Coolest TV Dads to Chill with This Summer

This Father’s Day, we honor the parasocial relationships we’ve formed with fictional fathers.

On Father’s Day (Sunday, June 19) it’s customary to celebrate the man who supplied half of our genetic material and (hopefully) provided lessons, love, support, and an allowance.

But what about the stand-up guys on TV who stood in for Pop when he was at work? We think these parasocial relationships with fictional characters mean something, so we’re pondering which TV dads would be the coolest to hang out with during the hot summer months. (Stop griping, Dad—you’re the one getting a new TV.)

Stream your favorite TV dads

Looking for an on-demand streaming service to watch your favorite TV dads? Check out our guide to the Best Streaming Services.

Robert Jebediah “Grandad” Freeman, The Boondocks

Robert Freeman is a one-time Tuskegee Airman and participant in the civil rights movement. He has a tougher gig now: raising his orphaned grandsons, Huey (a militant activist) and Riley (a wannabe thug) as a single grandparent in an affluent white neighborhood.

Anyone who’d take that job is one cool dude. But Grandad’s also a dork who’s not exactly smooth with women, and who wore a raincoat to thwart the firehoses at civil rights protests—and his flaws make him one real dude.

Herman Munster, The Munsters

Big and scary on the outside, total marshmallow on the inside, Herman Munster is the dad everyone wants. He’ll scare away the jerks in your life (friends, too, but the real ones will accept him), always treat you well, and even let you have a dragon instead of a dog. And he gets bonus points for being immortal so you never have to miss him terribly.

Bob Belcher, Bob’s Burgers

A dad who specializes in grilling burgers—and is an actual, real-deal burger whisperer? If you eat meat, you’ll find a reason to hang out with him. And even if you’re a vegetarian, you’ll still gladly bring along your own Beyond or Impossible patties to hang with him.

Yes, Belcher’s puns might get a little old, but that’s dads for ya—and a great burger is worth a thousand lousy puns.

Hank Moody, Californication

Okay, let’s address the pink elephant in the room: Hanging out with an tortured boozehound writer/playboy may land you in therapy (just ask his long-suffering daughter, Becca). But it’d be a blast to party with Moody, his BFF Charlie Runkle, and the Hollywood eccentric they encounter.

Just don’t let Moody drive you anywhere. And manage your expectations re: the traditional dad duties, although Moody is occasionally good for bits of wisdom, a warm hug, and bailing you out of a bind.

Ricky LaFleur, Trailer Park Boys | Netflix

Ricky’s a tragically dim small-time crook who leaves chaos in his wake. And, for most of Trailer Park Boys’ run, a clueless father. But Ricky genuinely loves his daughter Trinity, grows the best dope in Nova Scotia, can bamboozle cops like nobody’s business, and frequently butchers the English language in hilarious ways.

He’s also friends with go-kart driving, guitar-playing, kitty-loving Bubbles, who would certainly enhance any hang time.

Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation

Carnivorous, conservative, curmudgeonly Ron Swanson will teach you to work with your hands, appreciate whiskey, grill meat, and—if you’re really lucky—how to master the fine art of doing nothing.

But you must first demonstrate that you can handle your own business, because a Swanson helps those who help themselves. And, crucially, during the hang, you must keep all chatter to a minimum.

Well, that’s what Ron Swanson would say—his actions say something else. Like when he shot a tech company’s drone out of the sky to protect his son, Jon Swanson. And the way Ron melted for his girlfriend Diane’s daughters (the dude actually played dress-up with them). Put simply, Ron Swanson was made for fatherhood.

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