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Subject: TV Families Through The Years

Written By: Silver Power on 12/07/09 at 10:35 pm

Is it just me, or have TV families changed over the years?

TV producers have created shows centered around many perfect little families in the past , but now it seems like television families are full of dysfunction.

I have one possible theory as to why the change has slowly occured: Entertainment.

Back in what has been called the 'Golden Age' of TV , viewers loved shows that they could watch with their family, and that lessons could be learned from.

Nowadays, we want comedy and intricate plotlines. There may be arguments about how dumb we've gotten throughout the years, but there's definitely arguments to be made about how much smarter we are now, or at least that we know what we like.

Maybe 'back in the day', hit television shows could have gotten away with having simple story lines , but now, audiences is more smarterer, and we want shows that'll make us think, at least some of us do.

Shows like Malcolm In The Middle, Married With Children, and the Simpsons, just to name a few, are/were hit shows. What do they have in common? Dysfunction.

I could go on and on about this, but what do you think? I know I'm not the only one who's noticed this, but why do you think this change has happened?

Also, what are your favorite Television families?

I'd have to pick the 'Everybody Hates Chris' family, but that's just me.  ;D


Subject: Re: TV Families Through The Years

Written By: Frank on 12/08/09 at 3:01 am

TV families have changed as the times have changed.
My favorite TV families were the Brady Bunch, The Keaton family ( Family ties) and the Walton family, good family values that lack these days.

When I was a kid, I actually wanted to be in the Brady family, since my own family was dysfunctional.

Subject: Re: TV Families Through The Years

Written By: robby76 on 12/08/09 at 8:47 am

I never got into Married With Children and kinda see where you’re coming from. I did however like Roseanne – which was pretty dysfunctional, but not in a crass way.

The Cosby’s remind me most of my homelife. Other than that The Evans’ (Good Times), The Bradys, The Seavers, the Eight is Enough gang and all that encompass the Kate & Allie family. Great tv escapism for today's hurried world.

Subject: Re: TV Families Through The Years

Written By: Silver Power on 12/08/09 at 11:35 am


I never got into Married With Children and kinda see where you’re coming from. I did however like Roseanne – which was pretty dysfunctional, but not in a crass way.

The Cosby’s remind me most of my homelife. Other than that The Evans’ (Good Times), The Bradys, The Seavers, the Eight is Enough gang and all that encompass the Kate & Allie family. Great tv escapism for today's hurried world.



I never really got into Married With Children either, the two actors who played the parents were terrible... But it was a hit show, *Christina Applegate*, and was really one of the first shows I remember based around a dysfunctional family. Now, obviously, I was born in 1992, so I can't recollect very much before '96, but I'm pretty sure that it was one of the first of it's kind, unless I'm dead wrong, which, in that case, feel free to slap me twice.

Subject: Re: TV Families Through The Years

Written By: Frank on 12/08/09 at 5:26 pm

I think the first *dysfunctional* families TV show was SOAP, which aired from about 1977 to 1982.
Pretty much everyone in that show has some issues. Mind you the show made fun of Soap operas.

If you ever get a chance to see it, it wasn't bad. I have a few seasons on DVD. It stared Billy Crystal, Katherine Helmond (she was also Mona on "Who's the boss"), Richard Mulligan ( he was in Empty nest), Robert Guillaume as Benson.

Wacky stuff.

Subject: Re: TV Families Through The Years

Written By: apollonia1986 on 12/08/09 at 8:46 pm

I loved the Cleavers (Leave it to Beaver) the ingalls (Little HOuse on the Praire) the Huxtables (the cosby show) and the Rocks (everybody hates chris)

Subject: Re: TV Families Through The Years

Written By: Silver Power on 12/08/09 at 10:21 pm


I loved the Cleavers (Leave it to Beaver) the ingalls (Little HOuse on the Praire) the Huxtables (the cosby show) and the Rocks (everybody hates chris)


Eh, the Cleavers were too perfect for my taste. But, as I said, I agree with you on the Everybody Hates Chris thing.

Subject: Re: TV Families Through The Years

Written By: whistledog on 12/09/09 at 4:27 pm


I think the first *dysfunctional* families TV show was SOAP, which aired from about 1977 to 1982.
Pretty much everyone in that show has some issues. Mind you the show made fun of Soap operas.

