The deadbeat dad is sort of a difficult character to peg down in movies and TV – after all, the thing that makes him a deadbeat is that he's never around, so it wouldn't make sense if he was hanging out all the time. Still, this is the life we've chosen, so here are six deadbeat dads from TV and the movies. Happy Fathers' Day!
George Bluth, "Arrested Development"
Bluth clan played by Jeffrey Tambor cares much about what his children think of him – he's been around too long for all of that. Besides, he says he's not guilty of the white-collar crimes that landed him in prison – where, incidentally, he's doing "the time of [his] life."
Royal Tenenbaum, "The Royal Tenenbaums"
And yet, there are deadbeat dads who try to make it right with their families. Like Gene Hackman's Royal, who does just that, albeit in the worst way imaginable. After a long absence during which all of his formerly genius children have gone to seed, Royal comes back with some bad news: He's dying. Of cancer. It turns out that his "doctor" doesn't exist and his medication is Tic-Tacs, which really shouldn't have surprised anybody.
Philip Godard, "Toys Are Not For Children"
A lesson to all would-be deadbeat dads out there: Your daughter may develop an unhealthy fixation on you, enter into a life of prostitution, then try to visit you, upon which you will unwittingly have sex with her before finding out the terrible truth and getting pushed out of your hotel room window. Just FYI.
Peter Griffin, "Family Guy"
Of course, you can be a deadbeat dad without being an absentee father. The titular "guy" of the Griffin family proves that in pretty much every episode of "Family Guy," as he puts his needs above those of his wife and children, and just generally gets into all kinds of crazy and pop-culture-reference-heavy jams. This is one family that would probably be better off without the dad.
Jerry Lundegaard, "Fargo"
William H. Macy in "Fargo" might not seem like a deadbeat – he's got a well-paying job, a nice house, and a fairly agreeable relationship with his wife and son. But then you remember he hired a couple thugs to kidnap his wife for ransom, and he goes into the Deadbeat Dad Hall of Fame.
Roy Neary, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"
Steven Spielberg is famous for including deadbeat dads in his movies, although it's almost always from the child's point of view. That's not the case in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" which follows Richard Dreyfuss on his journey from a mildly frustrated father to a guy who literally abandons his family to hang out with aliens. Interstellar Deadbeat Dad!