Fans and collectors of pop culture memorabilia know: When it comes to fathers who miss the mark and mess up big time, our favorite genres have no shortage of examples.
In fact, the challenge isn’t finding less-than-ideal father figures to talk about – it’s choosing which ones to talk about first!
Because we want to give you plenty to talk about over your Father’s Day barbecue this year,, here are our nominations for the 5 worst dads in pop culture. (We only hope, after reading our selections, you won’t want to strangle us with that necktie you bought for dear old Dad!)
Let’s start counting ‘em down…
5. MIKE BRADY
You see, kids, it’s only natural for fathers to want to pass on whatever wisdom they (think they’ve) learned in life to their children. But some dads only know how to do it in heavy-handed, patronizing, self-satisfied sound bites. Mike Brady is such a dad – convinced he possesses the level-headed wisdom of Solomon even as he is forever asking his wife where left his cowboy boots, and chuckling about how he’s sure modern women can save everything except money.
Maybe that’s why, before he married Carol and they blended their families, the Brady males were four men living all together who felt all alone: Dad was alienating his sons by pontificating every twenty-four minutes. Bet you never thought of it like that, did you?
4. TONY STARK
We guess it’s hard to speak too ill of this dead dad, considering he did save the universe from Thanos’ genocidal hijinks by snapping his own gauntleted fingers. But let’s not forget his fellow Avengers had to do some pretty hard arm-twisting to get Tony to suit up as Iron Man one more time. What was the source of his reluctance? His love for his daughter, Morgan, who was born to him and Pepper Potts in the five years after the Battle of Wakanda.
So let that sit for a bit. Yes, parents should love their kids. But should any dad really be able to choose his own daughter over half of all sentient life in the cosmos?
And even if it’d be understandable for an ordinary father to do so, do we want to let a superheroic dad like Iron Man set a precedent for choosing his family’s good over the greater good? We’re just saying it’s a slippery slope!
3. JIM HOPPER
Hawkins, Indiana’s top cop set the internet on fire with his “dad bod” dance moves. But are his actual parenting moves anything worth celebrating? Keeping Eleven secreted away in a cabin in the woods for 326 days, with nothing but bad ‘80s daytime TV for company most of the time, is morally ambiguous enough. But don’t get upset and sic a demo-dog on us. We’ll assume Hop really did have the telekinetic teen’s best interests in mind.
Here’s the real question: Did Hopper put that kid at risk of developing diabetes, feeding her his triple-decker Eggo extravaganzas? The calories in that thing probably pack more heat than any fireball Will the Wise could cast. Hopper has a lot of heart, but when it comes to planning breakfast menus, he could really stand some more coffee and contemplation.
This one’s a no-brainer. right? All you have to do is watch Marlon Brando’s performance in Superman: The Movie (1978) to see why Jor-El, brilliant scientist though he was, needed some remedial lessons in fatherhood. Does he tell Kal-El he saved him from his impending home planet’s apocalypse so the last son of Krypton could have a shot at living a full and rich life? So that Kal-El would be spared pain and suffering as his homeworld tore itself apart? No! Jor-El jaws on and on about how his son is supposed to help some planet six galaxies away – which works out well for us humans, but is an awful lot of pressure to put on a baby!
Hot tip for dads out there: Don’t give your kid a messiah complex. Sure, he or she might end up a caped wonder who stuns cities… but if your son or daughter ends up in therapy instead, guess who’s gonna shoulder the blame?
Don’t let James Earl Jones’ glorious tones drown out the harsh truth about this king of the beasts. No good father tells his son “everything the light touches” is destined to be his! “Remember who you are” – what kind of privileged nonsense is that telling Simba his place at the top of the food chain is just the way things are supposed to be? Sure, Mufasa pays lip service to the “circle of life.” But we’re willing to bet his antelope subjects didn’t find the thought their predator will one day become grass much comfort as his sharp claws and teeth ripped them apart.
Haunting your son from the clouds until he restores a suspect status quo? Sorry, Mufasa, but we can’t just Hakuna Matata that away!
Okay, okay – obviously this Father’s Day skewering of some of the most famous fathers on TV and in the movies is tongue-in-cheek. But what’s no joke is that Entertainment Earth is your one-stop shop for all the pop culture merchandise any Pop in your life would be thrilled to receive on Dad’s big day.
Don’t give him another tie he’ll never wear or soap-on-a-rope he’ll never use (which, ew, gross). Give him (or yourself) the gift of pop culture merchandise and collectible fun. Check out our special Paladone Father’s Day Sale now!
Then, let us know in the comments below: Who would you nominate as the worst dads in pop culture?