Top 10 Bad TV Dads

Father’s Day is this Sunday and we’re celebrating all things Dad-related!  But just like everything else, not all Dads can be winners… here’s a countdown of our Top Ten best “Bad Dads” on TV…

10. Joe McCoy (Friday Night Lights)

Competition can be a good thing between fathers and sons, but this Friday Night Lights bad dad takes competitive nature to a new low! Whether scheming to remove Coach Taylor from the Panthers to usurping control of the boosters, Joe’s combination of Machaivellian schemes and general smugness make him a great villain, and one nasty father!

9. Mr. Andropolis (Freaks and Geeks)

It’s a telling sign when a show hasn’t been on the air for a decade and you still remember it.  Freaks and Geeks is one such show, and the same rules apply to Nick’s dad, Mr. Andropolis.  A military man, Mr. A. (you probably shouldn’t call him that) is constantly looking at his son with disappointment.  Even Nick’s personal accomplishments, like building his “ultimate” drum kit, are met with disapproval– his dad sells the drum set and then refuses to even give Nick the money from the sale.  This hard bad dad really brings it home when Nick tells him in earnest how his dream is to be a rock ‘n roll drummer.  His dad’s response? “Well I wanted to be an astronaut, but you don’t see any moon rocks do you?”

8. Peter Griffin (Family Guy)

We’re not trying to say the patriarch of the Griffin clan is a bad guy– in fact he’s pretty hilarious (especially when drunk).  However Peter Griffin is still an epically-bad father figure, between his weekly crazy schemes, disregard for Stewie’s matricidal tendencies, and perpetual ignorance of daughter Meg’s very existence, the Quahog native isn’t gonna win father of the year anytime soon.

7. Archie Bunker (All In The Family)

It wouldn’t be a TV bad dad list without an appearance from the original bad dad– Archie Bunker!  Even to date there haven’t been many primetime patriarchs quite as opinionated, belligerent and offensive as Carroll O’Connor’s conservative, blue collar Archie.  In fact, some of the anything-but politically correct Archie-isms might not even fly on channels like HBO!

6. Walter Bishop (Fringe)

You wouldn’t think of Dr. Walter Bishop as a bad dad at first.  This mainstay of the Fringe team is actually sweet and adorable, with a childlike innocence, and a genuine love for his son Peter… however that decency is pretty new to Walter, who spent much of his life as a driven mad scientist, experimenting on children, endangering the lives of thousands, and even kidnapping Peter from another dimension, after “his” version of Peter died as a child!

5. Dr. Rusty Venture (The Venture Bros.)

If you’ve never seen The Venture Bros on Adult Swim, we’d strongly recommend it– the show is essentially a grown-up spoof of Johnny Quest and super heroes, but with some well-placed Tarantino-style action and loads of daddy issues and personal failures. Rusty Venture is the super-scientist father of the titular Venture Bros, and he’s a shoe-in for this bad dads list… the tactless, manic depressive scientist is so egocentric he can never think of anyone but himself, he subjects his kids to frequent attacks by monsters, robots and all kinds of costumed crazies… and since he has a tendency of getting his boys killed in action, he even created a giant room of clone replacements for his death-prone sons!

4. Tommy Gavin (Rescue Me)

Tommy Gavin is a great firefighter, one of the best Engine 99 in NYC has to offer.  However as dedicated as he is to saving the lives of strangers, his problems with drugs and alcohol leave him just as devoted to destroying his family.  If you’ve seen Rescue Me (and you should!), you know the score– Tommy loves his kids absolutely, but his hard-living, hard-drinking ways not only distance him from his wife, but eventually start to rub off the same bad habits on his kids.

3. Don Draper (Mad Men)

episode 1 don 760 Top 10 Bad TV Dads

Credit: AMC

Charming, charismatic, perpetually smoking, ad man Don Draper certainly doesn’t seem like any kind of bad guy.  He’s got the perfect life, the perfect family, tons of money and a great job… however his tortured soul hides lots of deep, dark secrets which threaten to destroy not only Don but everyone around him.  Don is pretty close to our top bad dad on the list, not because he’s cruel to his children (he’s anything but, and is especially endeared to his daughter Sally)… Don’s up here due to the brilliant portrait Mad Men has painted of how infidelity and divorce can truly damage everyone in a household… even the kids he loves so dearly.

2. Walter White (Breaking Bad)

walter 1 Top 10 Bad TV Dads

Credit: AMC

On first glance, Walter White seems like a pushover– this poor high school chemistry teacher has to work part time at a car wash just to make ends meet.  Things change once Walt gets diagnosed with cancer, and the meek, nerdy nobody begins making and dealing methamphetamine to save money for his family when he’s gone.  What starts as a case of well-meaning crime quickly evolves into Walt becoming an underground druglord, and as he gets addicted more and more to the chaos, he completely ignores the fact that it’s tearing his family apart from the inside out.

1. Anthony Cooper (LOST)

800px 3x13lockeconfrontscooper Top 10 Bad TV Dads

credit: ABC

We’re calling the ultimate bad dad on TV to Anthony Cooper, the father of John Locke on LOST.  After putting Locke to adoption as an infant, Cooper resurfaces in the life of his miserable son when he needs a replacement kidney from him.  Feeding on Locke’s desire for a father like a vampire, Cooper– who as it turns out is an expert con-man– tricks Locke into giving up one of his kidneys before again disappearing entirely from his son’s life.  If only he’d stayed gone, because the next time Locke finds his dad, it ends with Cooper throwing his own son out of a 10-story window, paralyzing him from the waist down!  Anthony Cooper takes the crown as ultimate bad dad on TV because not only is he this heartless to his own son, he’s just as bad to everyone else… in fact Locke isn’t the only LOST survivor whose life Cooper destroyed… Sawyer’s parents both died after an encounter with the baddest of dads!!

That’s our pics for the top Bad Dads on TV… do you agree with our bad dads?  Did we miss anyone you wanted to see on the list?? Let us know in the comments below!

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