This Father’s Day, IFC’s Stephen King Father of Horror marathon will prove he’s the master of scary dads, but we all know real fathers can be far more mortifying. One “Dad joke” can be more socially devastating than every sewer-dwelling clown or hatchet wielding Jack Nicholson. These mortifying dads prove that there’s nothing scarier than family.
10. Jack Byrnes, Meet the Parents
Greg Focker’s father is careless enough to cause friction in any family, but father-in-law-to-be Jack (Robert DeNiro) makes family dinners more excruciating than being dragged over sandpaper. Especially when he starts talking about his nipples.
9. George Banks, Father of the Bride
Steve Martin’s George Banks can transfer embarrassment like fine wine — he’s a cringe-connoisseur serving up only the most masterful mortification to everyone around him. Father of the Bride gives him the most perfect position, motivation, and excuse to do exactly that.
8. Red Foreman, That ’70s Show
Red Foreman is the most precious of parents: one who continually humiliates his son while remaining utterly, indignantly, ass-dumbingly above any feeling of shame for himself. Because he’s always right. He’s everyone’s favorite television dad, as long as he’s not their dad.
7. Peter Griffin, Family Guy
Other sitcom dads might humiliate their family, but they usually mean well. Peter Griffin will outright target his loved ones for the least perceived transgressions. Peter is the suburban dad id incarnate, acting on every perceived slight with hilarious consequences.
6. Noah Levenstein, American Pie
Jim Levenstein already has enough embarrassing problems to collapse into a shame-induced singularity. With Noah for a dad, it’s a surprise he doesn’t spontaneously combust. Noah’s attempt to talk to Jim about sex, after finding his son hip deep in a homemade apple pie, are the stuff of life-long trauma.
5. Phil Dunphy, Modern Family
With his corny jokes and knack for saying the wrong thing in most situations, Phil is the epitome of the awkward dad. But he loves his kids, even when he’s making them watch his latest magic trick.
4. George McFly, Back to the Future
George McFly humiliated his kid before he even had one, embarrassing Marty by proxy with every single step of the courtship that created him.
3. Larry, Maron
If anything awkward or embarrassing can happen to a regular guy, then it’s happened to Marc Maron. When his father arrives with an RV full of “Maron’s Mix,” a miracle vitamin he’s huckstering to anyone in range, it’s just one more way Marc’s pop is ruining the Maron name.
2. Dr. Evil, Austin Powers
A merely embarrassing father shows you up in front of friends or family. Dr. Evil did that and added the entire world, continually cutting down his son, Scott, on the sort of scale only a megavillain can manage. (Click here to find out when the Austin Powers movies air this month on IFC.)
1. Homer Simpson
Whether he’s passing out drunk on the lawn or running naked through Springfield, Homer Simpson is the most humiliating (and longest running) parent in TV history. It’s amazing after all this time the guy still has a family to go home to.