Anyway, here are my top 12 dads, in no particular order:
1. Steven Keaton from Family Ties, aka Michael Gross
What would we do, baby, without us? The Keatons were such hippies, which was awesome, and I always thought Steven was sexy in a dorky way. I had a thing for men with beards as a kid, probably because my actual dad had one... gross.
2. Troy Garland from Out of This World, aka Burt Reynolds (voice)
He's an alien dad that talks through a Tetris-looking crystal! That sounds like the Bandit! Best dad ever!
3. Willie Tanner from Alf, aka Max Wright
So nerdy and world-weary (presumably from having to put up with aiding and abetting an illegal alien), I love Willie Tanner, but mostly I want him on the show to bicker with the other Mr. Tanner (see below).
4. Jack Arnold from The Wonder Years, aka Dan Lauria
Mr. Arnold was so scary and hardcore that I used to hold my breath when he came into a room, even though we were separated by, like, electrodes and time-space continuums and, probably, 3,000 miles. He was comforting, too, though, like a protective pit bull.
5. & 6. Michael Taylor and Joey Harris from My Two Dads, aka Paul Reiser and Greg Evigan
If I had been Stacy Keanan, I would have demanded the results of that DNA test, because if Greg Evigan was NOT my dad, I would want to make out with him. (Related: OH MY GOD do not click on this Wikipedia link if you want Greg Evigan to remain forever hot in your mind's eye.)
7. Dr. Jason Seaver from Growing Pains, aka Alan Thicke
Confession: I never really liked Jason Seaver; he always struck me as kind of a dick. But he lorded over my formative years with that magnificent white man flat-top, plus he faux-sired dreamy Kirk Cameron (who I will always remember as he was before he found Jesus in the mid-90s). So that's something.
8. Tony Micelli from Who's The Boss, aka Tony Danza
Do you ever wonder if when characters have the same name as the actor who plays them it's because the actor is too dumb to respond to another name? No matter. I love Tony Danza, Tony Banta, and Tony Micelli. His good-hearted but clueless efforts to parent Alyssa Milano without a mom always tug at my heartstrings. (P.S. Someone put Katherine Helmond back on TV. Mona rocked.)
9., 10., & 11. Danny Tanner, Joey Gladstone, and Jesse Katsopolis from Full House, aka Bob Saget, Dave Coulier, and John Stamos
Danny and Joey always irked me (especially the latter. No, really--CUT. IT. OUT, motherfucker.), but these three are kind of like a single, three-headed dad so I feel they must all be recognized. Actually every single character on this show--with the exception of DJ, who I sort of identified with and whose crimped hair I coveted, and Uncle Jesse, who is hottttt--made me wince. And yet I watched Full House anyway. Ah, my devotion to even horrendous television was always there, as if from birth...
...and of course, the Grand Poobah of sitcom dads,
12. Dr. Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable from The Cosby Show, aka Bill Cosby
Who didn't want to be a stow away in the Huxtable's Brooklyn brownstone? Cosby's Cliff remains one of the most lovable, drily hilarious fictional dads of all time. Although to interview Cosby himself might be depressing, as his real life seems, um, darker than Cliff's (see also: his sexual harassment suit).
Some dads didn't make this list, either because they're
UPDATE: Thank you, Chessa, for reminding me that I cruelly disregarded Dan Conner from Roseanne, aka John Goodman.