Father’s Day is this Sunday and if you bought your dad a tie, you are clearly the worst. Seriously, he would like anything more: anything, up to and including a VHS copy of Three Men and a Little Lady. If you took the lazy, predictable way out and purchased a corporate noose for your pops, leave now and read this later. I can wait.
Back? Okay. Got him an Applebee’s gift card? Acceptable. See, your father, for better or worse, helped bring you into this world. He might have taught you to throw a baseball so you would join the majors and not embarrass him in front of the neighbors. Maybe he taught you about the birds and the bees and told you demons would drag you to Hell if you had sex before marriage. The point is, Father’s Day is a time to thank Dad for his contributions to the adult you are now.
However, not all fathers are created equal, as entertainment has showed us time and again. Here are just a few shit-heel dads in pop culture that will make you forgive your pops for telling the girl down the street that you were sweet on her.
Stannis Baratheon (Game of Thrones)
Ah, Game of Thrones’ Stannis Baratheon, who claimed to have a right to the crown of Westeros. Stannis was father to sweet little Shireen, an angel of a girl who taught Stannis’ right-hand man to read and promised to help her daddy in any way she could. What Shireen couldn’t have known was that religious zealot and Stannis’ side-lady Melisandre would convince her beloved father to burn her alive as a stepping stone for more power on his road to seizing the crown. Even Stalin would have blinked at that. If there’s a Hell in the Game of Thrones universe, I’d say Stannis is sharing a fecal trough with his nephew Joffrey.
Yep, Jor-El, biological dad to Kal-El, the Metropolis Marvel known as Superman. True, Jor-El gets 20 points for Gryffindor for constructing a rocket to send his infant son into space and thus save him from the destruction of their home planet of Krypton. However, if Jor-El was so smart, he couldn’t have made a rocket big enough to accommodate himself and his wife as well? “Welp, send the kid into space and hope for the best”? Dafuq? Um, even if the ship was programmed to head toward Earth, who knows what kind of space orcs or solar radiation could have snuffed the kid out? Pretty big gamble, Jor-El. You got fucking lucky.
Thomas Wayne (Batman)
Thomas Wayne clearly was an awful father. Any dad who enjoyed stepping in front of bullets more than living with his wife Martha and son Bruce is clearly unfit. Good job, douche-canoe.
Anthony Cooper, John Locke’s dad (Lost)
John Locke, one of the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815, hit the shitty dad trifecta. Cooper cons him out of a kidney? Check. Tries to marry another woman to grift money from the gal and her son? Check. Pushes John out a window when confronted by this, paralyzing John? Check. I’m not always one for violence, but his death by chain strangulation at the hands of Sawyer was too good for the bastard. Revenge porn? I’ll take it.
George Bailey (It’s a Wonderful Life!)
Look, just because you’re at the end of your rope and lost an $8,000 deposit for the bank doesn’t mean you should take it out on your kids when you come home. Know who probably wouldn’t have lost that money or yelled at the children? Your hero brother, Harry. Man, I wish Harry were here…
Darth Vader (The Star Wars saga)
It’s not so much that before he became Darth Vader that Anakin Skywalker sold out the Jedi and slaughtered young and old Force-users alike. It’s not even that, as Vader, he cut off his son’s Luke’s hand and dropped the bomb that he was Luke’s pops. It’s not even that he threatened to turn his own daughter to the Dark Side of the Force. It’s really the fact that, in The Empire Strikes Back, he offers Luke the opportunity to rule the galaxy alongside Vader and then, by Return of the Jedi, he’s basically, “Whatevs, I’m the Emperor’s attack dog, you had your shot, Luke.” Really? Vader should have known that kids take cajoling and time to come around. I guess when since Vader’s daddy was the Living Force (God, fuck you, Episode I), he didn’t have a model for good parenting. Oh, and that whole “torturing his daughter and blowing up her adopted world” thing was a tad uncouth as well.