Televisions serve so many wonderful purposes: educational tools, living room centerpieces, fishbowls, surrogate parents, and how-to manuals. Some of us learned how to be cool from TV. Some of us picked up other life lessons, as well. If you’re a dad, for instance, it’s hard to imagine that you didn’t pick up a few tricks on how to be a cool and caring dad from Danny Tanner or Carl Winslow. So with that in mind, and with Father’s Day upon us, let’s take a look at some of the coolest dads in TV history.
Danny Tanner – Full House
Danny might not have been the most outwardly cool dad, but look at the situation:
A recently widowed guy with a sweet job in TV knows he can’t do it himself, so he invites his hilarious buddy who knows about sports and puppets, and his brother-in-law who knows about great hair, rock-n-roll, and motorcycles to move in. He covered all the bases, and when things got tough they got a dog or called the Beach Boys to come help out.
Sandy Cohen – The O.C.
A surfing lawyer who is loving and supportive of his nerdish son and his rag-tag troupe of ridiculously attractive friends. Always available for a good talking to, the wisdom just seeped out of his eyebrows.
Uncle Phil – The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Uncle Phil barely tolerated his wife’s nephew Will in the early going, but he soon embraced his role as a guide to the well-meaning yet goofy and sometimes trouble-making kid from West Philly. If you needed a hug or someone to get you out of a debt at a pool hall, Uncle Phil was there. He treated Will like he was one of his own kids — who he was also stern yet loving with. That’s pretty damn cool.
Coach Taylor – Friday Night Lights
Eric Taylor didn’t always do the best job of establishing a work/life balance thanks to his job as a high school football coach, but he was fiercely protective of his daughter and he and Tami Taylor were a fine example of a loving and committed couple. He was also always there for the players on his team as a second dad. Coach was effortlessly cool. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!
Bob Belcher – Bob’s Burgers
Unless creatively named burgers are cool, Bob, as an individual, is not cool at all. BUT, as a dad, the guy is the coolest. He works hard and tries to instill responsibility in his kids who just happen to be the funniest, weirdest, most disturbingly awkward kids on television. They’re spectacular and Bob’s outbursts and thoughtful neglect completely fosters their development.
Phil Dunphy – Modern Family
The only thing consistent about Modern Family, besides how it keeps winning awards, is the greatness of Ty Burrell’s Phil Dunphy. Imagine being raised by someone who is fully and cluelessly positive, supportive, and wacky. Then, all of a sudden, when you need some parenting… BAM! here he comes. He lays it on thick, parents the hell out of you, makes you a better person then sells a house.
Carl Winslow – Family Matters
A good man with the patience of a saint who somehow put up with Steve Urkel for all those years. And the man can shake it, as you can see above.
Mitch Leery – Dawson’s Creek
Maybe not the flashiest choice, but as far as pure fatherin’ goes, Mitch Leary, up until his untimely death, was a boss. What do you do when your whiny kid desperately wants to be Spielberg? You support the hell out of him, that’s what you do.
RIP Mitch Leary. Too bad Pacey wasn’t your kid, that guy was awesome.
Tim Taylor – Home Improvement
Tim Taylor wasn’t inherently cool. He thought he was awesome, which led to so many hilarious blunders. Thus, he was not. Oh the 90’s!
“The Tool Man” makes this list because of the perks that come with having him as a father. The bedrooms he built his kids were basically the inspiration for Pimp My Ride (probably). With a little help from Wilson and Al, it didn’t matter that Tim was clueless, he got the job done.
Am I the only one who still wants one of those bedrooms?
Jed Bartlet – The West Wing
What do you call a guy who is the father to three successful daughters, a Nobel Laureate in Economics, and a loving husband despite being raised by an abusive father himself?
Mr. President, that’s what you call him. He might not always be around, but you get free rides in luxurious black SUV’s and you always have armed gunmen at your beckon call.