It’s Fatherhood Friday over at Dad Blogs and that means all the wicked cool and talented mom and dad bloggers are out in force. When you’re done here, head there. They’re talking about the best TV dads of all time today so it should be interesting.
So the theme of Fatherhood Friday this week is TV dads. Specifically, which TV dad is the best of the best. If you know anything about anything, this question should’ve taken about 0.438734 seconds to answer.
But how does one define “the best?”
I’m sure some will ponder the long list of television’s best dads and come up with some pretty lame characters. Cliff Huxtable of the Cosby Show, doling out his slightly irreverent advice with heavy doses of “humor.” But honestly, I never found the Cosby Show funny and I think Bill Cosby sucks. I’m sure all the conservatives out there will try to bring this “back to basics.” We’ll get a list of Ward Cleaver, Andy Taylor, Steve Douglas, Jim Anderson, Mike Brady and Howard Cunningham. A throwback to the boring and repressed days that will thankfully never come again. And no doubt some will move on to the more recent crop of dads. The sensitive ones like Mr. Keaton from Family Ties and that gigantic pussy Eric Camden on that godawful show 7th Heaven. Or how about Jim Walsh from Beverly Hills 90210? More like 9021-no way I’ve ever watched any of that crap.
If you want to talk about the best TV dad of all time then you need to talk about football. About smelly feet. About selling shoes. You need to head to the nudie bar and get ready for a Polk High School reunion because the best TV dad of all time is…
Forget all that sensitive, touchy-feely garbage polluting our airwaves. From the mid-1980s to 1997 it was all Al, all the time. Al was a shoe salesman who hated his job, fat women, feminism and the French. He was the perfect portrayal of a lower middle class working stiff and his dry wit and downtrodden personality were pitch perfect for the part. Al got married when he was too young (and too drunk) but instead of running away from his responsibilities, he stuck it out. The tradeoff is that he’s going to complain about it the entire time.
All Al wants are the little things in life. He enjoys taking massive dumps, making fun of his wife, sports and watching TV with his hands down his pants. Like most red-blooded American men, he relives his glory days and won’t hesitate to tell you about the time he scored four touchdowns in one game for Polk High School. He’s a man’s man and constantly tries to fix things on his own, even though he has no idea what he’s doing. He drives a 1971 Dodge Duster and won’t give up that car for all the money in the world. His favorite TV show is “Psycho Dad” and here’s the theme song:
Who’s that riding into the sun? Who’s that man with the itchy gun? Who’s the man who kills for fun? He sleeps with a gun but he loves his son. Killed his wife cuz she weighed a ton. Psy-cho Dad. Psy-cho Dad!
Al’s wife Peggy doesn’t work yet spends all of his hard-earned money, which he complains about incessantly. He puts her face on scarecrows in the garden. He hates her parents. He tries to avoid sex with her at all costs. Yet he never even thinks about leaving her and despite the constant barbs, their relationship is solid (if not slightly deranged).
And of course, no one can think of Al Bundy without mentioning his favorite place: The Jiggly Room. The nudie bar is a central component in Al’s life. He even waxes poetic about it when he visits there with his son Bud:
At the nudie bar. Where they show you their butt and their trap stays shut.
At the nudie bar. Where you drink down the shooters and unwrap the hooters.
At the nudie bar. Where the egg nog’s a plenty and the girls are all 20.
At the nudie bar, Where there’s a cop at the door and a Kennedy on the floor.
But lest you think Al Bundy is all crass and no class, don’t forget what a good father he is. After all, how many times did he kick the crap out of his slutty daughter’s deadbeat boyfriends? And when his daughter Kelly came to him with a “female” problem, Al didn’t back down.
Kelly: “Well, I’m ovulating. And when this happens I get this pinching little cramp. So what should I do?”
Al: “Walk it off. And next time stretch before you ovulate.”
Need I say more?
Simply put, Al Bundy is the man. When the rest of the world was careening toward political correctness, one TV dad stood firm and intractable against the changing tide of pussification. One man dared to say things like “pretty women make us buy beer and ugly women make us drink beer.” One man celebrated his body odor and didn’t care who saw him put his hands down his pants while relaxing in his own house. One man owned up to loving his family as long as they stayed the hell out of his way. One man went to work everyday at a job he hated, just as long as he could watch his favorite TV show, go bowling and relive old high school football memories.
That man — the best TV dad of all time — is Al Bundy.