Who’s Your TV Daddy?

Alan Thicke’s passing leaves many of us reminiscing back to calmer, gentler evenings where the family gathered around the TV every night to watch the next installment of their favorite sitcom. And for many families that sitcom was Growing Pains. 


I wasn’t as invested in the show as I was others, but I can still hear snapshots of Dr. Seaver yelling at his son for screwing up or trying to sooth over an argument with his wife. I remember I wanted his job because he never had to leave his house since his office was built in the guest room.

His passing got me thinking about other TV dads and how we all kind of have one or two that we believe act as our surrogates in some virtual way. For instance, Uncle Phil was definitely my surrogate uncle because I needed his discipline and loud yelling to get through to me and my stupid antics.

Tim Taylor from Home Improvement was definitely my TV dad. Probably because my own dad loves his tools and frames houses for a living. Unfortunately I identified with Jonathan Taylor Thomas’ dramatic arts-loving character, so I had a hard time identifying with my dad. It was just good to see it work in a TV world.

I think it’s kind of cool that we have these shows to look back on and adopt certain people as members of our virtual families. When Robin Williams died, I remember my best friend crying through a text message that he was the uncle he never had. We loved him, and yes we cried.

These actors leave an imprint on us. They’re magicians who breathe life into a character who otherwise would never have existed, and these characters live on well after the cameras shut off.

Who’s your TV dad? Danny Tanner? Mr. Cleaver? Homer?

Leave your answers below along with your favorite Growing Pains moment in honor of Mr. Thicke.

Published by Andrew Toy

Writer when I'm not being a husband or dad. So mostly just a husband and dad.

18 thoughts on “Who’s Your TV Daddy?

  1. Mine didn’t really appear until later in life and that was Coach Eric Taylor from Friday Night Lights. He was the father that I never had and always wanted. The same with Uncle Phil from Fresh Prince – to this day I sob like a mad woman in the episode where Will’s father visits and leaves again.


  2. so loved this post ..was thinking about this last night how back in the days of the these shows life seemed less complicated and not has plagued about money talk ,just plain simple family fun. My sitcom dad was and this is going back some …it’s John Walton he was calm but stern when needed and was always there for his children . he was a a meaning of respect to me. I loved Growing pains but can’t remember my favorite scene but I can hear his voice when Mike would try to get away with something him saying..Mike….:)


  3. I always felt a connection to Mr.Chase, Angela’s dad in My So-Called Life. He wasn’t perfect and sometimes had no idea how to be a good father to his kids, but he tried. Yes, he tried and failed at times, but the times where it worked, he nailed it. It was an underrated role in an underrated show.


      1. How are you writing YA angst if you haven’t seen MSCL? Truthfully, it might seem a bit dated if viewed for the first time today, but this was a series that was dealing with subject matter that hadn’t been dealt with at the time. We see this all over television nowadays. Probably still worth a viewing though!


  4. Tony Micelli from “Who’s the Boss?” I loved that family and still do! Five years ago I would have added Cliff Huxtable from “The Cosby Show,” but, well…not any more so much.


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