Our favourite dads from fiction
The New Paper on Sunday team pick the pop-culture pop they’d want to grow up with
Pop Dad: Uncle Phil
From: The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air
I was torn between the patriarch of the classic Will Smith sitcom and Tony Soprano of drama The Sopranos. While being mob-connected could have it’s advantages, Uncle Phil had the edge, especially when it came to forcibly ejecting DJs from his stately pile.
Philip Banks had a grumpy irascible demeanour – and body shape – of a grizzly bear. Oh yes, when it came to eating, Phil could beat Homer Simpson.
Like any sitcom dad, he often let out his softer side with some aww-inducing life lessons. But Uncle Phil was best when he became fiercely protective of his clan – especially his nephew Will.
The best example is when Phil rescues Will and Carlton – Phil’s Tom Jones-fixated son – from a huge debt by out-sharking a pool shark.
Phil may have had a cosy moneyed lifestyle, but there was a colourful past before that.
Pop Dad: Calvin’s dad
From: Calvin and Hobbes
It was between Calvin’s dad and Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben, but the latter is best known for one poignant lesson and dying. Not too cheerful. He’s also not Spider-Man’s real dad.
Calvin’s unnamed father is the original troll dad. I loved the strips in which he made up snarky explanations to Calvin’s inquisitive questions.
His sometimes cynical view of the world and his wry sense of humour strike me as the kind of qualities that might have influenced me when I was Calvin’s age. Like bug bites and numb toes, having a dad like that builds character.
You get the sense that Calvin’s dad is the kind of father that will continue to provide sarcastic quips, thoughtful advice and tender consolation whenever little raccoons die on you, whether you’re six or 21.
Pop Dad: Atticus Finch
From: To Kill a Mockingbird
Atticus Finch, the lawyer from beloved literary classic, is my all-time exemplar of the perfect dad.
I was enamoured of him during my Secondary Four English Literature days. His calmness, his sense of righteousness and his intelligence have always struck a chord with me.
He doesn’t only fight against racial discrimination in small-town America, he teaches his children by example. Being “the same in his house as he is on the public streets”, Atticus is never two-faced. You can always count on him to be good and wise.
I remember him telling his son, Jem, that “it’s not time to worry yet”, and that phrase has been my saviour through the many near-panic moments I’ve had.
Want the perfect dad from the 1930s? It's Atticus every time.
Pop Dad: Homer Simpson
From: The Simpsons
It's either Homer Simpson or Phil Margera, dad of Jackass' Bam Margera.
But everyone can relate to Homer. He's a cool dad who will let you do whatever you want. Deep down, you always figure that he loves Bart, despite all the chokings. And he's reliable. If Homer ever goes missing, chances are he can be found at Moe’s Tavern!
On the surface he's lazy, slovenly and a heavy drinker, but he’ll be the first to rush to prepare your birthday party (as long as there’s cake and steak). So his plans are often disasterous, but he's a family man who loves his kids. He even created a new word when trying to console Lisa, saxomophone. How many dads can say that?
And last but not least, no-one grows old in the Simpsons. Eternal youth! Woo hoo!
Pop Dad: Arthur Weasley
From: Harry Potter
Everyone loves the warm, kindly and ever so eccentric Mr Weasley. Especially his befuddlement at muggle artefacts (What is the function of a rubber duck?).
Yet he is also the perfect father - a mix of intense protectiveness, strong beliefs in equality and a penchant for mischief.
He understands why boys like to go on illegal jaunts in flying cars and he will support the hijinks of the young and unrestrained - unless his wife flies into a rage of course.
Best of all, Mr Weasley willingly takes anyone under his wing if they need a caring protector. And as shown in the battle for Hogwarts, he will fight to the death if necessary to keep his brood alive.
The best dad - whether you are in a spot of trouble or mortal peril, he will save you.
Pop Dad: Bill Cosby as Dr Heathcliff Huxtable
From: The Cosby Show
It was a great show as I was growing up and the reruns on cable show that its as good as ever.
Comedian Cosby plays the dad in a well-off African American family living in a townhouse in Brooklyn.
Five kids later (yeah, he didn’t need a baby bonus either), he still oozes charm even when they get up to horrible hi-jinks. And that's whether the kid is a college-going sophomore or a teen who is caught smoking.
Sure sure, critics say its not very “real”. Well, how many kids do you know that have a lawyer mum and gynae dad?
But credit where it is due, the dude knows how to be funny without having to resort to easy potty-mouthed laughs. And he does a pretty decent job of being a good role model for fathers out there.
He even gets along with his parents (grandpa Huxtable can quote Shakespeare!), and his parents in law.
He doesn’t shy away from actually looking after kids (his own and the neighbourhood’s) AND he’s still got plenty of romance left in him for his wife.