Dads in Pop Culture

(May 2012) – The role of dad has long been a favorite in pop culture. Whether played for laughs or offering a more sincere take, fathers have been a mainstay in entertainment for as long as we can remember. As everyone begins to prepare for Father’s Day, we thought it might be fun to take a look back at some famous pop culture dads that reflect (with varying degrees of success) the qualities we’ll be celebrating on June 17.

Atticus Finch: Often considered the gold standard of fathers in film, Gregory Peck transformed the character that originated in Harper Lee’s novel and created a personification of virtue and courage. As gentle and compassionate with his children as he is determined and serious to make the world around them a better place.

George Bailey: Proving that even great dads can have a bad day, Jimmy Stewart is reminded of how much he means to his friends and family while giving viewers a lesson in what’s truly most important in life.

Cliff Huxtable: Aside from the trademark sweaters, there isn’t too much about Bill Cosby’s iconic role to scoff at. He was always there to offer advice and guidance (including the occasional dose of tough love), he was a wonderful role model with a very successful career, and there may be no funnier on-screen dad in history.

Darth Vader: Stay with us on this one. Yes, he did cut off his son’s hand (which would certainly make getting together for cook outs or watching the game awkward) but Luke did get a new one and in the end old Anakin actually saved his son from ultimate evil. On second thought, let’s just say that he is an example of a dad that learned from his mistakes.

Clark Griswold: If grading solely on effort, few if any pop culture dads could top Clark Griswold. From his single-minded pursuit of a trip to Wally World to his over-the-top efforts to ensure a great family Christmas, things didn’t always work out as he had planned, but there was no doubting that this dad wanted to give his family everything.

Homer Simpson: While it’s obvious he does actually care about his children, Homer is the ultimate example of a father teaching his kids what not to do. 

The dads of Modern Family: From Jay, a stepfather and patriarch adapting to constant change, and Phil, a bumbling but lovable father of three, to Mitchell and Cam, adopted parents still learning their way, this family of fathers reflects the challenges that today’s dads face as well as the joys they receive. 

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