24 favorite fictional Dads
George Banks, Father of the Bride, 1991
George Banks' fierce love for his daughter drives him to antics that are funny, embarrassing, and almost unbearably sweet. This manic dad goes wild on his kid's wedding day, throwing hot dog tirades at the grocery store and placing misdirected anger at her husband-to-be. He is the gold standard for wedding-aisle partners.
Burt Hummel, Glee, 2009-present
In an act proving family comes first, Burt curses out his live-in girlfriend's son Finn for calling his son Kurt "faggy", exclaiming he "can't have this kind of poison under his roof." He does this knowing he could lose Finn's mom. But Burt knows that family comes first, and his love and commitment to Kurt seems to get stronger when Kurt boldly steps out of the closet.
Carlisle Cullen, The Twilight Series, 2009-present
As patriarch of the stunningly beautiful Cullen vampire clan, adoptive dad Carlisle has led his family to respect humanity by partaking in a vegetarian (non blood) diet. He encourages his kids to do the right thing and find their own brand of happiness -- even when that includes falling in love with a human. And like any good dad, he recognizes his children's strengths: "I look at my... son. His strength, his goodness, the brightness that shines out of him -- and it only fuels that hope, that faith, more than ever."
Mike Brady, The Brady Bunch, 1968-1974
Laugh at Mike Brady all you want. Mock his nerdy, out-of-touch uncoolness, his oh-so-not groovy hair do, and the lack of reality in his 1970's sitcom. But don't overlook the things this man did to smooth over the rough patches of his blended family. Nobody really knows what happened to Marsha, Jan and Cindy's biological father, but it doesn't matter -- Mike is a loving father to them all.
Ward Cleaver, Leave it to Beaver, 1957-1963
Ward Cleaver's (realistic) parental weaknesses make him an admirable father. He is competitive with his co-workers, sometimes has unrealistically high expectations for Beaver and Wally, and his guidance doesn't always make a successful impact. But he loves his boys dearly while still letting them to grow on their own.
Video: Be a stay-at-home dad
Clark Griswold, National Lampoon's Vacation, 1983
Anyone who has been dragged through a regimented family vacation under the direction of a planning-hungry father will appreciate Chevy Chase in this star-packed comedy. Though things don't always go as planned, Clark stays positive -- and incredibly amusing. (See also: European and Christmas vacations.)
Robin Williams, Mrs. Doubtfire, 1994
Okay, so Daniel Hillard crossed a few lines when trying to get joint custody of his kids, but the determination and creativity he used to get to them makes him a great dad. Yes, the cross-dressing nanny premise is ridiculous. But when it comes to the great lengths some dads will go to to be with their kids, Mrs. Doubtfire hits the mark.
Michael Bluth, Arrested Development, 2003-2006
Michael Bluth juggles the dysfunctional antics of his family while still being a strong single dad to son George Michael. His good nature stands in stark contrast to his family's materialism, selfishness and drunkenness. Michael Bluth is at his most charming when he perks up for father/son activities.
Ben Stone, Knocked Up, 2007
And the Most Improved Dad Award goes to... Ben Stone. At the beginning of Knocked Up, it is terrifying to think of this dumb-yet-loveable dude as a dad. But by the end, the lovable father-to-be can recite well-researched pregnancy facts, stand up for his girlfriend in the delivery room and play house with his nieces.
King Triton, The Little Mermaid, 1989
Lots of dads spend wedding days giving their daughters away, but "away" usually means to another home, or another state. When King Triton says goodbye to Ariel in The Little Mermaid, he gives her away to an entirely different species, losing contact with her forever. Take that, George Banks.