Sometimes he doesn’t pick up the kids’ clothes, and sometimes the same toys sit on the stairs for days, waiting patiently to be transported up or down. He might not spot the mess in the kitchen or the Lego on the floor. But the next time you have an inward eyeroll about your kids’ dad, and especially for Father’s Day, consider these thirteen fathers in comparison, and remind yourself how great he really is:
1. Balloon-boy’s dad
Richard Heene sent a home-made helium balloon into the atmosphere, then raised the alarm saying his six-year-old son Falcon had sneaked inside it just before it took off. Two hours, fifty miles and three counties later, the balloon came to earth but the boy was not inside. A man-hunt followed, and it was later discovered that Falcon was hiding in the attic of the family home. However, the six-year-old revealed during a television interview that his parents had told him to do it, “for a show”. The publicity seeking father was sentenced to 90 days in prison.
2. The dad in Hansel and Gretel
He really didn’t want to take his children into the forest so that he and his wife wouldn’t have to feed them anymore, but in the end, she convinced him and he did it. There’s just no defence for this kind of parenting.
3. Walter White
The Breaking Bad patriarch is a murderer, he runs a drug lab, and worst of all, he’s extremely patronising. Not a great role-model for his two children.
4. Henry VIII
The medieval king is famed for his six marriages, and in particular for ordering the executions of two of his wives. The real question is what possessed four more women to marry him after he had beheaded Anne Boleyn and ordered that their daughter Elizabeth be declared officially “illegitimate”
5. John Darwin – who faked his own death in a canoe
Darwin and his wife relocated to Panama to live off the proceeds of his insurance scam, after faking his own death in 2002. Leaving two sons at home, convinced like everyone else, that he had drowned. I wonder what Christmas dinner is like in their house now.
6. Don Draper
The Mad Men lead character shares responsibility along with his neurotic wife for the troubled daughter they rear. He’s a womanizer, a liar, he drinks too much; he’s emotionally unavailable to his children. He hides who he really is, in every way, leaving an unavoidable chasm between himself and his daughter. Don’s own background didn’t set him on a great path – the son of a prostitute who died in childbirth; he was raised by his alcoholic father and resentful stepmother. His father died when he was ten, and his step-mother never let him forget where he came from. So really, in TV world at least, he didn’t stand a chance.
7. Liam Neeson in Taken
Yes, Liam’s character Bryan Mills risked everything to save his daughter Kim, so in one sense, that makes him a good dad. But surely he bears some responsibility for how annoying Kim turned out to be?
8. King Lear
Any dad who promises the larger share of his land to the daughter who tells him she loves him most is asking for trouble.
9. The dad who wore short-shorts
When Scott Mackintosh’s daughter refused to change from her short-shorts into something longer, her dad decided to cut a pair of jeans into his own version of short-shorts, and wear them to a family dinner and mini-golf outing. Actually, I think this dad isn’t so bad – he has a sense of humour.
10. Homer Simpson
He’s the lovable idiot with grooming issues, questionable dietary habits and a penchant for getting absolutely everything wrong, all the time. Fun to watch, but not ideal dad material.
11. Jack Byrnes in Meet the Parents
Robert de Niro’s character in Meet the Parents subjects his son-in-law to be to a lie-detector test and says things like “I will be watching you and if I find that you are trying to corrupt my first born child, I will bring you down, baby. I will bring you down to Chinatown” As you do.
12. Tony Soprano
A little like Walter White above; not the greatest role model for his kids – a crime boss, a murderer and a cheater. Woe betide any potential suitors of his daughter; when one boyfriend wasn’t respecting Meadow’s feelings, rather than ignoring or having a quiet words as most dads would, Tony beat him up. He was never going to make the role-model-dad list.
13. Daddy Pig
Because he’s silly. According to Peppa anyway. Although, I’m not sure about taking guidance from a precocious four-year-old pig in a dress.
That’s my personal list – do you have any to add?