, rational adult daughter, Carrie Heffernan, or his man-baby son, George Costanza. Regardless, Stiller’s recently beloved fatherly characters, Zoolander’s father figure Maury Ballstein included, have given those of us who might someday be dads plenty of solid material to work with. For no reason other than my biological Garfield clock is ticking, I decided to put together this collection of Stiller’s fictional fatherly wisdom, so we can all embrace the madness of a genius.

On accountability:

On transparency:

On romance:

On the Christmas spirit:

On being the better man:

On family:

On appreciating the little things:

On classic movies:

On fiscal responsibility:

On sports:

On fashion:

On wasting food:

On accepting inevitabilities:

On regret:

On taking the high road:

On birthdays:

On recycling:

On irony:

On personal appearances:

On culinary appreciation:

And, of course, on achieving inner peace: