During last night’s premiere of Parenthood, and the long awaited return of Lauren Graham to my weekly television schedule, I couldn’t help but tear up during scenes between Adam (Peter Krause) and his son Max. I may just be a big ol’ sap, but it got me thinking about some of my favorite parent characters, like Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) from To Kill a Mockingbird and George Banks from Father of the Bride (Steve Martin). If given the choice, who would I love to grow up with? Who would instill the best life lessons? Teach me how to ride a bike? Get me the best birthday presents?
While having Atticus Finch as a father would probably make me into the best person, and George Banks could give me a lifetime supply of sneakers and a solid jump shot, my pick for a 21st century pop culture parent would definitely be Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell) from Modern Family. As his daughter I may find his attempts at using outdated slang (“WTF? Why the Face?”) around my friends extremely embarrassing, when alone, I’d realize that these failed efforts are also incredibly endearing (kind of like how my dad says “Cool plus-7000”? Maybe?). Plus, Papa Phil was a cheerleader, he’s good with electronics, and he could teach me a mean British accent.
Also a contender: Rufus Humphrey from Gossip Girl. As a member of the Humphrey clan, I’d quickly get my very own Welcome Back Kotter mug and wake up to the warm aroma of Rufus’ famous waffles each morning. I’d learn how to use the subway at an early age, and I’d be a hit with my classmates on career day (at least in elementary school), bringing my ’90s rock star father to serenade us with his one-hit wonder “Everytime You Walk Away.” For my mom, there’s none other than Lorelai Gilmore, a chatterbox I could trade clothes with, and share similar tastes in music and movies. In her care, my caffeine addiction would be taken very seriously, and I could avoid eating anything remotely healthy for my entire childhood. Of course if we’re talking about choosing a parent based on his or her “cuteness,” even though we are still a day away from The Office baby, Jim Halpert may be my early favorite for Father of the Year. Imagine years from now, a little Halpert pranking a little Schrute in the sandbox, just like his Daddy!
Your turn PopWatchers. Did you catch Parenthood? Can’t wait for a new Modern Family tonight? Which pop culture parents do you wish you had? Let us know below!