Mike Brady, “The Brady Bunch” (ABC, 1969-74): Even with a new wife and three new stepdaughters under the same roof as his own three sons, Robert Reed‘s Mike was so inexplicably laid back and unruffled in the face of any family crisis that some comics joked he must have been stoned, or at least comfortably medicated. Whatever, it seemed to work. Stepdaughter Marcia even nominated him for a local Father of the Year award!
Dr. Herb Melnick, “Two and a Half Men” (CBS, 2004-present): Is it any wonder teenage Jake Harper is such a hapless slacker given the nonstop hostilities between his divorced parents, Alan and Judith? Thankfully, Herb, Jake’s former pediatrician and now his stepdad, knows how to rise above all the shrillness and offer his stepson regular life lessons in how to keep your cool when everyone around you is losing theirs.
Alaric Salzman, “The Vampire Diaries,” (The CW, 2009-12): Orphaned teenagers Elena and Jeremy Gilbert found an unexpected but welcome and selfless father figure in local history teacher Alaric, who had a far more interesting history of his own than anyone at first suspected: He technically was also Elena’s stepfather from his marriage to Elena’s birth mother, Isobel. What a shame he wound up turned into a witch’s pawn just before his death.
Burt Hummel, “Glee” (FOX, 2009-present): Blue-collar widower Burt already had his hands full with flamboyant gay son Kurt, but that didn’t stop him from falling in love with and marrying the mother of Kurt’s classmate, Finn Hudson, a nice guy with tons of issues about his own late dad. Burt sensitively did what he could to fill that void and forged a loving extended family in the bargain.
Jay Pritchett, “Modern Family” (ABC, 2009-present): Maybe he wasn’t the most attentive dad in the world to his own kids, Claire and Mitchell, when they were growing up, but Jay has mellowed nicely in his later years. He knows he’s lucky to have a smokin’ wife in the much younger Gloria, which may be why he is so patient with 12-year-old stepson Manny.