Yesterday was Father’s Day, and Chelsea wrote an excellent post about the bad dads in sci-fi and fantasy. All in all, dads sort of get a bad rap in most mediums, but there are, without a doubt, some good ones out there, even if they don’t always know what they’re doing. I tried to pick a collection of men who are fathers, sometimes not biologically, in the sense that they help their children on their path to growth in loving ways.
Greg Universe (Steven Universe)
I’m new to the world of Steven Universe, but I love Greg so much. He’s a great dad, knowing when to step aside and let the Gems take the lead in Steven’s life, and while he has weak moments of insecurity, because he’s human, he works on those flaws. He wants to be the best father to Steven, in whatever form that may be.
Uncle Iroh (Avatar: The Last Airbender)
Excluding a few Fire Lords, the world of Avatar is filled with a lot of great and well-meaning dads. However, Uncle Iroh takes the cake. From season one, Iroh has worked to soothe the anger inside his nephew, Prince Zuko. He lost his own son in the war and, as a result, understands loss and works to correct the mistakes of his nation.
Bob Belcher (Bob’s Burgers)
Homer Simpson, Peter Griffin … they have moments of being “okay” dads, but with their flaws so exaggerated for the sake of comedy, it’s hard to call them “good.” Bob Belcher, however, has always been an awesome dad, and despite sometimes being underappreciated by his kids, he loves them fully and will go to extremes in order to make them happy. As the son of an emotionally distant/abusive father, he no doubt works to avoid his father’s mistakes, and it shows.
Hollyhock’s Dads (Bojack Horseman)
Hollyhock, who we’re introduced to in Season 4 of Bojack Horseman, is suspected to be Bojack’s biological daughter. She’s really on a search for her mother, because as she reiterates, she already has eight dads. While they don’t get much screen time, they make the list as a group, for being supportive of their daughter’s desire to find her biological parents.
Phil Shortman (Hey Arnold!)
Arnold’s parents are missing throughout the series, but you don’t feel the loss because Arnold has his fantastic grandparents, who provide him with all the love and care he could need. Grandpa Phil is always there with advice and a good story, not to mention he supports his grandson’s creativity and altruistic nature.
Dale Gribble (King of the Hill)
Dale is a mess, but one of the things that has always endeared me to his character is how much he loves Joseph. One of my favorite episodes is when Dale tries to stop aliens from taking his son. Dale may be too oblivious to realize Joseph isn’t his kid, but that doesn’t stop him from loving and protecting his son. They are also so much alike it could be a case study in nature vs nurture.
Piccolo (Dragon Ball Z)
Everyone’s favorite black dad. But in all seriousness, the relationship between Gohan and Piccolo is one of the best familial relationships on the show. Goku, though I love him so much, is a deadbeat dad to the degree that even Vegeta is better. Vegeta. Gohan and Piccolo have a great bond, and despite all the flaws of GT, the scene where Piccolo “mind calls” Gohan before his death is one of the best scenes in the series. Piccolo is the Yondu of Dragon Ball.
Stu Pickles (Rugrats)
Stu is just a solid guy and a solid dad who works hard to provide for his family, but still ends up getting emotionally abused by his niece.
Bob Parr, a.k.a. Mr. Incredible (The Incredibles)
While we mostly stuck to television cartoon dads, we couldn’t help but add in Bob Parr. He was a great dad in the first Incredibles and really grows as a father even more in the second film.
Who are some of your favorite cartoon dads?
(image: Cartoon Network)
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