STUDY: A Highly Scientific Analysis of the Best (and Worst) TV Dads

Cue scandalous wooing and cheering now.

If you’re simply scraping along the surface of the world of television family dynamics, it may appear for the most part that the moms are at constant odds with the dads, eternally fighting to maintain a semblance of order and decency in this mixed-up and crazy world. But as in real-life parenting, it’s a good-cop-bad-cop ruse on the part of TV show creators—a tag-team one-two punch used to trick the kids into making the mistake of fearing one and trusting the other.

In honor of the disciplinary bond that oftentimes outlasts the bond of matrimony itself, we have done our duty here by taking the 100% methodical, precise formula used to determine the best and worst TV moms and applying it to some of their male counterparts below. Altered slightly to reflect a more accurate Overall Dad Score, or ODS, this study breaks down paternal qualities across the essential categories of Lovability, Funability, Wisdomability, and Fan Favoriteability, naturally.

And no, we don’t have to tell mom.

Mike Brady — The Brady Bunch

Lovability: 9/10
Funability: 4/10
Wisdomability: 8/10
Fan Favoriteability: 3/10

Overall Dad Score: 6/10 — Winner of the “Prettiest Ties” category.

Danny Tanner — Full House

Lovability: 8/10
Funability: 5/10
Wisdomability: 7/10
Fan Favoriteability: 5/10

Overall Dad Score: 6/10 — There’s something pretty suspicious about a guy who can afford a place like that in San Francisco.

Al Bundy — Married with Children

Loveability: 1/10
Funability: 2/10
Wisdomability: 7/10
Fan Favoriteability: 9/10

Overall Dad Score: 5/10 — Breaking the fourth wall rounds up ODS scores, FYI.

Lou Smith — The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Lovability: 0/10
Funability: 0/10
Wisdomability: 0/10
Fan Favoriteability: 0/10

Overall Dad Score: 0/10 — All aboard the feels train.

Homer Simpson — The Simpsons

Lovability: 8/10
Funability: 9/10
Wisdomability: 6/10
Fan Favoriteability: 10/10

Overall Dad Score: 8/10 — Nobody ruins his family vacation but him (and maybe the boy), and you’ve really just got to respect that.

Frank Costanza — Seinfeld

Lovability: 4/10
Funability: 5/10
Wisdomability: 5/10
Fan Favoriteability: 8/10

Overall Dad Score: 5/10 — Hard to knock the legend who came up with Festivus, but we’re talking about someone who was more concerned with the Yankees trading Jay Buhner than the reported death of his own son.

Red Forman — That ’70s Show

Lovability: 2/10
Funability: 2/10
Wisdomability: 10/10
Fan Favoriteability: 8/10

Overall Dad Score: 6/10 — A role that somehow allowed Kurtwood Smith to seem even crankier than when he played the villain in RoboCop.

Hal — Malcolm in the Middle

Lovability: 8/10
Funability: 8/10
Wisdomability: 5/10
Fan Favoriteability: 8/10

Overall Dad Score: 7/10 — The number of scenes featuring Bryan Cranston in tighty-whities is a bit concerning (foreshadowing!), but he’s still one of the most graceful roller-skaters we’ve ever seen.

Jeff Greene — Curb Your Enthusiasm

Lovability: 7/10
Funability: 7/10
Wisdomability: 4/10
Fan Favoriteability: 7/10

Overall Dad Score: 6/10 — Larry’s fault.

Don Draper — Mad Men

Lovability: 2/10
Funability: 2/10
Wisdomability: 2/10
Fan Favoriteability: 2/10

Overall Dad Score: 2/10 — If a cigarette is smoked in the woods and Don’s kids aren’t there to breathe it secondhand, is he still a bad dad?

George Bluth, Sr. — Arrested Development

Lovability: 3/10
Funability: 5/10
Wisdomability: 7/10
Fan Favoriteability: 8/10

Overall Dad Score: 5/10 — Gotta give him credit for holding down the Bluth family rep in prison.


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