While relationships with our fathers can often be complicated, there’s always much to be learned from dad. Latino dads can be touch cookies, but for the most part, they tend to love hard, whether they know how to show it or not. One thing’s for sure, there are some characteristics of Latino dads that seem to be ubiquitous. So much so that they’ve been portrayed on TV time and again.
There have been so many moments that we’ve recognized our own dads in the Latino dads we see on TV, and even more importantly we’ve learned a lot of lessons from them to—lessons about family, lessons about parenting, lessons about love and lessons about life. So we want to take just a few minutes to highlight the Latino dads on TV that have reminded us of some of the most important things in life and just why we should appreciate our own dads even when they drive us crazy.
George Lopez – You Can Break Generational Curses
Growing up, watching George Lopez together as a family was such a bonding experience. It was so impactful to see a family on TV that shared some of our lived experiences, because at the time the show originally aired, there really wasn’t any other healthy, Latinx family on primetime TV in America. One thing we learned from George was that history doesn’t have to repeat itself. He showed us that the fact that though he had a dad that left when he was a kid, it didn’t dictate that he would the same. He showed us that he could have a healthy and successful marriage and family life.
Abraham Quintanilla – Don’t Judge a Book By its Cover
We know Abraham is a real-life dad too and that if you ask his late daughter Selena Quintanilla’s fans, he’s actually quite a controversial figure. But he taught us a few lessons as depicted in the Netflix original Selena: The Series where he was played by Ricardo Chavira, primarily not to judge a book by its cover. He unfairly judged Selena’s husband Chris Perez based on his rocker demeanor, but Chris turned out to be a loyal and devoted husband to Abraham’s daughter.
Abraham Quintanilla – Don’t Be Overprotective
With that in mind, Abraham and Selena’s story also taught us that even a parent’s best intentions can backfire. Abraham had a tendency to be controlling in an attempt to protect his kids and keep their lives on what he thought was the right track, but when he tried to ban Selena from seeing Chris it backfired big time. Instead, he drove her further into his arms, eventually leading them to elope.
Cole Marquez – Be Yourself
Dora the Explorer‘s parents were incredibly encouraging and it was super-cool to see Latino parents depicted that way on a children’s show. One of the things we learned from her dad Cole Marquez is that each child is an individual and doesn’t have to fit into one specific mold. Dora was unique and her dad let her be exactly who she was.
Cole Marquez – Be Supportive
Dora’s dad may not have always been as attentive or concerned for Dora’s safety as he should have been. Yet, he was an excellent example of a parent who unconditionally supported his child’s ambitions. Dora was a curious kid who loved to get hands-on in the world around her, and he supported her fully in her various explorations and discoveries.
Federico Diaz – Family First
Also known as “Rico” on the Showtime drama series Six Feet Under, Federico Diaz (played by Fredy Rodriguez) showed us all that no matter what the kids come first. Rico was the perfect example of a hard-working father that did whatever was necessary to provide for his kids and still be present for them whenever they need him.
Ricky Ricardo – Quality Time is Key
Ricky Ricardo was certainly more of a traditional father representative of the ear of I Love Lucy but one thing that carries over into today is the importance of quality time. Ricky and Little Ricky would often play the drums together and it was a way for them to connect and for Little Ricky to enjoy something that’s so important to his dad. Sharing a passion while not forcing it is a beautiful bonding experience especially between fathers and sons.
Ignacio Suarez – There’s No Need for Toxic Masculinity
]The dad in the American version of Ugly Betty, played by Tony Plana, was a single father that was willing to put machismo aside when raising his two girls played by America Ferrera and Ana Ortiz. He was tender and sweet with them, proving that Latino dads can be soft and caring and still be honored and respected.
Ignacio Suarez – Cooking is for Everyone
Ignacio also reminded us how important it is for everyone—not just girls—to know how to cook. Without the mother of his children around, he had to be competent in the kitchen. His character is a good reminder to all of us moms to teach our sons how to cook just like we teach our daughters, so that they’ll be able to feed themselves and their families no matter what.
Pop – Love Makes a Family
Though the series is only one season in, Gentefied is full of important life lessons, many of which can be gleaned from the character of Pop. As the Morales family patriarch, he stepped up for his grandchildren when Eric, Ana and Chris when their own fathers weren’t around. He acts as a father figure for them and teaches viewers that not all families look the same and that’s okay, as long as the love run deeps.