Yes, they’re fictional, but the way they made us feel was real.

Father's Day, gift guide

Words: Lesego Ntsime | Images: Getty

A parent, a loving friend, a wise teacher, your biggest supporter - Dad. Every one of us has a favourite TV dad.

Maybe he’s the funny guy who likes basketball or the stern man with a heart of gold. Whoever he is for each one of us - he keeps us glued to our screens.

This Father’s Day, we round up a list of our top 6 TV dads who simply melt our hearts. 

TV dads, Uncle Phil, Father's Day

First thing’s first: RIP, Uncle Phil. Known affectionately as Uncle Phil, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s Phillip Banks (James Avery) makes our list of top TV dads for his equally stern and kind-hearted nature. This is the dad who believes in you wholeheartedly and encourages you to be the best ‘you’ you can be even if it takes you a little while to see it. Albeit regarded as the antagonist of the sitcom, in hindsight we can all agree that Uncle Phil taught us some lessons we didn’t know we’d need today. Be assertive, stand your ground, give it your best and approach life with a sharp and clear mindset. 

TV dads, Michael Kyle, Father's Day

As the main protagonist of the sitcom My Wife and Kids, Michael Kyle (Damon Wayans) is not your average dad. Implausibly funny and carefree with an unconventional parenting style he’s often no stress, just vibes - for the most part. As with any parent you can expect some level of sternness but this doesn’t arrive without wit or a light joke. A lover of basketball and video games ‘Mike’ is the dad who will beat you at FIFA and be unapologetic about it. We don’t know about you but we love a dad with a sense of humour and larger than life personality. Who doesn’t want a dad for a friend? 

Phil Dunphy, TV dads, Father's Day

Modern Family’s Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell) makes our list of top TV dads of all time because he’s the dad that tries. Often falling short when it comes to bonding with his children Phil has a big heart and wants his children to experience it. Quirky - we mean, who uses a parenting guide to raise children? - and exhibiting the capacity to hold space Phil likes to think of himself as a “cool dad” and we have to agree. Nothing says cool like intention so we totally get him. He’s funny, entertaining and a tech-dad so you don’t have to worry about teaching him how to use his phone. Easy-going, happy-go-lucky and relentlessly optimistic Phil is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of guy. 

Zeb Matabane, Isidingo, TV dads, Father's Day

Sourced from TV with Thinus

A tough exterior and the mushiest interior - that’s as concisely as we can describe Isidingo’s Zebediah ‘Bra Zeb’ Matabane (Don Mlangeni). Father to Leti and Parsons Matabane, Bra Zeb was the archetypal parent - strict, uncompromising, and honourable. However, underneath all that was a dad who maintained a presence in every way. Expect this dad to show up to every game, award ceremony, and event. We’re fans of his ability to humble himself before his children and remain open to learning - because parents are people too right? Generosity, a bright smile, and a no-nonsense approach that’s sometimes necessary make Zeb Matabane one of our fave TV dads of all time. 

TV dads, Sonny Jacobs, Generations, Father's Day

Sourced from Briefly ZA

There was no way we were going to have a list of top TV dads without including a dad from South Africa’s first family meeting place - the soapie Generations.  Sonny Jacobs (Cedwyn Joel) was exactly that, sunny with zero chances of rain. A family man who dedicated his life to show up for those he loved Sonny Jacobs was everything a dad should be - warm and caring. Wearing the brightest smile with his signature spandex - this is the dad who is always willing to give you a hug. 

Father's Day, TV dads, Jack Pearson
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