Why Beef Tobin Is One of the Best Cartoon Dads of All Time

From the collective creators behind Regular show and Bob’s Burgers comes another epic father figure to the animated family sitcom genre: Beef Tobin in The big North. With the voice talents of Nick Offerman as the patriarch, the series follows a single father of four children of different ages in Alaska. Unlike his beloved role as Ron Swanson in Parks and recreation, Beef Tobin enjoys spending time with his family. In fact, he is rarely far from them. While his three youngest are at school, he and his eldest son, Wolf, go out on their boat and fish together. Although he avoids vulnerability, his four children and daughter-in-law encourage him to be open with all the love and compassion a family can offer.


Beef is very devoted to his family, even before his ex-wife left him. Each of his children is eclectic and he does his best to bond with them based on their chosen passion. Moon, his youngest, is obsessed with Sasquatch and having fun. He often tries to solve a mystery, even if there is no mystery to solve. Ham, who is a distracted teenager, loves his family as much as he loves cooking. He and his father bond while Judy, his twin sister from Alaska, delegates tasks to them. Judy, Beef’s only biological daughter, is perhaps the most enthusiastic and passionate of her family. She is often the lead role in school plays and gives her father the most room to come. Wolf, the eldest son, listens more to his father than to his siblings. He is the first to notice if his father is acting weird, encouraging his father and siblings to communicate more. Although not biologically his daughter, Honeybee, Wolf’s wife, is welcomed into the Tobin family with open arms.

As the moon rises

Moon is as unique as its name. Always looking for Big Foot, Moon is more mature than his peers. Despite his brown bear ensemble, he is prepared for all possible situations. Like his father, he believes in conspiracy theories and enjoys being outdoors. Of course, Beef and his youngest share a special bond beyond theories. Beef was caught playing with porcelain toys by his middle children. Soon it became a family affair, with Moon joining in enthusiastically.

Although Moon’s maturity may differentiate him, he is still a child. Beef, presumably, was telling bedtime stories to his other children like he does with Moon. Despite his grief and refusal to have his ex-wife leave him, Beef makes his relationship with Moon just as important as his other children. He does not treat Moon like a small child, but like a mature child who still needs his father.

Related: Our 9 Favorite TV Families of All Time, Ranked

you are such a ham

Ham may be a middle child, but he is the glue of his family. Despite his aloof attitude, he is always in a good mood. Although he enjoys spending time with his family, his forgetfulness can hamper his relationships. In one episode, he reveals that he’s going to have a huge coming out, although he’s already been out. Beef’s reaction to this is to make sure he and the family were welcoming.

Love Mind Therapy reminds people who are dating that if others react in an unloving way, it is not a reflection of the person who is dating. Beef, as a devoted family man, loves all of his children dearly. In fact, Beef could only kiss his son while banning Crispin, Ham’s boyfriend, a typical story for dads. Except Beef openly kisses not only Ham but also Crispin. His acceptance of his son transcends the male stereotype of a man who needs his sons to be copies of himself.

That Judy is so moody

Ham’s Alaskan twin, local theatrical ally Alanis Morissette, Judy is unlike any other ass-kicking teen. Voiced by the notoriously funny Jenny Slate, Judy talks faster than anyone turned on by caffeine. Judy expresses herself in every way, even if her father has to intervene. As a family artist, Judy explores all possible forms, often outdoing everyone in the room. Except when she takes up pottery, which she’s terrible at. The family reaches a breaking point with Beef insisting they can’t tell Judy she’s terrible at pottery (season 2, episode 16).

Fathers are usually the protectors of the family unit, often rescuing their children in order to protect them. Yet Beef doesn’t step in or step in too often to save his children. His approach is to let them discover and explore the world, and he even puts them on survival missions to avoid too much chaos. However, Beef’s willingness to let Judy be terrible at something, while keeping her feelings protected, is just one of the many reasons Beef is Alaska’s best dad.

Related: These are some of the best animated shows for adults

Six pack with wolf

Wolf, voiced by prolific SNL alum Will Forte, is Beef’s eldest son with whom he shares a deep, loving relationship that’s almost too real to be true. The duo are so in sync that if something is going on, they quickly let each other know. Their connection goes far beyond a father knowing what his son likes. In fact, of all his children, Wolf is the most in tune with his father’s emotions. When Honeybee, Wolf’s wife, suggests she wants to leave the big house, Wolf tells her that her father can’t handle a huge change just yet. Naturally, the parent who worries about the child becomes the child who worries about the parent as the parent ages. However, Wolf being concerned about his father’s emotional state speaks volumes about the care Beef has for each of his children.

Sweeter than the bee

Honeybee Shaw, Wolf’s wife, may have married into the Tobin family, but she’s been a part of it since the beginning. She’s feisty like Judy, a foodie like Ham, and curious about all that Alaska has to offer like Moon. Marrying into a family, especially when you are away from your own, can be quite daunting. Psychology Today outlines a variety of ways to ease your relationship with your in-laws, one of which is to lower expectations that they will accept you as one of their own. While it may seem ideal to be accepted as an extra child by your in-laws, that’s not always the case. To Honeybee, Beef seems to treat her like his fifth child. His devotion to his immediate family is already something remarkable. Yet fully accepting his son’s wife as one of his own cements the love this man has for his family. Obviously, if there was a prize for best father, Beef Tobin would win by a landslide in Alaska.

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