TV Dads Who ‘Raise Hope’ For Positive Fatherhood Models

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From Ward Cleaver to Homer Simpson, television fathers have undergone quite the transformation in the last several decades.

The standard TV dad now serves as a foil for the all-knowing mother, making insurmountable mistakes and, in general, coming across as an incompetent fool.

So where is a dedicated single father supposed to turn for inspiration? Fortunately, several model TV dads exist, if you know where to look.

Parenthood’s Joel Graham

Photo by Genevieve via Wikimedia Commons

In 2009, “Friday Night Lights” head writer Jason Katims approached Ron Howard with the genius idea of modeling a new television show off of the 1989 film “Parenthood.” This would the the second attempt at reinstating the movie’s concept of a nurturing protagonist father, the first having briefly aired in the early ’90s.

Critics from The New Yorker point to the updated, 2010 version of “Parenthood” as a “surprisingly nuanced” tale for our time, re-examining the concept of family and applying it to the recession era.

The character Joel Graham, played by Sam Jaeger, assists greatly in this endeavor, showing that a father can maintain his manly status while still fulfilling a nurturing role.

Arrested Development’s Michael Bluth

Photo by Eva Rinaldi via Wikimedia Commons

Perpetual good guy and loving dad Michael Bluth may experience the ultimate misfortune of being born into the most dysfunctional family known to the small screen, but he constantly strives to make the best of a very bad situation.

And while the same actor played both young Michael Bluth and young Don Draper, the two prominent television guys hold absolutely nothing in common. Michael Bluth, unlike Draper, shows that nice guys can make it in this world, even if it means stooping to the level of moving into his college-age son’s dorm.

Yes, he embarrasses poor George Michael at every turn, but Michael Bluth’s loving approach to parenting ultimately results in a surprisingly well-adjusted son.

He’s not the type to simply use bundle TV to drown out the sorrows of being a Bluth; rather, his TV-watching always comes as a means of connecting with his beloved son.

Raising Hope’s Jimmy Chance

Single dads are increasingly finding themselves forced to join forces with other family members in hopes of making ends meet. Such is certainly the case for Jimmy Chance, the main character in the hilarious Fox comedy “Raising Hope.”

Conceived during a night of passion with a mass murderer, baby Hope provides Jimmy some major challenges when she arrives on his doorstep.

Through a spirit of extended family cooperation, Jimmy manages to provide his daughter with a very loving home life.

Yes, Jimmy Chance often proves the blundering single dad of the dreaded stereotypes, but the big difference is he actually learns from his mistakes, applying these lessons to become a better parent. For this reason, Slate marks “Raising Hope” as a show full of audacity, and thus, hope for single dads in similarly difficult situations.

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3 comments on “TV Dads Who ‘Raise Hope’ For Positive Fatherhood Models

    Single TV Dad’s
    The Rifleman, play by Chuck O’Conner, raised his son to be honest and always tell the truth.
    How about the “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father?”

    I think Michael Bluth already played lawyer enough…”You’re a crook Captain Hook, Judge, won’t you throw the book at the pirate!”

    It’s odd that the writer calls Bluth a “positive” role model considering Michael slept with both his son’s teacher and his son’s girlfriend. If I recall, the last season ends with George Michael punching his father in the face!

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