Since Pajiba is all about the bitchy, why bother with one of those “best of” lists to commemorate Father’s Day? Instead, let’s focus on the worst of the lot, those television dads who made us cringe. At the very least, the list should make us even more grateful for our own (hopefully) wonderful fathers. And if not—if your dad sucked too—then perhaps you can gauge his awfulness against these assholes. Of this much I am fairly certain: your dad isn’t worse than number 1.
5. Al Bundy, “Married with Children”:
How’d you like to walk in the door and see this guy every day of your life? Now to be fair, if you were Bundy’s kid, you’d be so dim or distracted that he might not bother you much, but that’s beside the point. Al was an egotistical loser who rarely showed affection or spent quality time with his kids. And he’d probably have sold them if someone offered.
4. Frank Costanza, “Seinfeld”:
With Frank as his father, no wonder George was such a mess (to be fair, Estelle wasn’t a much better parent, but at least she showed some affection). Frank seemed more apt to take Kramer under his wing than to ever be paternal toward his own son, leaving George with Jerry as a sort of best friend/surrogate father. With all Frank’s yelling and screaming, smacking his head and putting him down, it’s a wonder George made it to adulthood.
3. Jack Bauer, “24”:
Though Jack may have loved Kim, he never quite figured out how to show her; in his world, she certainly never came first. Because of his work, her mother was killed and if Kim was around Jack, she was nearly always in danger. Jack broke pretty much every promise he ever made to his daughter, consistently lied to her and by his actions made it clear that she was not a priority.
2. Tony Soprano, “The Sopranos”:
Never mind that Tony Soprano was a murdering, cheating, lying selfish psychopath; he was an abusive, asshole father. Sure, the money flowed as easily as blood—you might even say his kids reveled in his lifestyle—but as much as “family” supposedly mattered to Tony, in the end it really didn’t. With the choices he made in his life, Tony is another father who consistently put his family’s lives in danger; if you believe Tony was gunned down at the series end, it’s likely his family was injured or killed as well.
1. Anthony Cooper, “Lost”:
There aren’t many dads worse than Anthony Cooper. He abandoned young mother, Emily and their infant son (John Locke). When adult Locke sought out his father, Cooper pretended to want a relationship with his son when in fact, all he wanted was Locke’s donated kidney. After the operation, Cooper cut off contact with his devastated son. But Locke stalked his father, leaving himself vulnerable to be used again. So…con man Cooper faked his own death, suckered Locke into the scam and sent him to retrieve the insurance money. As his superbad-fatherly-crowning-glory, when confronted by his son over a suspected murder, dear old dad pushed Locke out an eighth story window, causing his son to be paralyzed the rest of his life. (Well, sort of. But not on the island.) DOES ANYONE EVEN KNOW WHAT HAPPENED ON THAT SHOW?
Anyway, Happy Father’s Day! Be thankful these aren’t your dads. Unless yours is worse. The end.