Introduction by Deana Percassi, Research Director, Public Relations Research
Thinking about my favorite OTW blog post from this past year took hardly any time at all…America’s Favorite TV Dads immediately came to mind. There is no doubt in my mind that many of us were influenced or at least could recall the funny things Cliff Huxtable would do (dancing, zerbers, etc).
The real question – which is also the question that occurred to me when reading the original Harris Poll – Who is that role model of today? Out of the top 15 only 1 dad who is currently on TV made the list and that is Homer Simpson. I decline to comment on him in particular with fear that I will likely offend some people.
If this question is asked 20 years from now, who will our kids say was/is their favorite TV dad? Or if we asked the question with regards to current TV dads (i.e., shows currently in production, not syndicated reruns)…who would come out on top? Can we answer the question? How many dads to we truly have to choose from? Alan Harper from Two and a Half Men? How about Jay Pritchett from Modern Family (who, coincidentally, is played by Ed O’Neill who also played Al Bundy who tied for 15th on the original list)? How about Phil Dunphy from Modern Family? Or Mitchell Pritchett and Cameron Tucker from Modern Family? Has TV and the traditional American family really changed that much – I mean where are all the “father figures” on TV and why do 4 of my 5 come from one show?
Original Post by Laura Light, Vice-President of Public Relations Research, June 22, 2009
According to a recent Harris Poll, Cliff Huxtable from The Cosby Show tops the list of America’s favorite TV dads. Hands down, Cliff wins in almost every demographic category – age, gender, race/ethnicity and political party.
There are some slight generational differences outside of Cliff – echo boomers choose Danny Tanner as the other dad in their top 2, while Gen X-ers choose Mike Brady, baby boomers Ward Cleaver and matures Jim Anderson.
Based on the full list, as a general rule, we like our dads disarmingly witty, professionally successful and oh yes, happily married. But it’s been almost been two decades since we introduced a TV dad into our homes that makes us feel happy or real or consequential or whatever it is that TV dads are supposed to do.
According to the poll, we met most of our top 10 TV dads prior to 1975; one in the 80s (Cliff Huxtable, The Cosby Show); one in the 90s (Tim Taylor, Home Improvement), but sadly not even one this decade. Not one!
Who is your favorite TV dad? Do you agree with America?