The One TV Father That Best Represents The Dads Of Today
Generations of television watchers were told that father knows best, but, in 2016, most TV dads are just trying to do their best. They're learning as they go along, making mistakes along the way that only make them better fathers. These dads are more attuned with their emotions, and, perhaps because of that, seem more connected with their kids. These dads aren't idealized, they're learning as much as they're teaching. And no one seems to better represent this new kind of softer, gentler dad better than Bob Belcher from Bob's Burgers.
Considering the way he tries to instill a work ethic in each of his three kids, Tina, Gene, and Louise, Bob Belcher is a dad in every sense of the word. It's almost like Bob is the perfect combination of TV's greatest dads. He's a pinch of Ward Cleaver from Leave It To Beaver, unafraid to admit when he's made a mistake, and often turning that moment into a teachable one — like when he gets into a helicopter battle and realizes Gene was right for not wanting to fight.
He's a dash of Andy Griffith, teaching his three wildly different kids to always do what is right. Bob often does this while doing what is wrong. When he gets a bad review from food critic Moody Foodie, he takes him hostage, realizing, perhaps a little too late, that this is not how to handle this situation. But better late than never, since Bob trusts that his kids will make the right decision, even when he may not.
But while Bob exemplifies these classic dad traits, he's very clearly a dad of his time. He's the aughts' answer to Homer Simpson, a kinder, more responsible dad who would never lay a hand on his kid, unless it was for a big hug. It seems like no surprise that the character who best represents a dad in 2016 is the father of two young girls that he supports in every way he can. Bob is sweet, caring, and, most importantly, he is completely nonjudgmental of his daughters. Bob encourages them to be who they are and makes it clear he will always love them for it. With Tina, that's a horse-loving, erotic fiction-writing lover of boys. With Louise, it's a prankster who messes with people she thinks are idiots.
Bob is supportive and will do anything for any of his kids. We we see this most often with Tina. Being a teenager isn't easy, but Bob is there for her when she needs him most, often in the oddest of ways. He's taken on extra jobs to help Tina throw a party where she can finally get kissed. He's held out on fixing the fry machine so that he can afford to send Tina to horse camp. He's helped her learn how to shave her legs by shaving his own in the process. He's even dressed up as one of The Equestranauts (Bob's Burgers play on My Little Pony) to help get back at a group of men who stole Tina's favorite pony, nearly getting a full back tattoo to keep the ruse going. Now that's love.
But Bob wouldn't be the father he is without a partner like Linda, who is right there with him every step of the way. They are the perfect team, working together to raise their kids to be individuals. Bob is the straight man to Linda's, and the rest of his family's, zaniness. The one who most often seems to wonder what he's getting himself into, but, despite that, goes right along with the flow, making sure he's on their side every time. His love is unconditional and nonjudgmental, as we see over and over again.
Bob wants to be their hero, or at least, earn their respect. His love for them seems genuine and real. It's what we all want from our dad, to feel loved and respected for who we are, not who they wish we would be. The patriarch on Bob's Burgers is not perfect, and isn't trying to be. He's just trying to love his family the best way he knows how. And this is why Bob Belcher is the best dad on TV right now.
Images: Fox; Giphy (2)