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Ray Barone and Mad Men's Don Draper top my modern-day list of Landmark TV Dads



Flo-devolution-dads  With another Father’s Day upon us Sunday, thoughts turn to the image of modern dads on TV.

I first wrote about this in 2002, when the popularity of Homer Simpson and Ozzy Osbourne led me to declare that dads had seriously devolved from hallowed status as wise and weary patriarchs on classic shows such as Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver.

Back then, I also listed my favorite TV dads (see that here). But time, circumstance and new shows have brought a whole new crop of dysfunctional dads to the small screen - more complicated and darker than most of the guys I named seven years ago.

Here’s my new list of TV's Landmark Modern-day Dads:

Raymond-cast  Ray Barone, Everybody Loves Raymond (Ray Romano, left): Four years after the show ended, Barone stands as the ultimate mix of put-upon dad and voice of reason in a crazy family.

Noah Bennet, a.k.a. H.R.G, Heroes (Jack Coleman): Was willing to put a country full of paranormals in prison to protect his super-healing daughter. And the only dad cool enough to rock a pair of hornrim glasses.

Don-draper Don Draper, Mad Men (Jon Hamm, right): The ultimate distant dad; cool, talented and driven by secrets his children will never know.

Max Gregson, The United States of Tara (John Corbett): Handles his wife’s split personality disorder — and it’s impact on his two kids — with the same exasperated ease you might handle changing a tire.

Joeandalisondubois Joe DuBois, Medium (Jake Weber, left): Half of the most realistic married couple on TV, even if Joe spends way too much time doubting his bride’s obvious psychic abilities.

Tommy Gavin, Rescue Me (Denis Leary): Sure, he's an alcoholic, adrenaline junkie, pill-popping egoist who is sleeping with his ex-wife and dead cousin's widow at the same time. But he still loves his kids and tries doing right by them, in his own twisted way.

Harry Morgan, Dexter (James Remar): Loved his serial killer son so much, he taught him how to avoid cops and kill only criminals who deserved death. Is there a better gift for the psychopath in your life?

Adamas Admr. William Adama, Battlestar Galactica (Edward James Olmos, right): Father figure to a ragtag band of survivors from a robot-led genocide who turned out to be the ancestors of everyone on the planet Earth.

Jack Bauer, 24 (Kiefer Sutherland): Absent from his daughter's life for years, Bauer was still willing to risk shooting his friends and releasing a biological weapon in the U.S. to save his daughter's life. Tell me that's not love.

Happy Father's Day!

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:59pm]


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