Andy Griffith - The Andy Griffith Show
Andy Griffith may be the most well known single father in all of television. His son Opie is often a challenge, especially for the busy small-town sheriff. Still, Andy always keeps it together and with as little stress as possible. Must be nice to be on television!
Mike Brady - The Brady Bunch
One marriage with six children, and only one mom and dad to keep it all together. Mike Brady found a way, making time for all of the children and providing a strong example for their future families… which would likely be nowhere nearly as big as his own!
Tim "the Tool Man" Taylor - Home Improvement
Tim "the Tool Man" Taylor may have had a penchant for injuring himself and others on his show Tool Time, but he also was great at being a dad. He rarely had the answers – in fact, most of his answers came from his neighbor Wilson - but he was always willing to seek out what advice and change his tune. That says a lot.
Hank Hill - King of the Hill
Hank Hill is the king of propane-themed one liners and hilarious moral comments (“I wasn't flirting with her! I didn't even mention that I worked in propane!”), but he is also a wonderful dad to his son Bobby and his niece Luanne. He may not understand them (“that boy ain’t right!”), but his love for them is never in doubt, even if he has difficulty expressing it.
Danny Tanner - Full House
Full House is one of the cheesiest shows that has ever been on television, but the rosy plots and cheerful atmosphere made it a true classic. Bob Sagget’s character may not be a reflection of his true character at all, but we didn’t know that way back then!
Herman Munster - the Munsters
If this list didn’t include the Ninja Turtles, the Munsters would be the strangest family on here. Much like the show, which was a satirical look at the sitcoms of that time period, Herman is a satire of several of the fathers on this list. Funny, caring, stern, and ultimately, still a monster anyway you look at it.
Cliff Huxtable - the Cosby Show
Bill Cosby plays Cliff Huxtable, but it is apparent that much of the time he is just being his sarcastic and full-of-wisdom self. His family is often hilarious while taking on serious issues, and at the end of the day Cliff always has the best advice and one liners for any situation.
Burt Hummel - Glee
Burt Hummel has a unique situation – a gay son and a stepson who are the same age. Fortunately, the two get along, but Burt has a lot on his plate with his own health concerns and the often harsh treatment of his son Kurt at school. While he isn’t a singer, his scenes are often some of the most memorable in any given episode, and he never backs down from a difficult situation.
The Dads of Modern Family
Modern Family is the family-centric answer to the Office. Much like the Office did for workplaces, it that captures accurately the madness of family and extended family. The fathers play a huge part, and they all come from all different places. While they make silly mistakes, mostly to get a laugh out of us, it is always obvious that they care about their children and that they are trying to be better parents – when they aren’t wasting time talking to a camera.
Ward Cleaver - Leave it to Beaver
Ward Cleaver is the quintessential father figure – stern, caring, hardworking, and willing to make jokes when necessary. The show was written from Beaver’s point of view, but even with all of his problem causing he still saw his father in the best light possible.
Carl Winslow - Family Matters
Steve Urkel may have been the rightful star of this show, but he always had the backing of policeman Carl Winslow. Carl was the father of three children – none of whom were actually Steve Urkel. While Steve was only the next door neighbor, Mr. Winslow was always there to protect him and give him advice, always making him feel like a part of the family.
Chris Brinkley - Up All Night
When Reagan (Christina Applegate) and Chris (Will Arnett) finally have their baby, Chris chooses to leave his high-powered law firm to be a full-time stay-at-home daddy. For most sitcoms this would be an excuse to create a clutzy, borderline-idiotic father figure who ends up washing the baby in the dishwasher for yuks. But Chris is the rare sitcom father who is actually believable. He's not perfect, he makes mistakes, but he truly is trying to raise his daughter and keep his marriage strong at the same time.
Splinter - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
I know, I know, Splinter isn’t actually their father, but I figure if we are talking about a world where human-sized turtles wielding nunchucks is okay, then Splinter is more than enough of a father figure to make the list. He is both the karate-champion elder and nurturer to his turtles. He may shake his head at their antics but he always appreciates them for who they are – heroes in a half shell.
Eric Camden - Seventh Heaven
Pastor Camden plays the often conflicted roles of preacher and husband. His home life is typically the center of the show’s drama, with the churches’ problems as only the backdrop to his overwhelming home life. It is an interesting illustration as many pastors find themselves overworked with balancing their life at home and at work.
Anthony Micelli - Who's the Boss?
Anthony Micelli (Tony Danza) is a loving father to Samantha (Alyssa Milano), so much so that he moves to make a better life for her… by becoming a nanny (a manny, I suppose). The often awkward show picked a zany way to show the joys of fatherhood, but it accomplished it just the same.