This past Saturday, I lost my grandpa to cancer. He fought hard and kicked much ass far longer than his initial prognosis, in which doctors gave him eight months.
My grandpa was an amazing person; always funny, always optimistic, always smiling, always kind, always affectionate towards my grandma and always, always, with a loving and bright word of hope for his six kids, six in-kids and 18 grandkids. There’s also a gabillion nieces and nephews and cousins, because we are stereotypes.
Grandpas are pretty much the best. I don’t think you’ll hear many arguments, except maybe from a few kids featuerd on SVU.
[Dark uncomfortable silence … and we’re back.]
And since I love grandpas and I love lists, here’s a list to fill your pocket with Werther’s Originals and cottony handkerchiefs.
The Top Five TV and Movie Grandpas. Ever.
5. Pop Pop Bluth, Arrested Development
George Bluth, Sr. is no saint, but he does seem to love his family in his own weird criminal way. Arguably the best episode of the whole series, “Good Grief,” deals with his “death” and secret life in the attic being doted on by George Michael. It was one of the first episodes you really saw the relationship between George and one of his grandchildren and it was kind of nice, particularly in the very my-family-is-like-this-too-so-I-can-relate when the two are discussing Ann Veal. “Her?”
4. Grandpa, South Park
One hundred and two years young, Grandpa Marsh just really hates living, which I think is actually a strangely good message for a kid. Old age sucks, so don’t be afraid of death.
3. Papouli, Full House
Obscure? No. And for the record, your face is obscure. (Insert your own “sick burn” claps and “hey-o!”s here.) For those not in the know, Uncle Jesse (who was the only uncle, and they never referred to Joey as “Uncle Joey” and how dare you ever say it) was Greek from season two on (very Greek, despite having a sister blonde enough to merge DNA with Bob Saget and still produce three incredibly blonde children). His grandpa, or “papouli” in the mother tongue, came to visit and formed a tight bond with little Michelle.
In classic sitcom fashion, he immediately dies, proving my point that anyone of a twilight age who gets near sitcom children will die instantly. Seriously, TV kids are like The Ring girl. Especially if the grandparent in question is somehow ethnic, which opens up a whole other can of racist worms. Anyway, Papouli kicks it and Michelle handles it not-so-well by hiding in a boat. We’ve all been there, ‘chelle.
2. Bea Arthur
Because you saw that coming from word one.
1. Peter Falk, The Princess Bride
Fred Savage is a stone-cold brat at the beginning, dreading seeing his grandfather. He was a sick kid and a damn whiner, fearing his hair getting mussed. And what does Grandpa Columbo do instead? Only tell him the best story ever, complete with swordfighting, ROUS’s, albinos and Mandy Patinkin. Lesson here? Grandparents are better than you. And you need to deal with that, Kevin Arnold. TPB Grandpa is the single most perfect grandfather ever committed to celluloid. Tweed hat and suit, gravelly voice, insanely awesome stories to tell and a love for his grandson so pure that he will risk getting all kinds of disease. By the end, little monster has turned around, but the audience never needs to, because we love him from his very entrance.
The best part of this list? None of these grandpas hold a candle to mine. And that makes me happy. Writers of the world can’t even conceive of a grandparent as great as mine. Thanks for everything, Grandpa.
Courtney Enlow is a writer living in Chicago and working as a corporate shill to pay the bills. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.