Maybe your favorite TV dad helped install a moral center in you, maybe he taught you that TV moms are always way out of the TV dad’s league in the looks department, or maybe he was a bastard, or a moron, or both. Regardless, all TV dads exist to teach us about life, but that isn’t always a good thing. So, if you’re about to have a kid, starting to think about it, already have a cuteness bomb rolling around your living room waiting to explode, or find yourself in a position where you are sometimes called upon to guard the precious mind of someone else’s child, there are a few things you can learn from TV dads about what not to do.
Don’t Expose Your Kids To Your Bad Behavior – Scrubs
Dr. Perry Cox (John C. McGinley) made his mark on Sacred Heart Hospital by being the surly father figure no one – except for J.D. (Zach Braff) – really wanted, but everyone admittedly needed. To no surprise, his darker outlook on life didn’t change when he had kids of his own. He treated his infant son Jack like a drinking buddy to the point where his first complete sentence was “Daddy drinks a lot.” Word of advice? Once kids are old enough to know that you’re not drinking apple juice, it may be time to cut back or find a sitter.
Don’t Get Your Kid Drunk – Breaking Bad
Just in case you were wondering, “turning your kid into an active drinker” isn’t a legit option either. When Walter White (Bryan Cranston) decided to be a cool dad and let his son, Walter Jr. (R.J. Mitte), drink tequila as his first drink, one shot turned into two and then three and then vomit in the family pool. Whether you think the takeaway here is, “never give your kid liquor” or “cleaning vomit out of the filter of a pool is time-consuming and/or costly,” you’ll never forget this lesson.
Don’t Tell Your Kid What You Think Of Them — Seinfeld
Christmas can be a stressful for parents, but creating a new holiday, as George Costanza’s (Jason Alexander) father Frank (Jerry Stiller) did with Festivus, probably isn’t the answer. Especially when said holiday includes an unfiltered airing of grievances among the family and a living-room wrestling match called “The Feats of Strength.” Leave the aluminum pole in the crawl space and book a vacation with the money you’d have to spend on your kids therapy bills next time you ponder the true value of a Festivus miracle.
Don’t Forget Which Kid Is Which — Full House
Jesse Katsopolis (John Stamos) was an amazing uncle but a middling father based solely on the time that he couldn’t tell his identical twins apart. This one’s an easy one to steer clear of if you have twins. Just mark one of them with a sharpie and go about your day. Or, dress one in hideous and loud attire and the other in normal clothes just to see how it impacts their personalities as they grow up. Remember, parenthood is an 18-year experiment.
Don’t Choke Off Your Kids’ Freedom — Arrested Development
Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) could have handled his son’s move to a college dorm with a little more grace and chill. Instead, he moved in with him and forced George Michael to choose freedom over family (in as much as is possible with the Bluth family). You may think that you’re a long way away from having to keep your sh*t together as your kid leaves the nest, but if you keep finding reasons to drop off pudding cups at their preschool, you’re already on the slippery slope, so cut it out.
Don’t Drag Your Kids Into Court – The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
This feels like an obvious one, but occasionally, parents may play a cruel joke on their kids and make them think that they’re going to get in serious trouble just to teach them a lesson. Uncle Phil (James Avery) took that idea to a very unnecessary level when he took Will (Will Smith) and Carlton (Alfonso Ribeiro) to court after busting up their pool party. Daytime talk shows and a courtroom: If either of these are a part of your parenting strategy, you may want to buy a parenting eBook to get yourself right.
Don’t Trick Your Kids Into Digging Up The Grave Of Their Mom — It’s Always Sunny
As we continue into the extreme end of the spectrum, here’s another one that you probably won’t encounter. Pissed that the gang had said that he was “slipping,” Frank Reynolds (Danny DeVito) tricked his kids into digging up what they had been convinced was their mother’s hollow grave in an effort to find treasure. When the coffin swung open, Dennis’ (Glenn Howerton) brain broke as he saw his mother’s dead rotting body and he began to cry, “My mommy, my mommy’s a skeleton!” while Frank celebrated his evil victory. Again, super important to teach your kids life lessons and “respecting your elders” is a vital one, but, you know, don’t use graverobbing and psychological warfare as tools in that pursuit.
Don’t Burn Your Kids At The Stake – Game of Thrones
Again, you’re not going to come across this one, but it’s good to put it out there. Listen, we know that kids can sometimes stand in the way of certain life goals, but parenting is about sacrifice. So, if a priestess dressed in red (Carice van Houten) tells you to burn a child at the stake in order to win a war, you should not do that.
Not on the same level, but you should also refrain from instilling in your kids an appreciation for extreme and unsportsmanlike celebrations in the midst of athletic “achievement” like Jason Jones’ character does in this clip from The Detour. Act like you’ve been there, man.
Catch ‘The Detour’ on Mondays at 9/8c on TBS.