The Best Life Advice from 20 TV Dads


Happy Father’s Day to all the dads and father figures out there. We’re celebrating with some of the best life advice from pop culture’s padres, particularly the parents from television. These TV fathers have entertained us over the years and continue to teach us valuable lessons about life, love, and happiness — with a few terrible jokes thrown in for good measure.

Tony Soprano, The Sopranos

“You’re a nice guy, and that’s a good thing for Chrissakes!”

Al Bundy, Married with Children

“Son, always remember the Bundy Credo. Lie when your wife is waking. Lie when your belly’s aching. Lie when you know she’s faking. Lie, sell shoes and lie.”

Homer Simpson, The Simpsons

“Kids, you tried your best, and you failed miserably, the lesson is . . . never try.”

Phil Dunphy, Modern Family

“Haley, this is real life, not an excellent movie.”

Jim Walsh, Beverly Hills, 90210

“Well, there’s no free lunch, Brandon. You get what you pay for in this world.”

George Lopez, George Lopez

“Carmen, it’s okay, you’re beautiful on the inside, they all don’t hate you, you’ll find something you’re good at, there’ll be other boys, you probably need some time alone.”

Burt Hummel, Glee

“I guess I’m not totally in love with the idea, but, if that’s who you are, there’s nothing I can do about it. And I love you just as much. Ok?”

Rick Grimes, The Walking Dead

“You are not safe. No matter how many people are around, or how clear the area looks, no matter what anyone says, no matter what you think, you are not safe. It only takes one second. One second and it’s over. Never let your guard down, ever.”

Mike Brady, The Brady Bunch

“Jan, a real friend likes you for who you are, not what’s on your face. If you judge your friends for passing judgment on you, you’re not only judging yourself you’re judging your friends for judging you. And that would be using bad judgment.”

Alan Matthews, Boy Meets World

“The future’s always incomplete. That’s why they call it ‘the future.’ When it’s complete, they tend to call it ‘the past’.”

Philip Banks, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

“Being a joker’s what’s gotten you into trouble. You may think it’s cool to be on the streets when you’re 17, but when you’re my age, it’s a waste.”

Hank Hill, King of the Hill

“Son, I’m going to show you how the world really works. I’m going to take your wallet, kick you to the ground, and punch you in the gut.”

Tim Taylor, Home Improvement

“Christmas is not about being with people you like. It’s about being with your family.”

Carl Otis Winslow, Family Matters

“Don’t you know when you make a mistake, you fess up to it. Trying to cover it up would only make it worse.”

Howard Cunningham, Happy Days

“I wanted my children to go as far as their gifts could take them.”

Danny Tanner, Full House

“I think the two of you should try to put yourselves in the other person’s shoes… or paws. This is very simple. Friends deserve a fair hearing.”

Peter Griffin, Family Guy

“This is life so go and have a ball. Because the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you may not be right for some. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have . . . my opening statement.”

Hal, Malcolm in the Middle

“You can have anything you want son if you’re willing to work for it, just reach for the stars and never let go. I should’ve told you that a long time ago. And when you write an angry letter hold on to it for a day, you might not feel the same in the morning, and never invest in a friend’s restaurant, never.”

Ward Cleaver, Leave it to Beaver

“That’s one of the advantages of being a kid – the biggest problem in your life seldom lasts more than twenty-four hours.”

Charles Ingalls, Little House on the Prairie

“You know we have a lot of funny notions born inside of us, Half-Pint. The funniest is that we’re supposed to hide the way we feel about people. Let me tell you, everybody wants to know that they are loved, or needed, or cared about. Anybody who doesn’t want to know that has something wrong with them.”