The roll-call of bad parents is endless, but some of them are truly special. In no particular order, I give you those who I think make being raised by wolves seem a really good idea.
Warning - spoilers will abound below, so consider yourself warned.
Allie Fox - Mosquito Coast
Upon making a catastrophic mistake, instead of using common sense and doing what is right by his family, Allie instead embarks upon a series of ever more dangerous mistakes and increasingly extreme behaviour and, by sheer force of personality, drags his family against their better instincts further down into nightmare, almost leading to their deaths.
Worse still – he calls his wife Mother.
Mallory's dad - Natural Born Killers
De'Londa Brice - The Wire
Delonda: What you mean, Kenard took the stash? And he still walking around?Namond: I'm gonna talk to him, Ma. Make sure this never happen again.
Delonda: Look at me, boy. Kenard got to feel some pain for what he did. He got to.Namond: I don't...
Delonda: You don't what, motherfucker? This how you pay me back for all the love I showed? Shit, I been kept you in Nikes since you were in diapers!
And when Namond is kept from being sent to ‘baby booking’ by his new teacher, former cop Bunny Colvin, is she grateful? Is she fuck:
John Winchester - Supernatural
Frequently abandoning his boys for long periods when on a hunt (including one Christmas, when a 12-year old Dean had to pretend he’d come to their motel while 8-year old Sam slept, and scrounge up the presents that his asshole Dad had also failed to bother with), he’s doesn’t seem to care about what might happen to them if he doesn’t make it back. It’s not long before he’s teaching them how to hunt demons too, and actively putting them in harm’s way. They are to obey his instructions and orders unfailingly, with Dean brainwashed to protect younger brother Sam at all costs – leading him to become an adult with a major martyr complex, who’s forever selling his soul (literally) to keep Sam out of trouble.
It’s later revealed that John wasn’t just a shitty father to Dean and Sam, but had a whole other family going on elsewhere. And he’s a shitty father in that one too.
Jeff Bridges & Meg Tilly - Tideland
Harry Morgan - Dexter
In the meantime, his natural daughter Debra is virtually ignored. And while she might not have grown up to be a serial killer, she’s not particularly well-adjusted either.
Big Daddy - Kick Ass
A former cop with a grudge against the crime boss who framed him as a drug dealer, Macready reclaimed his young daughter on his release from prison. Ripping her out of everyday life and stealing any chance at childhood she might have had, Macready doesn’t choose to raise his child as best he can in order for her to become a happy, well-adjusted adult. Instead, he chooses to live in the underworld and trains her as an assassin, frequently sending his little girl alone into deadly situations (with himself providing ‘backup’ in the form of a sniper rifle a building or so away). Not out of any high-minded ideals of justice, or because these are skills he thinks she’ll need to survive in a dangerous world, but out of pure selfishness - to help facilitate his own mission of vengeance.
Big Daddy? More like Shit Daddy.
Livia Soprano - The Sopranos
Unluckily for her son, Tony, Livia doesn’t always just stop at making people miserable and when he suggests she might live in a ‘retirement community’ (after she’s almost burnt down her house), she manipulates his Uncle Junior into trying to have him whacked.
Aaron Echolls - Veronica Mars
Except, things aren’t quite what they appear. And from the moment we see Logan choose a belt, the reality of being Aaron’s son becomes horrifyingly clear. When he’s not busy abusing his son, he’s shagging anything that moves - including Logan’s girlfriend. And when Logan’s new girlfriend finds out what else he's been up to? Let’s just say, Aaron Echolls is the reason you should always check your backseat before getting in the car…
Vern Schillinger - Oz
Vern Schillinger has brought his sons up to hate. Having gone to prison for beating a drug dealer in front of them, after using them as bait for a purchase he’s since gone on to become head of the Aryan Brotherhood in Oz. Sadly, his influence doesn’t stop once he’s in prison and he has them kidnap the children of his nemesis, Tobias Beecher, and mail pieces of his son back to him. Beecher has Hank, Schillinger’s youngest, murdered in return. Hating drugs almost as much as other races, Schillinger is disgusted that his boys grew up to become junkies and when his remaining son, Andrew, comes to Oz he has his Brotherhood cronies shun him until he’s clean. Until he’s befriended by Beecher, at which point Schillinger promptly arranges for his only remaining child to die from an overdose.
Those wolves are looking more attractive every minute, aren't they?