TV sitcom dads in the 90s had quite a range of role models to look at since there were the wholesome and overall good dads that were there for their families and then there were those that stayed with their families but were a bit suspect when it came to their overall moral code. But when we talk about the ‘best’ sitcom dads it’s kind of subjective since ‘best’ usually means a lot of different things to a lot of people. In this case, the ‘best’ is a dad that’s there but not always the best influence on people, since as a lot of people have said, any man can make a child, but it takes a real father to stay by his family through thick and thin and never leave. A couple of the examples on this list aren’t the best when it comes to upholding a strong sense of morality, but at the very least they’re the best because they were the most entertaining and managed to make us believe in the sanctity of fatherhood in one way or another. After all, a father is someone that’s bound to stick around and do what they can for their family, even if they don’t always want to.
Here are some of the best TV sitcom dads from the 90s.
5. Al Bundy – Married With Children
A lot of people might want to argue that Al Bundy is one of the least likely to end up on this list, but for all his faults, and there are many of them, Al is usually there for his family when he finds it necessary, and even in a questionable situation such as this he can be counted on to look out for his own. True, the fact that Kelly’s boyfriend was cheating on her by going out with another woman wasn’t exactly the best excuse for Al to go all ‘guard dog’ and defend Kelly’s dubious honor, but it does show that he’s willing to stand up for his family when the moment is right, in his mind, and in that way he is one of the best dads, even if he ends up at the end of that spectrum.
4. Earl Sinclair – Dinosaurs
Earl’s not really a bad dad, but like the other working dads on this list he does have a few faults here and there that people don’t always address since he does argue with his mother in law, he does toss the baby across the room now and then, and he definitely has kind of an attitude. But beneath all that he is a pretty good guy that cares about his family and is more or less the type of dad that wants things his way and enjoys a home and family that run the way they need to in order to make everyone happy, for a matter of seconds anyway. But like all dads, he’s there for his family when they need him.
3. Carl Winslow – Family Matters
Carl is the dad that will stick up for you so long as he has reason to believe that you’re in the right, otherwise he’s pretty balanced in his opinions since he doesn’t like to fly off the hook unless there’s a very good reason for doing so. The chances are good that if he’s angry at someone there’s a very good reason since he’s a pretty well-balanced father figure that takes care of his family and doesn’t try to fight their battles for them unless there’s some sort of injustice that needs taking care of, as there was in this clip. As far as being someone that enjoys his job and his personal life, Carl is the kind of person that doesn’t play favorites and tries to be as fair as he can.
2. Martin Crane – Frasier
Life can’t be easy when your sons are geniuses and it’s hard to relate to them since you’re not nearly as pretentious. Marty was the kind of guy that enjoyed his favorite chair even if it was beaten up and held together by duct tape, would want to watch the ball game with a beer in hand, and still loved his sons despite their many differences. It’s likely that he knew that he was a bit of an inconvenience for Frasier since simply being in his son’s home was kind of inconvenient for both of them at times. But they made it work and Frasier knew that his father always had his back no matter how they felt about each other at the moment.
1. Phillip Banks – The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Uncle Phil is the dad that a lot of people wish they could have had since the guy was hard to get along with sometimes but he was always bound to back up his kids, including his nephew, when it was needed. This episode in particular is one of those that gets just about everyone since throughout Will’s life he was more of a father than Will’s real father ever was. James Avery, the man behind the character, was a truly great actor and he’s still missed.
Sometimes real dads are like sitcom dads, and sometimes that’s a great thing.