The Top 10 TV Dads EVER!!

When I was growing up in the 1980s, summer smelled like coconuts, sweet tea and chlorine. I watched a TON of TV, especially on summer break. About 95% of my TV viewing occurred mostly in my swimsuit because I migrated back and forth between the public pool and tv. I would stay at the pool with my best friends from noon to 6:00 p.m. when the pool closed. I even reasoned that it was a waste of time to shower because everybody knows the chemicals in the pool water completely sanitize both the water and everybody in it. Also, I would like to point out that sunscreen was not even invented, and I’m here to tell you that even if it WAS invented nobody would have used it back then because everyone wanted to be TAN. Nothing signifies the beginning of summer quite like a second degree sunburn. Who would have predicted that 30 years later I would have developed a vitamin D deficiency?

Anyway, after 6 hours at the pool, I’d come home, have dinner, and park myself in front of the television until I passed out.
Periodically, my mom would come in and say, “Turn that thing off! It’s been on TOO long!” So I would turn it off, wait a few minutes and turn it BACK on. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that part of what we base our expectations of fatherhood on the approximately 3000 hours of input into our tiny little psyches.

Nothing says Happy Father’s Day like a list of the best TV Dads.

10. Dan Conner from “Roseanne” would have been much higher in the lineup except for the unfortunate last season he cheated on Roseanne. Good dads cannot be cheaters! Before that happened, though, Dan was an awesome Dad who loved his kids and worked hard to support the family. He was real, too…a bit overweight which didn’t matter so much because come on, so is Roseanne. Those two were a match made in TV Land heaven. This clip is the one where Dan gets bailed out by Darlene. Yes, he’s in jail–for beating up Jackie’s boyfriend for beating her up. Because justice.

9. Mr. Krabbs from “Spongebob.” This was Mancub’s vote so I had to include it. Although he’s depicted as a penny-pinching stinge, nothing helps him open up that rusty wallet like his whale of a daughter, Pearl. He’s a single dad, too. Way to go Mr. Krabbs.

8.Ray Barone from “Everyone Loves Raymond.” Also a writer, Ray’s whining sometimes gets irritating but my favorite episode? When Ray drives to Jersey to get Allie the special trading card she wants, not knowing that it’s a super expensive collector’s card. And he gets it for her anyway. Also, when Ray encouraged his boys to be the best fairies in the school play. Love it.

7.Richard Gilmore from “Gilmore Girls.” I know he can be a bit snobby and pretensious, but come on! He made mistakes when raising Lorelai, but then he more than made up for it with Rory.

6.Jim Halpert from “The Office.” Even though Dwight tries to guilt trip Jim for working late when his daughter CeCe is at home, he’s actually seen changing a diaper in one of the episodes. Score!

5.Adam Braverman from Parenthood. One of the most patient and tolerant dads of TVdom, he manages to be firm yet kind with his unruly brood, even when his wife has cancer, his son’s autistic, he has a new baby and he’s managing a new business.

4.Stephen Keaton from Family Ties. Father of future superstar Michael J. Fox, Mr. Keaton could do no wrong. Even though he was a bit of a (gasp!) hippy…Mr. Keaton really was the “cool” dad.

3. Andy Griffith from the Andy Griffith Show.

I had such a crush on Andy! I would love to know the total amount of hair gel he used in his TV career. Also a single dad, Andy managed to keep the sleepy town of Mayberry safe while also taking time out to take little Opie fishing. Aww!

2.Paul Hennessy from 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. Paul is a writer so right away you know he’s just good people. Ok this is not always true but Paul is the real deal. Even though he managed to be kind of bullied by his teenagers, you know deep down that he’s just a giant softie and that if any of his kids were threatened, CRAP WILL GET REAL.

1. Charles Ingalls from Little House in the Prairie. A perfect mix of brawn, hard-working ethic and prayer, Pa was awesome. Did I mention he could also kick some prairie butt if necessary?

Don’t like my list? Think I skipped someone? Put it in the comments section below! 🙂

5 Life Lessons I Learned from Watching “Little House on the Prairie”

Ok, I’m a bit of a dork. Some might even say “sappy dork.” I’m a sucker for mushy love songs, valentines cards and romantic dates. I also, for as long as I remember, have loved shows like “Little House on the Prairie” or corny Hallmark movies based loosely on any Janette Oke book EVER WRITTEN. It doesn’t matter what it is … I will watch it. And God help us ALL if there’s some kind of marathon on because life as we know it will come to a screeching halt so I can watch Half-Pint trudge up the side of that windy mountain to pray to God to save her little brother. I’ll sit there, tears pouring out, a sob in my chest, transfixed, waiting for Pa and Mr. Edwards to find her. Everything is right in the world.

