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We know you’re a fan of badass characters. You wouldn’t be here otherwise. Women changing the game, characters we think Sandra Oh should play, famous literary bachelors who would thrive on The Bachelorette -- it’s all fair game. But what about the pop culture parents? What about the caregivers who don’t get nearly enough credit? Well today is all about them.

 

 

Joyce Beyers and Jim Hopper from Stranger Things

If you’re caught up on Stranger Things, you know that Jim Hopper’s parenting style is a little unconventional -- to say the least. But with Joyce Beyers by his side to show him the ropes -- and, frankly, do a lot of the emotional labor -- he’s on his way to becoming a great parent. Sure, these single parents abandoned their teenage children midway through the season to investigate demagnetism. And yes, they did cross state lines without so much as a phone call home. But they’re doing it all in the name of saving Hawkins, Indiana. And their kids live in Hawkins, so it counts, right?

 

 

Adrian Shin from The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Not only is Adrian Shin the proprietor of an incredible LA food truck named KoBra, he’s also really great at coming up with creative disciplinary tactics for his teenage daughter Clara. When Clara is caught pulling a prank at the end of the school year, Adrian sentences her to a summer of working in the truck. In LA. For free. And while she’d rather be on a beach in Mexico with her Instagram influencer mother, Clara comes to love that summer job -- ahem, unpaid internship. Because it shows her just how awesome her entrepreneurial dad is. (You go, Adrian!)

 

 

Bob & Linda Belcher from Bob’s Burgers

Speaking of restaurants, running a family business is never an easy task -- especially when you live right above your place of business. (Gotta have that work/life balance when you can get it.) Bob and Linda Belcher not only make the operation of Bob’s Burgers look easy, they do it while supporting each other’s dreams and creative passions -- not to mention those of their children. Remember Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl: The Musical? And the obsession with Topsy the elephant? Okay, these were all Gene’s passions. But the way Linda and Bob handle difficult discussions -- whether they be about crushes, puberty, bullying, or anything else -- is enough to make any viewer take notes. We love you Bob and Linda!

 

 

Reid’s parents from The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Their appearance is blink and you miss it brief, but Reid’s parents in The Upside of Unrequited are delightful. They own the store where our protagonist Molly and her cute coworker Reid work and have enough trust in their son to let him work unsupervised from time to time. They’ve raised him to love the same geeky things they do -- in fact, for a while Molly privately referred to him as Middle-Earth Ried, because of all the Lord of the Rings shirts he wore. And they aren’t constantly pressuring him to decide what he wants to study in college. He’s a junior in high school. He has time! And besides, he has a good head on his shoulders. They made sure of that.

 

 

Nadine and Saul from Little and Lion by Brandy Colbert

With subject matter as nuanced and complex as Little and Lion’s is -- navigating bipolar disorder, coming out as bisexual, and loving your blended family, just to name a few -- we’re so happy to see Suzette’s mother Nadine and her step-father Saul so prominently represented. Nadine and Saul are the most loving and caring parents you could ever hope to meet. When Lionel is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, they enroll Suzette in a boarding school across the country -- not to push her away, but to focus their energy on the child who needs them most. Their family gathers around Shabbat dinners each Friday night, but conversation isn’t limited to that beautiful tradition. Each day is filled with open communication, caring advice, and unconditional love.


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Danielle Mohlman

Danielle Mohlman is a playwright, bookworm, and library connoisseur. You can find her on Twitter and Tumblr. (She has a lot to say.) And on Instagram. (She never foodstagrams.) When she grows up, she wants to be Leslie Knope.