5 Bad Fathers in Pop Culture

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With Father’s Day coming up this weekend, let’s be glad these guys weren’t our dads.

You think your dad is embarrassing because he can’t do Fortnite dances properly and his jokes are all lame puns? Hey – at least he didn’t train you to be an assassin!

And no, I’m not talking about Batman. Nightwing and the Robins (which would be a terrible band name) are non-lethal vigilantes, which is kind of the opposite of an assassin.

As much as I would have liked to have put Batman on this list, if Gotham’s Social Services say he’s not guilty of being a terrible dad – well that’ll have to be good enough for me.

So here are 5 other dastardly dads instead.

Big Daddy (Kick-Ass)

Not to be confused with the Big Daddies from the Bioshock series, Big Daddy is the alter-ego of Damon Macready, a police officer whose wife was killed by a mob boss. Damon managed to escape their grasp, however, and took his young daughter Mindy with him so he could keep her safe.

He trained his daughter to be an assassin so that they could both become superheroes and fight crime. While he took the name Big Daddy, his daughter took the name Hit-Girl. It was an appropriate name for her to take – the pair of them were more than happy to take the lives of those they considered criminals.

That sounds bad enough, right?

But it turns out that Big Daddy is actually little more than a self-deluded and psychopathic comic book fan who essentially kidnapped Mindy from her mother – who was still alive, by the way.


Fire Lord Ozai (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

I don’t know about you, but I hate it when I’m a prince of the Fire Nation in the Avatar universe (the element-bending one, not the tall smurf one) and I speak out of turn in a war council and then I have to fight my father in a deadly duel which I lose and am then scarred for life and then banished from the kingdom – all so my father can salvage his pride.

I mean, jeez Dad – you had like 14 years or whatever to train me in the art of diplomacy and how to behave at the war table but all you ever did was compare me to my much more talented sister and show me how to throw fireballs at people.

Do you know who else could relate to that? Prince Zuko from the Avatar universe (still not the tall blue cat people), that’s who.

For most of the Last Airbender series, Zuko strives to catch the Avatar (still not that one, and yes I’m done with this gag now). It’s not because he fears the Avatar, or even because he considers the Avatar a threat – it’s purely so that his father will accept him again.

Now, call me old-fashioned (You’re old-fashioned – The Editor) but I was under the impression that a father’s love was supposed to be unconditional.

Also I lied, I’m not a Fire Nation prince and none of that stuff ever happened to me. But it makes you think, doesn’t it?


Okay, let’s move on then.

Thanos (Marvel Cinematic Universe)

There’s a meme which states ‘Thanos Did Nothing Wrong’, because we still live in a world where some people think that population culling is preferable to changing the way we deal with sharing resources.

Now, while the meme is supposed to be ironic, the ‘logic’ behind the ironic meaning is still straight-up incorrect.

Or would it actually be okay if I tried to wipe out an entire race of beings (isn’t there a word for that?) and then adopted a daughter from the few surviving members, then raised her to be a warrior/spy, constantly played her off against her adopted sister, and then sacrificed her so that I could use my fancy hand-based jewellery to literally wipe out half the universe?

Like, can I do all that and then seriously have ‘done nothing wrong’?

Asking for a friend whose face looks like a prune had a fight with an eggplant and they both lost.

Reginald Hargreeves (Umbrella Academy)

All the previous fathers in this article have been, for lack of a better word, evil. This one is just cold. See, some children will do anything for a bit of attention, even if it’s negative attention.

But even though he travelled the world to collect super-powered babies in order to create a team to fight crime and armageddon, Reginald Hargreeves is not the kind of person to give them attention – positive or negative.

No, he’d much rather expend his mental energies training a chimpanzee how to act like a person who could be their father figure in his place, or building an ultra-realistic android to be their mother figure, than deal with their insolence.

Although, he didn’t actually train Pogo the chimp to replace him as their father figure. That seems worse, somehow.

Reginald wasn’t very good at being a dad – or at being a human for that matter.

James (Fallout 3)

James almost doesn’t belong on this list, and not just because every person I’ve met in real life called James is a dead-set legend.

James, your father from Fallout 3, really does have the best of intentions. And unlike Ozai, he will love you unconditionally. Hell, you can literally nuke an entire town and he’ll just give you the ‘I’m not angry, just disappointed’ speech (by which I mean he says that one line about it and then never addresses it again).

It’s not the fact that he left the Vault you grew up in. It’s not the fact that he yells at you for leaving the Vault even though you were forced to leave because of his actions. It’s not even the fact that he doesn’t care that his lab assistant was killed because of his actions.

No, it’s the fact that James sacrifices himself by entering and locking a heavily irradiated room EVEN THOUGH YOU BROUGHT A GIANT RADIATION-PROOF SUPER-MUTANT BUDDY ALONG WITH YOU unless you have the DLC for the game.

Like, why you gotta do me like this, Daddy Jim? You really gonna die UNLESS I PAY REAL WORLD MONEY?

Don’t get me wrong though: I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed.

If you’d like to read about 5 Good Fathers in Pop Culture instead of these human trashbags, you can do so here.

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