Quiz: Test your TV dad knowledge
Life has historically been demanding for dads on TV, what with all the dead moms (Bonanza, The Andy Griffith Show, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, My Three Sons, Full House, etc.).
Bloodlines were often optional – as with the ‘80s primetime craze of rich white people adopting undersized black kids (Diff’rent Strokes, Webster). Or they could be once-removed, like playboy bachelor/architect Uncle Bill (Brian Keith) who took in Buffy, Jody and Cissy on Family Affair after the death of their parents.
The unspoken message about single parenting: Better off dead than divorced. (It occasionally worked the other way. The Partridge Family operated off a dead-dad scenario).
And even within the nuclear family, dads have devolved from benign dictators (Leave It to Beaver) to doofuses (Homer Simpson). In between was the Happy Days’ kvetching and sarcastic Mr. C, the easygoing psychologist Tom Seaver (Alan Thicke) on Growing Pains and various degrees of bumblers – Al Bundy of Married… With Children, Hal from Malcolm In The Middle (Bryan Cranston, a million miles removed from the shark-like, meth-dealing Walt White), ALF’s Willie Tanner, Family Guy’s Peter Griffin.
Good old dad. We love him even though he’s usually portrayed as dumber than a good-hearted bag of hammers.
So to mark this Father’s Day, here’s a paternity round from past to present.