Fathers' Day means the fathers everywhere are preparing to receive mugs, T-shirts, paperweights and faux trophies proclaiming them "World's Greatest Dad." It doesn't matter that hundreds of thousands of "Greatests" will be named, because who wants to be the only dad not celebrated as "A+ Papi?"& No one, that's who. Even the dads on television deserve special awards on this special holiday, so let's commemorate the occasion by looking at how fatherhood was portrayed on television this year.Best Dads on Television, 2010
Best Co-Parenting Gay Fathers: Modern Family's Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cameron (Eric Stonestreet)
Love them! Hyper-attentive gay parents to the gorgeous Lily, Mitchell and Cameron are the parents you wish you could have a playdate with just to hear the gossip their rogue baby monitor picks up. The ABC show has taken some criticism from all sides, some who wish the show was less gay, some who wish for more. Bilerico blogged about the complaints of some pro-same sex families fans of the show, "Here is the problem that I have. The couple has adopted a daughter on the show. They are obviously committed and in a long-term relationship. Yet they have never kissed on screen. Ever."
PDA or not, Mitchell and Cameron are still incredibly watchable as two of the best comedic performers on television now.
Most Important Father Character, Dead or Alive: Lost's Christian Shephard (John Terry)
I can't say why this father of two of the show's character is so very, very significant, because it seems that revealing spoilers about the Lost finale is an Internet felony -- just in case someone hasn't viewed the series yet because she stationed on an island off of Iceland saving orphaned puffins for the last year but now wants to see the great show at long last. But if you've seen the series, you know what I mean about Christian's importance, above all and representing all of the other father issues central to the show, and perhaps (well, just look at his name if nothing else) as a signifier of the biggest Father figure of them all. [Open church doors, shine light, cue triumphant angels on trumpet....]
Best Fathering Effort: Parenthood's Adam Braverman (Peter Krause)
I agree with Amrita at Indiequill, who recommends Parenthood for its portrayal of a complicated contemporary family. Amrita writes: "Parenthood can be relentlessly on message –- life is hard! especially for people with kids! –- but it can also be warm and familiar when everyone comes together." Adam is the backbone of his family, trying hard to understand and help his son Max, trying to pay attention to his less demanding daughter, trying to be the rock his wife, siblings and parents need. Adam tries, hard, and that's about the best you can say about anyone.
Most Heroic Dad: Treme's Albert "Big Chief" Lambreaux
Big Chief is more than a challenging father to his son and daughter, he's a culture's father summoning his tribe home to their city, and he represents the complicated heroism, dignity and strength needed to stand against the onslaught of seemingly insurmountable loss and injustice. Kris Broughton, who blogs on the intersection of race, culture and politics at Big Think, wrote that Big Chief feels akin to Broughton's hardworking uncles, and that Treme gets it right:
I don’t know if it says more about the show or about me that I am able to enjoy a pleasurable hour of racial schizophrenia, flipping back and forth between the bourgeois perspective of Creighton Burnette and the skilled tradesman viewpoint of Big Chief Lambreaux. Lambreaux is willing to physically and verbally attack anything or anybody that looks like they are going to get in the way of reuniting the Guardians of the Flame, the crew of Mardi Gras Indians he leads.
But which televsion dad gets to take home the most coveted of Best Dad mugs, the really big beer stein that is kept in the freezer year-round? The mack daddy of Best Daddies this year? Even with all of these great dads competing for "Best in Show," it was no effort to award the grand prize.Television's Greatest Dad 2010: Glee's Burt Hummel (Mike O'Malley)
Kurt's dad is the television dad of the year, bar none. Not only is he doing a pretty good job of negotiating the difficult landscape of finding love and mixing families after widowhood while surrounded by people who burst into song for no reason whatsoever; he also stole hearts, tears and cheers when he stood up for his son and against homophobia when Finn used the "f" word. I'm with blogger Belle Renee, who said that Kurt's dad's impassioned speech was in her top ten moments this year.
These are my favorites. How do you think television is doing in presenting contemporary fatherhood? Do you watch these dads, or did I miss calling out your best Pop from 2010? Please present him with a mug or a ballcap in the comments!
Contributing Editor Deb Rox is also celebrates single moms on Father's Day, because that's only fair, believe you me. And by celebrates, she means champagne and pancakes and Buffy marathons and whatever else she wants after that.
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