You know, as far as we’ve come as a society, you’d think we’d see more dad TV characters with beards. And as Father’s Day approaches, we thought we’d take a look at some of our favorite TV fathers with facial hair — from mustaches to beards.
And don’t worry. We’re not going to mention that guy from My Two Dads.
First up: those old-fashioned dads who keep a stiff upper lip.
REGINALD VELJOHNSON AS CARL WINSLOW ON FAMILY MATTERS
When he wasn’t playing a police officer on TV, he was playing a police officer in movies, from Ghostbusters to Die Hard to Turner and Hooch (alright, we’ll forget the last one). We don’t know how he became type cast so often, but he always just felt right in the role.
Here’s a little trivia for you: did you know that Family Matters was a spinoff of Perfect Strangers? Mrs. Winslow had her start there, and was popular enough to warrant her own show. No one anticipated Urkel-mania sweeping the nation.
JERRY STILLER AS FRANK COSTANZA ON SEINFELD
Is this the greatest supporting character in sitcom history? How often does a so-called minor character steal a show? But that’s what George’s father does, every time he takes the screen, and that’s saying something on one of the greatest sitcoms of all time.
Forget what Dos Equis says: Frank Costanza is the most interesting man in the world. A master chef who’s also fluent in Korean, Frank invented his own holiday that’s actually caught on in the real world.
THE GREATEST GOATEES
Next up: more than a mustache, less than a beard. Dads who want the world to know they’re bald but stil pretty badass.
BRYAN CRANSTON AS WALTER WHITE ON BREAKING BAD
Definitely not the best dad on the list, Walter White started out trying to be, till the need to win led him to neglect the family he professed so much devotion for. In happier times, he would have landed in the mustache bracket, but in his transition to the dark side, to his alter ego Heisenberg, he went with the goatee.
And yeah, we’re not going to lie: it did make him look way more badass. SAY HIS NAME.
AVERY BROOKS AS BENJAMIN SISKO ON STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE
Now here’s another dad who transitioned to a goatee as his character grew, but he wasn’t a bad guy. Sisko was a single dad who commanded a Starfleet space station near a newly discovered wormhole, changing the usual Star Trek storyline from seeking out new life to letting it come find you.
It seems he needed a tougher look once those new life forms did come and find them. Fans overwhelmingly prefer his later look, when he added a shaved head to his goatee and eventually took a captain’s chair.
BEST OF THE BEARDS
Finall, the full monty. The wise, bearded patriarch. The father who knows it all and stays in control (or tries to).
JAMES AVERY AS PHILIP BANKS ON THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR
Best known as Uncle Phil, Banks wasn’t just the patriarch of wealthy family: he was a judge, and that’s a job that demands gravitas. What better than a beard to give him the authority a guy like that commands? Of course, that just set him up for conflict with Will, his offbeat nephew from Philly who tries his patience but ultimately grounds the family.
Even when Will got the best of him, fans still had a lot of love and respect for his wise uncle Phil. We’re not sure how Carlton turned out the way he did, though.
MICHAEL GROSS AS STEVEN KEATON ON FAMILY TIES
Now here’s a different kind of patriarch: the patient, soft-spoken ex-hippie who runs the local PBS affiliate because of course he does. His trim beard was more a symbol of his radical past pared back for a more modest suburban setting. But his graying whiskers also gave him an air of wisdom.
Believe it or not, the show was originally pitched as “hip parents, square kids.” While that didn’t quite pan out, a lot of the comedy here came from the contrast between the ex-hippie parents and their conservative son, Alex, who was about as opposite as you can get.
So what do you say, TV execs? Give us more of these bearded and mustachioed dads, would you?
Who’s your favorite, and who did we miss? Speaking of, don’t miss our Father’s Day sale. We’ve got everything dad needs, whatever style of facial hair he has. From those first growing pains, to keeping fuller growth manageable and smelling great, we’ve been making the products you need since 2005.
Filed under: Pop Culture