Many sitcoms and TV dramas rely on bad parents to push the plot along and give the young characters reasons to act out. Whether the bad parents are the punchline or the motive, they are always memorable. Below is a list of 24 of the most horrendous parents from popular TV shows.
1. Frank Gallagher
I think it’s obvious why Frank Gallagher makes the top of the list. He’s the father of the big family in Shameless and always seems to be drunk. His alcoholism is a major theme in the show, but it’s not funny. He constantly puts alcohol before his children, and it’s truly heartbreaking.
2. Bart Bass
I know there is an abundance of terrible parents on Gossip Girl, but Bart Bass might take the cake. He’s an egotistical man with warped values and morals that he instills in his teenage son. Yes, Chuck was not a great guy, but with a role model like this, I can’t blame him for being a jerk.
3. Adora Crellin
Adora Crellin is the mother in Sharp Objects, a gripping limited series you need to go watch right now. She is an abhorrent mother who plays the role of the doting mom who would do anything for her children. I don’t want to spoil too much, but she is a monster.
4. Cal and Marsha Jacobs
Cal and Marsha are the parents of Nate Jacobs in the highly dramatic show Euphoria. From the beginning, we know that Cal is not the best dad, as he puts his desires to the needs of his children. But the mom doesn’t show her true colors until later in the series, and it turns out she’s crazy too. The whole family needs help.
5. Kitty and Red Foreman
This one might be up for debate, but I think many people feel that Kitty and Red were not always the best parents. Red, in particular, could be a very harsh and unforgiving father; he even scared me when I was a kid. And Kitty was just out to lunch in many situations, although always hilarious.
6. Frank Reynolds
Can we even consider Frank Reynolds a father? He acts like a stupid kid in the show, just like all the other characters in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I don’t think that man has a paternal bone in his body and definitely didn’t do much to raise Dennis and Dee.
7. The Duggars
The Duggars are the parents from the TLC reality series 19 Kids and Counting. If you haven’t seen the show, you’re lucky. It’s sad to watch all these children grapple for their parent’s attention, and the older kids are basically forced to parent their siblings. And that’s just what you see on the show.
8. The Turners
The Turners are the parents of poor Timmy Turner from Fairly Odd Parents. Timmy’s parents were so bad that he was assigned his fairy godparents to save him from the heartbreaking neglect. They leave him with an abusive babysitter, make fun of him, and are overall terrible people and worse parents.
9. The Bings
The Bings are Chandler’s parents on the popular sitcom Friends. It’s no secret in the show that Chandler is traumatized by his parents and childhood. They both had numerous affairs when Chandler was young and made no attempt to shield him from their chaotic marital problems and divorce.
10. Lucille Bluth
Lucille Bluth from Arrested Development is a cold and cruel mother who will be coddling one of her children one minute and the next, belittling one of them. She is an unpredictable woman who is quite unforgiving and callous when it comes to her children, which is likely why they are all so emotionally unstable.
11. Malory Archer
Mallory is Archer’s mother in the animated show Archer, where they both work as spies, at least for the first few seasons. She is similar to Lucille Bluth in many ways, except she may keep even more secrets from her son.
12. Frank and Marie Barone
Marie and Frank Barone are the lead character’s parents in the show Everybody Loves Raymond. They are easily two of the funniest characters on their show, but they are definitely not the best parents, as they play favorites, criticize, and even shame their two children.
13. Kris Kardashian
Another reality TV parent who is not the most caring is Kris Kardashian. I believe Kris loves all of her children, but I think she also sees them as walking dollar signs. She has pushed many of her children into projects, and her motives are often questionable, so I wouldn’t call her mother of the year.
14. The Gellers
Along with the Bings, Ross and Monica’s parents are also unpleasant. Jack and Judy are simultaneously dumb and harsh, especially when it comes to Monica. Judy, in particular, is an awful mother who makes Monica feel bad about herself every chance she gets, and it’s painful to watch.
15. The Drapers
Betty and Don are both unhinged humans who are not fit to be parents. They treat each other poorly and seem to galavant around doing whatever they want without even thinking about their young children. It’s like being a parent was an afterthought to them.
16. The Horseman's
BoJack is a complex and unstable character, but with parents like Beatrice and Butterscotch, he had no chance of turning out okay. Both his parents consistently reminded him that he was a mistake and they didn’t want him, all while belittling his interests and dreams.
17. Mickey Aldrin
Mickey is Lily’s father in How I Met Your Mother. While he sort of redeems himself later in the series, I don’t think he could ever be fully redeemed from his bad parenting. He basically abandoned Lily to follow his pipe dreams and never really makes up for it.
18. Ross Geller
As mentioned, Ross's parents are terrible to Monica, but they treat him okay. However, Ross seems like a pretty absent parent. He has a son and then continues living his post-divorce life like nothing happened! Where is Ben throughout the ten seasons of the show? He shows up a handful of times, making Ross look like a bad parent.
19. Homer Simpson
Homer Simpson is not the most competent or kind parent to his children, so many call him a bad dad. However, he sacrificed his dreams and stayed at his soul-crushing job when Maggie was born so he could provide for his family, which is sweet.
20. Linda Flynn and Lawrence Fletcher
Linda and Lawrence are Phineas, Ferb, and Candace’s parents. In case it’s not obvious, they are some of the worst parents because they constantly leave their young children at home alone for hours. They also force Candace to babysit, even when she has plans.
21. Jimmy Pesto
Jimmy Pesto is one of the characters in Bob’s Burgers and is not the best dad. He doesn’t seem to have any interest in connecting with or even raising his three young children. Jimmy shames his oldest son for wanting to dance and treats his twins like aliens.
22. Dee Dee Blanchard
Dee Dee Blanchard is the mother in the limited series The Act. The show is about her very sick daughter, who turns out not to be sick at all. Dee Dee has been slowly poisoning her child to keep her dependent on her, and I don’t think it gets more twisted than that.
23. Lily van der Woodsen
Lily van der Woodsen is another Gossip Girl parent who deserves a shoutout on this list. She is such a cold and selfish mother and cares more about appearances and reputation than her children’s happiness. She has some okay moments but is mostly a poor parent throughout the series.
24. Stan and Francine Smith
As much as I love Stan and Francine from American Dad!, they are not the best parents. They hold grudges against their children, lie to them, manipulate them, and do other horrible things. While they are hilarious, it would be a stretch to call them loving parents.