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December 22, 2014

Who Are Your Favorite TV Parents?

by Sandie Angulo Chen, posted Mar 9th 2010 3:00PM
Parenthood on NBC review
Since NBC's new family dramedy 'Parenthood' premiered last week, it's time to reflect on the best of primetime parents. All of us who grew up watching TV had favorites -- the kind of parents we measured the very notion of parenthood by, and sometimes even our own mothers and fathers, because they were so sweet and loving or patient and smart or fun and free-spirited -- or all of the above. Here's your chance, as Inside TV readers, to pick your favorite set of fictional TV parents. Don't see your personal faves as a choice, just tell us in the comments.
Parenthood on NBC review
Since NBC's new family dramedy 'Parenthood' premiered last week, it's time to reflect on the best of primetime parents. All of us who grew up watching TV had favorites -- the kind of parents we measured the very notion of parenthood by, and sometimes even our own mothers and fathers, because they were so sweet and loving or patient and smart or fun and free-spirited -- or all of the above. Here's your chance, as Inside TV readers, to pick your favorite set of fictional TV parents. Don't see your personal faves as a choice, just tell us in the comments.

Small caveats about the choices: All of the parents featured are just that -- two parents -- so if you're looking for single-mom extraordinaire Lorelei Gilmore, check out TV's Most Memorable Mothers and Daughters. Ditto for widowed dads like Tom Bradford or Danny Tanner. And while it might look like fun to have an, um, crazy irresponsible "unconventional" mom or dad like Al Bundy, Peter Griffin or Nancy Botwin, we decided those parental units were better left on the list of 10 Dysfunctional TV Families. Lastly, there are TV shows about families where the kids are set dressing -- they pop up occasionally, but they're really in the background to the protagonist parents and other adults, so no Crab Man and Joy or Ray and Deborah Barone -- you get the picture.

With that said, let's see which of these small-screen parents are your absolute favorite ...

The Nelsons
'The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet'
Children:
Ricky and David
One of the only television shows to star a real-life family, Ozzie and Harriet played versions of themselves, roles they kept for a whopping 14 years. Ozzie and Harriet ushered their sons, who literally grew up on the series, through their fictional adolescent woes on the show, from dating issues to eventual marriages and jobs. Talk about a family affair.

The Stones
'The Donna Reed Show'
Children:
Mary and Jeff
Pediatrician Alex (Carl Betz) and stay-at-home mom Donna (Donna Reed) Stone are yet another set of '50s TV parents who played the then-default roles of hardworking husband and beautiful, happy housewife to perfection. Week after week, they dealt with issues big (taking in a troubled teenager) and small (which cake to bake for a dinner party) with the kind of sensitivity and humor parents everywhere still strive to achieve.


The Cleavers
'Leave it to Beaver'
Children:
Wally and Theodore "Beaver"
Ward (Hugh Beaumont) and June (Barbara Billingsley) are a romanticized slice of prototypical '50s Americana. Blissfully domestic mom stayed home, and incredibly patient dad was never too overworked to throw the ball with the boys or have dinner with the family. No matter how much mischief the boys got into, the Cleavers never screamed. As Beaver would put it, "Gee, the Cleavers were just swell."

The Bradys
'The Brady Bunch'
Children:
Greg, Marcia, Peter, Jan, Bobby and Cindy
Mike (Robert Reed) and Carol (Florence Henderson) Brady were the king and queen of blended families. His three boys and her three girls didn't co-exist in perfect harmony (what would be the fun in that?), but every instance of disappointment was met with a loving -- if often long-winded -- lecture from Mom, or, more typically, Dad. And boy, did they have fun -- annual camping trips, vacations in Hawaii, family talent shows, you name it. Plus, the parents were quite obviously in love.

The Waltons
'The Waltons'
Children:
John-Boy, Jason, Mary Ellen, Erin, Ben, Jim-Bob and Elizabeth
Long before the Duggars and the Gosselins, John (Ralph Waite) and Olivia (Michael Learned) Walton were the original mega-family parents, navigating their seven children through the daily triumphs and tragedies of living through the Great Depression. John, a sawmill owner, could be strict patriarch, but he was forgiving, and Olivia set a gentle example of generosity, always willing to take in those who needed shelter.

The Cunninghams
'Happy Days'
Children:
Richie and Joanie
Howard (Tom Bosley) and Marion (Marion Ross) Cunningham, or as the Fonz referred to them, Mr. and Mrs. C., were quintessential '50s parents on '70s TV screens. The Milwaukee couple were funny and kind but also occasionally sarcastic and silly. Not only were they great parents to high-schooler Richie and his younger sister Joanie, they were surrogate folks to Fonzie, Richie's worldly, leather-clad best friend, who rented the C's garage attic.

The Ingalls
'Little House on the Prairie'
Children:
Mary, Laura, Carrie, Grace, Albert, Cassandra and James
Charles (Michael Landon) and Caroline (Karen Grassle) Ingalls were pioneering farmers based on beloved Laura Ingalls Wilder's real-life parents. "Ma and Pa" to their children (four biological, and later three adopted), the two homesteaders were ideal frontier parents. As sweet and mild-mannered as they were with the kids, Pa was occasionally hot-headed, and Ma was never one to suffer fools, like the spoiled Nellie Oleson and her materialistic mom.

