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Honoring our 5 all-time favorite TV dads

By Saysavanh Detvongsa, Contributing writer
Published On: May 25 2011 11:37:42 PM CDT
Updated On: May 09 2012 09:38:50 AM CDT
TV remote

iStock / DeshaCAM

Father's Day is right around the corner, and before you know it you'll have bought another checkered tie your dad will never wear.

Dads deserve a lot more than a cheap gift, especially with everything they have to put up with. Nagging wives, hormonal children and mean bosses are all commonplace in the life of a dad.

They don't just bring home the bacon, but they also dish out chores, are tough on curfews and are always ready to fix something they aren't necessarily qualified to touch.

For all the stress that comes with a family, work, bills and losing hair, fatherhood is not easy, and good dads manage to pull through with sound advice and a big heart.

In honor of hard-working fathers everywhere, here's our choices for our top five favorite TV dads. From a squeaky-clean architect to an always-hungry power plant worker, the following five dads show what being "the man" is about.

Is He The Perfect TV Dad?

Mike Brady, The Brady Bunch

No. 5: Mike Brady, "The Brady Bunch"

Mike Brady is as perfect as TV dads get. He's a handsome architect with a huge suburban home, a beautiful wife AND six children? That's just not fair.

Even more impressive is that the Brady bunch is a blended family. A divorced widow, Mike was a single father taking care of his three sons, Greg, Peter and Bobby. He then marries to wife Carol, who, as the theme song tells us, had three very lovely girls with hair of gold.

Played by Robert Reed, Mike Brady is the ideal '60s father. Clean, wholesome, and an all-around great guy, it's no wonder why "The Brady Bunch" was such a happy show. Heck, he was even named "Father of the Year" by the local newspaper.

It's not always smooth sailing in the Brady house. The kids run into issues of dating, puberty and self-image and he's there every step of the way.

Who Wants Some Pudding Pops?

Bill Cosby, The Cosby Show

No. 4: Cliff Huxtable, "The Cosby Show"

"The Cosby Show" is a classic sitcom for many reasons, but what really makes the show shine is Bill Cosby as Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable.

As a doctor married to a lawyer and the father of five kids, Cliff makes fatherhood look both easy and comfortable.

Always willing to provide a longwinded anecdote about his days at Hillman College, Cliff is full of valuable advice that he gladly bestows on his kids.

Whether he's trying to beat his son, Theo, at basketball, or playing games with his youngest daughter, Rudy, Cliff is the classic example of an involved father.

His hilarious mannerisms and love for junk food also help cement his place as an awesome TV dad.

Although, watching too much Cliff Huxtable might result in an uncontrollable desire for eating Pudding Pops while wearing cozy sweaters. Come to think of it, that might not be a bad thing.

Who's Springfield's Favorite Dad?

Homer Simpson, The Simpsons

No. 3: Homer Simpson, "The Simpsons"

Springfield's favorite father is a simple man who enjoys beer, doughnuts and, well, food in general.

Homer and his loving wife, Marge, have three kids and a dog. His son, Bart, is a reckless juvenile who surprisingly hasn't given Homer a heart attack yet. Daughter Lisa is sometimes too smart for her own good. Baby Maggie is the only child who doesn't give Homer much trouble.

His job at the local power plant has most likely given him some kind of radiation side effects and his boss, Mr. Burns, is as diabolical as a man can get.

Homer isn't exactly the best dad in the world. Look up the definition of lazy and you'll find Homer's picture. And two decades of choking Bart don't reflect well on his parenting techniques.

But, while he isn't the smartest guy in Springfield, he does have a heart as big as his appetite.

The Most Put-Upon Dad Ever?

Married With Children cast

No. 2: Al Bundy, "Married... With Children"

If you thought Homer Simpson had it rough, meet Al Bundy (Ed O'Neill).

What better way to support a wife and two kids than to cut costs at every turn? Like the time Al refused to pay for a phone call to Canada, resulting in his phone service being cut off.

He gets no respect from his wife, let alone his two kids. His daughter is promiscuous, to say the least, and his son is a pubescent smart-aleck. Al would rather please himself than to try and romance his wife, Peggy, who watches TV all day and spends his money.

Most of the time, Al's biggest downfall is his own dim wit and bad luck. His life is a free-fall from his glory days as a high school star fullback to his current life as a women's shoe salesman.

For all that he puts up with Al Bundy is undoubtedly a top TV dad.

Put Your Foot Where?

Red Forman, That 70s Show

No. 1: Red Forman, "That '70s Show"

"That '70s Show" is home to a lovable bunch of bored Wisconsin teens just looking for a good time. That usually means doing something stupid, and that's where Red Forman (Kurtwood Smith) comes in.

A Korean War veteran with a no-excuse attitude, a hate for Communists and a relentless work ethic, Red is the definition of tough love. Unfortunately, his brand of fathering never did have a chance given his daughter, Laurie, has a new boyfriend every week and his son, Eric, is more in love with "Star Wars" than the Green Bay Packers.

His wife, Kitty, keeps him sane since he hates most people, and Eric's friends have somehow turned Red's basement into their second home. Which means something stupid is waiting to happen.

And when something does go wrong, Red has the perfect solution: sticking his foot in somebody's ass.

Wash it all down with a cold beer and you have a day in the life of Red Forman.

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