There’s gonna be a lot going around today about the best fathers in the world. But here’s the thing – sometimes the best dads aren’t necessarily the ones that give you part of their DNA. Maybe they’re related, and maybe they’re just convenient male figures in your life. Today we’re taking a look at some of the best surrogate father figures on TV.
“Children”: Prince Zuko
Good at: Unconditional love, following you into exile, making tea
Bad at: Standing up to your real dad before it all goes tits up and saving you some pain and suffering
Everyone who’s seen A:TLA knows that Uncle Iroh is the best. There’s no other way of putting it. Once the most famed general of the Fire Nation, now something of a joke after his son’s death caused him to reassess his life, Iroh follows his nephew Zuko into exile. While technically he’s there to help Zuko hunt down the Avatar in order to restore his honour, in actual fact Iroh’s there to encourage Zuko to become a better person. Even when Zuko makes bad choices, Iroh still believes him in. Zuko might spend most of Avatar chasing his father’s approval – a father who scarred him and permanently exiled him, by the way – but in the end, he comes to see that Uncle Iroh offers him the unconditional love and approval a father should give.
Good at: Being there for you when your biological dad is a dick, helping to deal with the injustices of a racist society
Bad at: Not yelling at you, being generous with money
When Phil agreed to take his wife’s nephew from West Philadelphia into his posh home in Bel Air, it’s fair to say that the two were never going to totally get along. Will’s cool and laidback. Phil’s quick to anger and authoritarian. But they care deeply for each other all the same. Phil just wants the best for his children, and he includes Will in that category. He’ll defend them to the death. And Phil will always be there for Will, supporting him when Will wants to get to know his own dad, and comforting him when he’s abandoned again. Maybe Will won’t use Lou as an example of fatherhood, but he can definitely use Uncle Phil.
“Children”: Depends on which Doctor we’re talking about
Good at: Teaching you about the glories of the universe, believing in your brilliance
Bad at: Birthdays, remembering to visit, keeping you safe
Obviously this isn’t the Doctor of recent years – we’re not here to talk about the disturbing power imbalance issues that the Doctor’s romantic relationships can bring. But some regenerations of the Doctor could be fathers to the universe. Let’s take, for today, the Seventh Doctor and his relationship with Ace. He picks her up from a cafe where she’s just whiling her life away, and takes her off on a journey across time and space. Yes, sometimes he drops her into danger, but it’s generally for her education – he won’t just explain things to Ace, he’ll let her figure things out for herself. He manipulates her a bit, but he also trusts her to be brilliant. And this article would have a lot more back-up if Doctor Who hadn’t been cancelled and Ace had ended up at the Prydonian Academy, following in the Doctor’s footsteps.