On this Father’s Day I’m remembering some of the good portrayals of dads on television which sadly is few and far between.
One of the best ones that comes to mind is “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” starring the late Bill Bixby. I loved that show as a kid because I grew up without a father figure so I lived vicariously through Eddie. I loved the opening of the show the most because they usually showed a touching father and son moment before playing the theme song by Harry Nilsson.
I also loved Michael Landon from Little House on the Prairie. Who wouldn’t want him as a dad?
Good Times was another favorite and despite all of the hilarious business from JJ Walker and his DYN-O-mite catch phrase, there were many serious themes and moments in the show that depicted a realistic portrayal of growing up in urban America that I related to in a strong way. Though the father James was usually a stressed out, angry dad, it was an honest portrait of dads struggling to keep a roof over the heads of their family and food on the table. One of the most memorable episodes for me was the one where James dies. In this incredible scene from the brilliant Esther Rolle she finally deals with the shock and impact of losing her husband. Up until that moment she had been the pillar of strength for her kids and remained stoic until it all came crashing down on her in this classic moment.
Here are the actors who played Michael and Thelma talking about that special episode.
I think that show impacted me in a profound way because when a father leaves the family via divorce it feels very much like a death. Yes, many dads still play parts in their children’s lives after divorce, but sadly too many don’t.
Bill Cosby on the Cosby Show was always a funny and positive dad.
Ward Cleaver from Leave it Beaver wasn’t bad either. Here he shares his theory on why women cook inside the home and men handle outdoor grilling.
Father Knows Best painted a good portrait of a strong and knowledgable dad.
What are some other good TV shows that had good portrayals of dads?