Dad's on TV keep changing. I can't speak much for what came before my time but I can say it has been dismal for a while. Pop-culture dads were showing up bafoonish, in the form of Homer Simpson and wannabes or weren't even existant at all. To be fair, real dads are and should be silly at times but I think the lack of good role models made it easy for us to let ourselves off the hook. Really, this father image was just an extension of the acceptable male image of the time. What happens when the dumb, milquetoast, codependent guy finally becomes a dad? To be fair, I don't watch many different shows anymore, so this list might be a very small percentage. Even then it's a start.
I'm fairly tired of watching gritty cop shows or gritty hospital dramas so that limits me quite a bit right there. However, one of the dads that seems decent on TV is from Criminal Minds (which I try not to watch but sometime you get stuck in the marathons). Aaron Hotchner, played by Thomas Gibson, has had many touching moments and many difficult moments in dealing with raising his son. All the serial killer who killed his ex-wife stuff aside his role as a father has been written and played well. Making a living and being a father can be a difficult thing to find balance it and that is important to show. He is a fairly cold seeming person, who has a warm relationship with his son.
Getting away from gritty cop shows that will keep you up at night worrying about the depravity of humanity, let's go to a humorous cop show - Castle. This show is formulaic in every way shape and form. However Rick Castle, played by Malcom Reynolds Nathan Fillion, is a good father. In fact the show often has his parenting dilemma a background story to the main murder investigation. Sometimes his case helps him parent better, sometimes it is the other way around. Yes, Castle can often times be juvenile but he, like all of us, still has an inner child that likes to play. This is good to show. Being a dad doesn't mean you can't have some fun.
Moving on from a silly show to another silly show, with serious overtones. I bring you Glee. I swear, all that singing out of nowhere happened at my school, okay maybe not. But it could have. The right people were there. I'm sorry where was I? Oh yeah, great fathers. This show has one of the best. Burt Hummel, played by Mike O'Malley,is the dad every outcast wants (and hey we all feel like an outcast now and then). His son, Kurt (I know, Kurt and Burt - the names are interesting in this show), is gay and deals with many things a gay son would deal with. As a heterosexual father he deals with them all magnifiscently. I can think of many great scenes where I thought to myself, wow what a great dad.
- Some that stick out:
- Telling his girlfriend's son, Finn, he can't live there after Finn starts talking about all Kurt's Faggy stuff. He had just invited them to live with him and this would probably ruin his new relationship
- Having a talk with his son about sex. How hard is this when both parties are heterosexual? He still does what he knows he needs to do for his son.
Basically, Dads are becoming important in pop culture again. Sure, some are still absent and some are still jokes but now some are stepping up to the plate. They aren't just showing up to the game and sitting on the bench. This is a good sign that the collective unconscious knows good dads are great characters. Here's to all the good dad's out there who show their great character every day they take the time to parent.