The Evanses
'Good Times'
Children:
J.J., Thelma and Michael
Florida (Esther Rolle) and James (John Amos) Evans were what we would totally describe as the working poor, living in the Chicago projects. But what they lacked in money they made up for in passion and perseverance. The first sitcom to revolve around an African American family, the show depicted (four four seasons, anyway), an intact, in-love couple that worked their hardest to get by, never accepting hand outs and always giving their kids -- especially goof-off J.J. -- a piece of their mind.



The Keatons
'Family Ties'

Children: Alex, Mallory, Jennifer, and Andrew
Politically liberal, socially conscious Elyse (Meredith Baxter) and Stephen (Michael Gross) Keaton are hip parents to square kids -- particularly the Reagan-obsessed Alex and the traditional girly girl, Mallory. In today's parenting lingo, Elyse and Stephen would be called "co-parents," both of whom shared equally in the responsibility of raising their kids. The Keatons dealt with their share of "very special episode" problems -- from alcoholism to sex to pill-popping -- and handled them all with grace. (Check out Elyse and Stephen in their parenting glory here.)

The Huxtables
'The Cosby Show'
Children:
Sondra, Denise, Theo, Vanessa and Rudy
Cliff and Clair Huxtable were almost impossibly perfect -- a doctor and lawyer raising five kids in a posh Brooklyn brownstone, they did everything with style. They danced, they lip-synced, they taught their children and America about everything from jazz to historical black colleges to how cool and knowledgeable grandparents could be if you just gave them a chance. The '80s, like the '50s, were truly the peak of family sitcoms, in large part thanks to amazing Huxtables.

The Seavers
'Growing Pains'
Children:
Mike, Carol, Ben and Chrissy
Like the Keatons, Jason (Alan Thicke) and Maggie (Joanna Kerns) Seaver were both working parents (he a psychiatrist, she a TV reporter) juggling fulfilling careers with three older kids and a baby. As was en vogue in the '80s, the Seavers handled considerably more alarming issues than sitcom parents from decades past, like drunk driving, eating disorders, homelessness, and teen death, but they also laughed a lot and, as expected, managed to stay close through all the rough patches.

The Conners
'Roseanne'
Children: Becky, Darlene and D.J.
Dan (John Goodman) and Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) Conner were working class parents with realistic problems and even more realistic attitudes about parenting. They were sarcastic and crass and no one would ever, ever confuse them with the Cosbys or Keatons. They had to put up with a lot of serious issues -- from drug abuse to abortion -- but ultimately they truly loved their three kids, and that made all of the difference.

The Winslows
'Family Matters'
Children:
Eddie, Laura, Judy and 3J
Before the Urkel-craze shifted the show's focus to the Winslow's nerdy neighbor, security manager Harriette (Jo Marie Payton) and police officer Carl (Reginald VelJohnson) Winslow were the backbone of the show. Carl, a self-proclaimed "Big Kahuna" looked imposing but often kowtowed to his even stronger-willed wife. The two not only had to shepherd their own kids but also deal Steve Urkel, the aforementioned neighbor in love with their daughter. For that alone the Winslows deserve praise.

The Camdens
'7th Heaven'
Children: Matt, Mary, Lucy, Simon, Ruthie, Sam and David
Reverend Eric Camden (Stephen Collins) and his loving wife Annie (Catherine Hicks) were not raising the stereotypical pastor's family, nor were they uptight sticks in the mud. Every episode brought its major (alcoholism, pregnancy, divorce) or, as was usually the case, minor (lying, breaking curfew, ordinary teen hijinks) controversies, and the Camdens did their share of sermonizing and hugging to parent their many kids through the tribulations of suburban adolescence.

The Lopezes
'The George Lopez Show'
Children:
Carmen and Max
Lopez and his on-screen wife Angie (Constance Marie) are masters at catching their kids in the act. Having had a tough childhood himself, Lopez is especially well-versed at cutting through his kids' lies and getting them to spit out the truth. As the heads of one of TV's few Latino families, the Lopezes often poked fun at cultural stereotypes, imbuing a little sabor into the otherwise nearly all-white landscape of family shows in the 2000s.

The Taylors
'Friday Night Lights'
Children:
Julie and baby Gracie
High-school football coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) and his principal wife Tami (Connie Britton) have only two biological children, but they play a central role in the lives of most of the Panthers football team. On the homefront, the birth of baby Gracie proves far more challenging than other on-screen babies, as the Taylors have to deal with an infant and a hormonally-charged Julie, who begins to sow her wild oats. They Taylors aren't sitcom-perfect, but that's just another reason to love them.

The Prtichett-Delgados/Dunphys/Pritchett-Tuckers
'Modern Family'
Children: Manny/Haley, Alex, Luke/Lily
Whether it's family patriarch Jay (Ed O'Neill) and his second wife Gloria (Sofia Vergara) raising her precocious tween, or Jay's daughter Claire (Julie Bowen) and her husband Phil (Ty Burrell) trying their hardest with three spirited kids, or Claire's younger brother Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and his partner Cam (Eric Stonestreet) delighting in their adopted baby Lily, the two generations of Pritchetts and their partners are all surprisingly good parents in a dysfunctional but lovable extended family.







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nyzfinestl87

Sandy + Kirsten Cohen from the OC!

January 05 2012 at 3:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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