I love stories about the first pioneers settling the Old West. Don’t get me wrong: I wouldn’t last five minutes living in the Ingalls family’s tiny lopsided shack, stripped bare of running water, air conditioning, and proper plumbing. But it’s still nice to dream about a simpler time, before Pizza Hut and Mine Craft, Rated R TV shows and emails. For real.

When somebody asked me why I love these shows so much, I realized there are some very applicable life lessons to be learned from these kinds of shows. For brevity’s sake, I’ve listed 5 for you.

1. Ma and Pa can do ANYTHING. Build a log cabin from split logs? Check. Kill a chicken and have it on the table for dinner? Check. Plant 105 acres of wheat with nothing but a mule and muscle? Check check. They don’t need anyone’s help, they don’t need credit cards, and they don’t owe anyone anything. Can I get an amen from the house? If Caroline was here right now, I’d give her a fist bump, if she had the time.

2. There’s nothing a good fiddlin’ session can’t cure. Burly, tanned Pa, after working the fields all day, whips out his fiddle for a couple of hours, and everything is right in the world. Can you tell I had a bit of a crush on Michael Landon as a girl? Is it that obvious?

3. Sometimes, people just need their butts kicked. There was rarely an episode where Pa didn’t, after a lot of prayer and seeking God’s will, punch somebody’s lights out who REALLY HAD IT COMING. Pioneer justice RULES. Did anybody come put Pa in jail for assault and battery? Nah. First of all, they didn’t have one and it would take the next town’s sheriff approximately 40 days to travel there to even enquire about it. Go Pa!

4. Fashion is an option. Remember how all the Ingalls girls wore the exact same dress to Sunday School each week? Ma, in yet another selfless act of devotion, took the light blue material meant to be used to make her own dress to miraculously sew three dresses for her rag-tag kiddoes. I don’t know how much material Pa thought Ma needed, but I’d be super mad if it stretched THAT far. Can you imagine how much it would cut down on laundry if your kids only had one school outfit and one church outfit? Man.

5. Family comes first, and good friends are worth their weight in gold. Even in Walnut Grove, you sometimes need backup. You never know when you’ll need them if the bull gets out or someone comes down with the influenza or a real bad cold or smallpox.

Hey look! It’s a Little House marathon. I can’t wait to see what that Nellie Oleson is gonna try this time!


Mancub, Roseanne and Bonding


I came into the living room to find Mancub sprawled out in front of the TV, taking up the chair, the ottoman, and part of the living room floor with his ginormous 16 wide-sized feet. He was watching…get this…reruns of Roseanne! I could not believe it. As he chuckled at Roseanne’s antics, my heart welled with pride and somehow, I felt, we’d never been closer. Note to the reader: this picture does not accurately reflect Nate’s gigantic size.

As an 80s kid, I watched tons of television.
I watched The Brady Bunch, Family Ties, Magnum P.I., I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, The Flintstones, Gilligan’s Island, Fantasy Island, Dallas, Knight Rider, Little House on the Prairie, Scooby Doo and Batman (the original, not-so-cool Batman with Adam West).

When my grandma babysat me in her tiny retirement community apartment that smelled like cigarette butts and potted plants, she loved to watch The Price is Right, followed by All My Children and General Hospital.

Honestly, I don’t know how she could stand watching T.V. with my 8-year-old self. I would often run around her apartment like a crazed lunatic, pretending Bob Barker had chosen ME out of the crowd to win a new washer and dryer set and a lifetime supply of Rice-A-Roni. She never did tell me to quiet down or stop being nutso. I think her little stash of Kentucky bourbon had something to do with it. By the time As The World Turns was on, she was prettttty relaxed and open to suggestions.

At home, I have to say that my favorite TV family was the Connors of Roseanne, BEFORE they won the lottery. This is such an important distinction. After they won the money and Dan cheated on Roseanne, I couldn’t watch it anymore.

Do you remember Roseanne? If you are over 30 you could not miss her.

She pretty much blew away any kind of preconceptions of motherhood and wifedom with her self-proclaimed title, “Domestic Goddess.” She was loudmouthed, irreverent, but most of all, honest.

My mom and dad both loved the show, and life would freaking STOP when Roseanne was on.

Other than my dad’s short obsession with Star Trek, I can’t think of any other show that held my family captive. Each week, we sat, suspended in time with baited breath, just waiting to see what kind of stunt Roseanne was gonna pull this time.

Was she going to “tell off” her boss at Wellman Plastics? Was Jackie going to take her young hottie boss (a raven-haired 20ish George Clooney) up on the date he asked her on last week? I couldn’t wait to find out.

For thirty minutes every Tuesday, time stood still. Dishes sat in the sink and laundry waited in the dryer. Roseanne was on!

And here, in my living room, the tradition continues. My DNA is in that boy–and here is proof.

Who is your all-time favorite TV family? Prove it by voting here.