As niche and specific as TV has become in recent years, there's one group of people who are always shafted: parents, especially in sitcoms. It seems every other show nowadays is filled with seriously clueless parents who never know where their kids are, what they're doing, or who they're doing it with until it's too late. Some may argue that drives plots, but others see it as lazy writing. Seriously, give us one TV couple — or even just a single parent — who actually pays attention to their children, and figures out what they're up to before things go from bad to worse.
1. Stef and Lena Adams Foster on The Fosters
While Stef and Lena make one badass power couple, they never seem to had the slightest idea what their five rambunctious children were up to until the situations escalated to the point of no return.
2. George and Anne Juergens on The Secret Life of the American Teenager
To be fair, none of the parents on the show had a clue what their kids were doing, but since Amy Juergens was the main high schooler with a problem, we were treated to more scenes with George and Anne.
3. Fred Andrews on Riverdale
Like father, like son. While the internet is painfully aware of Archie's cluelessness, we also need to talk about Fred's cluelessness. Papa Andrews didn't know his son was screwing his teacher, investigating an open murder case, or hanging out in Serpents territory. No Father of the Year award this year, Fred.
4. Hugh and Judy Neutron on The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
Your son built a rocket that flies to the moon, pants that walk without a human in them, and a robotic dog, but you never knew what mischief he was up to on a regular basis? C'mon, guys.
5. Mom and Dad on The Fairly OddParents
Goofy and ridiculous as they were, Timmy Turner's parents honestly had no business being called "parents." They called him Tommy more than once, and had zero idea their son had two fairy godparents who routinely got him into serious trouble. Seriously, how long do they think goldfish are supposed to live, anyway?
6. George Jefferson on The Jeffersons
George may have been "movin' on up," but not in the parent department. He was so busy with his dry-cleaning service, insulting his neighbors, and dancing that he didn't have any extra time to keep tabs on his son.
7. Joyce Summers on Buffy the Vampire Slayer
God bless Joyce Summers, but she wasn't the sharpest stake in a vampire slayer's arsenal. This woman actually asked her daughter — who had literally just killed a vampire in front of her — if she was sure she was a vampire slayer. Buffy even asked her mom why Joyce couldn't figure it out after washing blood out of her daughter's clothing all the time.
8. Hal Wilkerson on Malcolm in the Middle
Hal was as clueless as his wife Lois was overbearing when it came to his sons. They do say opposites attract. It was kind of a miracle Hal didn't get one of his sons addicted to cigarettes after leaving them hidden around the house. Oh, wait. He did.
9. Phil Dunphy on Modern Family
Phil was full of life, which made up for his not-so-full head. While he was a loving parent, he didn't seem able to keep track of his kids, and never knew what they were up to until after they got busted for it.
10. Drs. James and Ann Possible on Kim Possible
Kim's parents were both brilliant humans with impressive jobs (a rocket scientist and a neurosurgeon) but they sucked at keeping tabs on their teenager daughter. Neither seemed to care or know where Kim traveled to or who she fought against. They just told her, "Good job," and gave her a pat on the back. Ok.
11. George Lopez on George Lopez
As with most TV fathers who exhibited the "bumbling da" trope, George ended up starting fires in his children's lives, and his wife was the one who put them out. Sigh.
12. Mom and Dad on Dexter's Laboratory
Dexter and Dee Dee's mom and dad were the poster children for oblivious parents. Seriously, how clueless do you have to be not to know your son had a ginormous lab hidden in your house? Their electricity bill had to have been through the roof.
13. Bob Duncan on Good Luck Charlie
While he improved during the series, Bob started out as a dad who literally didn't know where his son went to school or even when his birthday was. DUDE.
14. Pam Fields, Ella Montgomery, Ashley Marin, and Veronica Hastings on Pretty Little Liars
The Liars' dads were just as clueless, but they rarely seemed to even be on show, so we're focusing on the moms. These four women knew how tormented their daughters were and never once thought, "Gee, maybe we should move after all this drama and murder has happened in our backyard and some maniac is targeting our child." They were too busy drinking wine and getting locked in a basement, I guess.
15. Homer Simpson on The Simpsons
Family Guy patriarch Peter Griffin also deserved to be on this list, but, let's face it: Homer was the true adult cartoon dad who earned the "I Know Nothing About My Children" award. Like with other bumbling dads on this list, Homer forgot his own children's names and constantly did things that put them in danger. But, he just shrugged it off with a good ol' "doh!"
16. Frank Gallagher on Shameless
Frank was rarely sober, and even when he is, it was a miracle he could remember the names of his own kids. He was constantly asking what was going on (again, whenever he was sober) and never got his children's ages correct.
17. Herman Munster on The Munsters
Though a sweet, lovable monster, Herman didn't know what was happening with his kid, nor with the rest of the world. He thought everyone (including his "normal" niece) was weird, never once realizing his family were the ones who were fish out of water.
18. Ted and Karen Wheeler on Stranger Things
Mike Wheeler's parents didn't even know a girl with psychokinetic powers was living in their house, so how observant can they be? They also never knew where Mike and Nancy were, even though their son's friend was missing and later found "dead." I know it was the '80s and parents were a lot more lenient than most are today, but come on.
19. Murray Goldberg on The Goldbergs
Murray couldn't even keep track of his kids' names, grade levels, or ages. He never knew what Adam, Barry, and Erica were interested in, even when they told him (and retold him), because he was too busy sitting in his underwear watching TV. Thankfully, his wife, Beverly Goldberg, knew all about their kids — much to their annoyance.
20. Colonel Steven Shay on iCarly
Carly and Spencer's dad was in the U.S. Air Force and literally only showed up to physically check in on his kids during the series finale. Needless to say, he was totally clueless about the shenanigans his kids had gotten into while he was stationed in various cities around the world.
21. Rick and Lori Grimes on The Walking Dead
While Rick's attentive parenting skills greatly improved as the show progressed, he and wife Lori never kept a watchful eye on young Carl during Seasons 1 and 2. Remember how Carl never stayed in the house?! Yeah, because his parents couldn't keep track of their only son in a world ravaged by the undead. Half the time they never even knew he was wandering about on his own. Tsk tsk.