When a TV show introduces children into a storyline, it changes everything. The parent character now has a whole new set of responsibilities and their relationship with everyone else in the show changes. That is, unless they’re just awful parents who pay little or no attention to their children. Lots of shows make the children such a small part of the story that you almost forget they exist. Here are 10 TV parents who probably would’ve had social services called on them at some point. SPOILER: There are spoilers, in case you haven’t seen some of these shows.
1. Steve Urkel’s Parents – Family Matters
Dr. Herb and Diane Urkel were rarely mentioned on the show, and for good reason. They never make any appearances and clearly have no interest in their terrible son’s life, which is why he’s constantly crawling all over the Winslow’s home. In the fifth season they take their garbage parenting to a new level when they sold their home and moved to Russia without bringing Steve along. Thanks mom and dad!
2. Mami and Papi – Dora the Explorer
Whenever Dora’s parents show up they act like they’re the most loving and wonderful mother and father in the world, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. They’re completely negligent and allow their child to wander around in horribly dangerous situations all alone. There’s even a fox that is constantly stalking and hunting her. A phone call from her parents to animal control would take care of this, but of course they ignore it like they do everything else in her life.
3. Dexter Morgan – Dexter
If Dexter had ended after the Trinity Killer season, not only would it have gone out on an insanely high note, but we also could have avoided watching a serial killer turn into one of the worst parents this side of Casey Anthony’s house. He immediately ships his stepchildren off to their grandparents and hires a nanny for his son, who basically raises him. Dexter shows up to tell him goodnight or to tussle his hair before he leaves in the morning and that’s about it. At least he never left him at Batista’s awful restaurant.
4. Every Parent on Saved by the Bell
Jessie had a stepbrother we saw one time and then was never spoken of again, Slater’s dad only showed up to ridicule him for not joining the military, Kelly’s parents ruined her prom, and the only time Zack’s mom decided to get involved was when she was trying to make her teenage son go to a Peter, Paul, and Mary concert. Don’t forget Lisa’s parents who clearly just tried to buy her love by throwing a credit card at her, and Screech’s parents who we only saw when they were going on vacation and leaving him alone. I’m assuming they never spoke to him again.
5. Jessica Brody – Homeland
We could fault her and Brody just for birthing Dana, who may be one of the most annoying TV characters ever spawned from the pits of a swamp, but the real issue is with their son, Chris. It’s clear they hate him and want nothing to do with him and if you’ve never noticed it, it’s because they always asked him to leave as soon as they realized he was in the room.
6. Lori Grimes – The Walking Dead
I’m sure it’s incredibly difficult raising a child in a world overrun with zombies that want nothing more than to eat your flesh, but good lord was Lori awful. Her young son Carl was trying to deal with the world coming to an end along with also losing his father, so what does Lori do? She starts banging her assumed-dead husband’s best friend Shane. So Carl starts to adjust a little, when Rick finally resurfaces and Lori tells Carl not to go around Shane again. No wonder Carl never wanted to take that hat off; it’s the only consistent thing in his life.
7. Mrs. Krabs – Spongebob Squarepants
We already have plenty of questions as to how a crab could be the biological father to a whale, but where on earth is Pearl’s mother? Mr. Krabs works long hours, but still tries to be a good parent. Pearl’s mother doesn’t even try. Over 9 seasons we haven’t even caught a glimpse of the lady. What kind of awful person would leave their whale daughter to be raised by a completely different species who obviously has no parenting instincts? Good riddance, Mrs. Krabs.
8. Sophia Petrillo – The Golden Girls
The issue I have with Sophia doesn’t have anything to do with her parenting techniques or how she chooses to interact with her daughter. The big problem comes in the fact that Estelle Getty was born in 1923 and Bea Arthur was born in 1922! What kind of time traveling Benjamin Button nonsense is that? Correct me if my medical knowledge isn’t on the level of a trained physician, but normally you can’t be older than your mother, right?
9. Frank Reynolds – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
It’s no secret that Frank is a terrible parent to Dennis and Dee, but the thing about that is he’s not actually their father. He is, however, almost certainly Charlie’s father and instead of acknowledging it he treats Charlie like a best friend but berates him every time he suggests their relationship is paternal. If it weren’t such a hilarious comedy, Charlie would be one of the most tragic TV characters of all time.
10. Marge Simpson – The Simpsons
Obviously we know Homer is a nightmare of a father, but what does that say about Marge? She’s sat by for years watching her husband verbally berate and strangle her children, but just ends up making excuses for him or forgiving him even though he’s shown no signs of remorse or actually changing. At least Milhouse’s parents had the courtesy of splitting up when things hit rock bottom. Marge lets fear prevent her from finding a better life for both her and her children.