The 2019-2020 TV season will soon be upon us! In recent years, gay dad characters have been all the rage... will we see more representation this fall? We sure hope so! But in the meantime, we'll be content reviewing this list of 17 shows that have (somewhat) prominently featured gay dad characters!
Also we KNOW we're missing some, so drop us a line in the comments to tell us what we should add!
Grace & Frankie
In this Netflix original series, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston play gay dads who come out to their wives and children well past their primes. Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda play the ex-wives, rounding out the star-studded cast. Now in its fourth season, the show has been well received and sheds an interesting light on the complications involved with fathers who come out later in life.
Six Feet Under
Well before Modern Family's Mitch and Cam began normalizing the idea of gay fathers in America's heartland each week, there was 6 Feet Under's David and Keith. The show, which started in 2001 and ran for 5 seasons, was widely praised for being one of the first to offer a more realistic portrayal of a gay male couple. In the last season, when David and Keith decide to adopt a pair of brothers from the foster care system, the show was once again praised for becoming one of the first to depict gay parents on television.
This short lived NBC comedy featured two gay dads, both named Kevin. The characters were played by Dan Bucatisnky and Tim Meadows, who were fathers to the newly engaged Annie. Astute observers of gay dad television history will note that Dan Bucatinsky doesn't only play a gay dad on T.V. He's one in real life, too!
Brothers & Sisters
This favorite family drama, which ran on ABC for five seasons, feature gay dads Kevin and Scotty, played by Matthew Rhys and Luke Macfarlane. More than many other shows on this list, Brothers & Sisters explores some of the struggles gay men face as they attempt to decide which path to fatherhood to pursue.
The New Normal
This short lived NBC comedy followed Bryan, played by Andrew Rannells, and David, played by Justin Bartha, during their path to parenthood with their surrogate played by Georgia King. The show received mixed reviews, and was canceled after just one season.
It was revealed in Season 1 of the musical-comedy T.V. show Glee that one of the main character's of the show, Rachel, played by Lea Michele, was raised by two dads. But these characters weren't cast until season 3, when Jeff Goldblum and Brian Stokes Mitchell joined the cast as Rachel's dads.
In Season 4 Episode 8 of HBO's hit, Girls, Lena Dunham's character, Hannah, finds out her father, played by Peter Scolari, is gay. Interestingly, Andrew Rannells's character Elijah (who himself plays a gay T.V. dad in The New Normal) foretold this development way back in Season 1, when he yells at Hannah during a fight: "It's nice to see you. Your dad is gay."
Sean Saves the World
In this NBC sitcom, single gay dads finally found their spot on prime time. In the show, Sean Hayes plays a divorced gay father to his 14-year-old daughter. The show was unfortunately not well received, and was canceled after just one season. Here's hoping for some more single gay dad representation on T.V. in the near future!
In 2016, gay dads make their debut on the kids network Nickelodeon on the animated show "Loud House." The biracial couple was voiced by Wayne Brady and Michael McBride. Despite some minor complaining from conservative groups, the inclusion of gay dads in the episode was widely applauded.
And of course we have our trailblazers Mitch & Cam, who first graced the airwaves 10 years ago. With its 11th and final season in the works, these dads still reign supreme, even if their character lines are a little less "modern" than some of their contemporaries.
Big Little Lies
Did those gay dads on HBO's Big Little Lies first season look familiar? They should have! Actors Larry Sullivan and David Monahan previously starred with their son in this sweet Cambell's soup ad. They haven't made an appearance YET in the second season, but we're keeping our eyes peeled...
13 Reasons Why
Okay, the gay dads on 13 Reasons Why may be such minor characters as to only be known as "Courtney's Dads" in Netflix's recent breakout hit. But they are still gay dads on T.V.! So we're counting them. They also feature prominently into Courtney's character development in important and surprising ways.
Will & Grace
In the third season of this groundbreaking TV comedy, it's revealed that when Jack was 17 years old, he donated sperm in order to buy a leather coat. 13 years later, his son, Elliot, tracks Jack down, and the two begin to form a relationship over the next several seasons. In the final episode of the show, in which Will and Grace become estranged for many years, we learn that Will, too, becomes a father when we see him dropping off his son at the same college at Grace's daughter. But in the reboot of the series, the show's creators decided to ignore this ending, relegating Will to his pre-dad status. Though Jack's son, Elliot, appears in the reboot with his own son making Jack (possibly?) the first major gay GRANDPA character on tv???
This Is Us
This NBC family drama includes a character, Randall, who was adopted at birth. In the series first episode, Randall tracks down his birth father, William, and the two begin to form a bond. Half way through the series' first season, it's revealed that William has been in a relationship with another man, played by Denis O'Hare, who himself is a father in real life.
Season four of this ABC drama introduced a new gay couple to Wisteria Lane, Bob and Lee. Two seasons later, in season six, it's revealed that the couple have been struggling to adopt a baby. In Season seven, the couple finally succeed in adopting a young girl.
The animated series, American Dad, features a gay couple, Greg and Terry, who have a daughter via surrogacy named Libby. Together, the couple co-host the news show, Morning Glory, and have a habit of constant bickering. The couple live next to the show's ultra-all American main character, Stan, who, in a running gag, has no idea the couple are gay throughout most of the show.
It's All Relative
This ABC sitcom, starring Leah Remini, was about a man who dates the adoptive daughter of a gay couple, forcing two very different families to learn to co-exit. The show ran for two seasons only.