Homer Simpson makes the cut as one of our favorite dads in television history. Homer Simpson makes the cut as one of our favorite dads in television history. Homer Simpson makes the cut as one of our favorite dads in television history. (Photo: Fox)

6 TV dads we love

From 'The Big Bang Theory' to 'Little House on the Prairie,' words of wisdom from our favorite small-screen fathers.

Growing up, we can all likely point to a particular fictional television dad who in some way touched our hearts or inspired us. A theme of family – whether it's one of dragons and swords or villains and superheroes – is generally the cornerstone of every good series.

Below are some of our favorite TV dads who managed to make an impact in some small way long after the credits rolled.

Steven Keaton from 'Family Ties'


Played by American actor Michael Gross, Steven Keaton of "Family Ties" was a cool bearded TV dad long before the look was ever in fashion. A former hippie-turned-TV station manager, Keaton shared court with his wife Elyse over a household that included a mix of conservative, liberal and materialistic members. Over seven seasons, viewers learned a lot from the Keaton family, including the patience that comes with being a parent.

"Parents are conditioned to put up with a few minor accidents when they leave their children home alone," Steven told his son Alex. "A broken vase, spilt milk on the rug ... There was a kangaroo ... in my living room."

Dr. Koothrappali from 'The Big Bang Theory'


Played by Israeli-born actor Brian George, "The Big Bang Theory's" Dr. V.M. Koothrappali is the father of series regular Raj Koothrappali. A fictional billionaire, Dr. Koothrappali is a lovable father who grows closer to his son over time. Concerned about the longevity of marriages, when he discovers that Raj has become engaged, he pulls his son aside to tell him a story only to be stopped mid-sentence. "Sorry," he quips. "I'm sure you won't grow to hate each other."

Dr. Koothrappali, who often appears on the sitcom via Skype video chat, still finds a way to reach through the screen to show his concern for his son. (At one point, he didn't want Raj to travel to the North Pole out of fear for his safety.) And their relationship seems to be working: As you can see in the drone-centric clip above, Raj himself still knows how to butter up his dad to win certain favors.

Charles Ingalls from 'Little House on the Prairie'


Charlies Ingalls, played by American actor Michael Landon, became everyone's favorite pioneer-era father when "Little House on the Prairie" debuted in 1974. His soft-spoken demeanor coupled with a fierce, protective love for his family and a heart of gold immortalized him as one of the greatest television dads of all time.

“The funniest is that we're supposed to hide the way we feel about people," Ingalls said during one episode. "Let me tell you, everybody wants to know that they are loved, or needed, or cared about. Anybody who doesn't want to know that has something wrong with them.”

Ned Stark from 'Game of Thrones'


Warden of the Northern realm of Westeros and inspiration behind every "Winter is Coming" meme you've ever seen, Eddard "Ned" Stark from "Game of Thrones" is also the father of five children. Played by British actor Sean Bean, the character is shown throughout Season 1 balancing both his duties as a ruler and as a mentor to his children. Unfortunately, as the scene above shows, the proper technique for managing his daughters' fierce personalities is something that continues to elude.

"War was easier than daughters," quips Stark.

Herman Munster from 'The Munsters'


American actor Fred Gwynne played the classic Frankenstein-inspired character Herman Munster on the cult-favorite 1960s series "The Munsters." The comedy, which focused on a family of working-class monsters in a suburb of California, was notable not only for its unusual premise, but also for its inspiring family lessons. Herman Munster, a goofy but loving dad, was especially good at sharing wisdom.

"It doesn't matter what you look like," Herman told his son in one episode. "You can be tall or short, or fat or thin, or ugly or handsome, or you can be black or yellow or white. It doesn't matter. What does matter is the size of your heart and the strength of your character."

Homer Simpson from 'The Simpsons'


American voice actor Dan Castellaneta is the man behind our favorite animated dad, Homer Simpson. While sometimes lazy, incompetent and crude, Homer is also fiercely devoted to his family. In an interview, Castellaneta described Homer as "boorish and unthinking, but he'd never be mean on purpose." As the quote below proves, Homer can occasionally, if ever-so-briefly, also gift words of wisdom.

"If you really want something in this life, you have to work for it," he said in one episode. "Now, quiet! They're about to announce the lottery numbers."


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6 TV dads we love
From 'The Big Bang Theory' to 'Little House on the Prairie,' words of wisdom from our favorite small-screen fathers.