If you ever get a chance to see it, it wasn't bad. I have a few seasons on DVD. It stared Billy Crystal, Katherine Helmond (she was also Mona on "Who's the boss"), Richard Mulligan ( he was in Empty nest), Robert Guillaume as Benson.

Wacky stuff.


It ended in 1981, but yes they were totally dysfunctional, and it was wonderful.  The unusual plotlines, Jessica's war obsessed father and that whole "alien abduction" and demon baby that flew around the room was super bizarre but man it kept you tuned in. 


<door bell rings>
Benson:   I suppose you want ME to get that?
Jessica:  If you DON'T mind!

Subject: Re: TV Families Through The Years

Written By: Tia on 12/09/09 at 4:56 pm

i'm thinking "all in the family" might have been the first show to turn away from the flawless family formula but it also seemed sorta gradual. i also think leave it to beaver was largely for kids so they might have deliberately overdone the niceness of the parents; you can't have parents drinking, fighting and cheating on a kid's show.

Subject: Re: TV Families Through The Years

Written By: Silver Power on 12/09/09 at 6:58 pm


i'm thinking "all in the family" might have been the first show to turn away from the flawless family formula but it also seemed sorta gradual. i also think leave it to beaver was largely for kids so they might have deliberately overdone the niceness of the parents; you can't have parents drinking, fighting and cheating on a kid's show.


I think that show would still be around today if it did.  ;D

Subject: Re: TV Families Through The Years

Written By: Frank on 12/09/09 at 7:06 pm


It ended in 1981, but yes they were totally dysfunctional, and it was wonderful.  The unusual plotlines, Jessica's war obsessed father and that whole "alien abduction" and demon baby that flew around the room was super bizarre but man it kept you tuned in. 


<door bell rings>
Benson:   I suppose you want ME to get that?
Jessica:  If you DON'T mind!


It was one of my favorite shows during that era. I think Billy Crystal's character Jody was the 1st openly gay character on a TV show.

Subject: Re: TV Families Through The Years

Written By: whistledog on 12/09/09 at 9:08 pm


It was one of my favorite shows during that era. I think Billy Crystal's character Jody was the 1st openly gay character on a TV show.


Jody Dallas was the first openly gay character on TV yes.  They really pushed the envelope with some of the story lines that involved him, such as the one where he wanted to get a sex change

Subject: Re: TV Families Through The Years

Written By: gibbo on 02/07/10 at 3:20 am

I liked The Cunninghams (Happy Days).  But it interesting that it was noted that we expect greater plot lines because we're smarter these days.  Then we go on about how these tv dysfunctional families reflect society etc.

With all this dysfunctionality...I doubt how smart we all really are today!!! Dysfunctionality does not equal smart!  ;) :-X

Subject: Re: TV Families Through The Years

Written By: seamermar on 02/21/10 at 1:59 pm

Then tv family series enterteined and gave away morality lessons, now it seems they follow the straight way to get audienced from people.
Every time way back looks simple and dumb, it's progress and perspective what make us think so, but the old series had more talent than today's could ever hold.

  Green Acres, for exemple, had this lovely madness of someone fool enough to change The Big Apple  to an old farm.

and to me Gibbo, smarter are them who can carry on in a farm with only their hands and a little bit more.
.

Subject: Re: TV Families Through The Years

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 02/22/10 at 1:30 pm


I loved the Cleavers (Leave it to Beaver) the ingalls (Little HOuse on the Praire) the Huxtables (the cosby show) and the Rocks (everybody hates chris)


"Little House on the Prairie" was sort of a cartoon of the autobiographical "Little House" series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  To be make it succeed as a TV series, they had to turn the Ingalls into a 1970s suburban family in a dollhouse 19th century setting.

Of course, L.I.W. herself wrote the series as a woman of Victorian times.  The books were for children and youth.  There were certain things a lady didn't discuss and there  were certain matters considered improper for kids, thus, politics, sexuality, and excretory functions are al but absent from the books.  More frankness in these matters was permissible by the 1930s and 1940s when L.I.W. was writing the books, but not in books for the youth market.  Also notable about the "Little House" series is the birth and infant death of Laura's brother Frederick is left out.  Infant mortality was a very real issue in the 19th century and touched a great deal more families than it does in the so-called developed world today.  But, L.I.W. didn't want to complicate the storyline, even though we would consider the fact that she had a little brother who died when he was nine months old important.

There is speculation that Mary Ingalls did not go blind from scarlet fever.  L.I.W. writes in By The Shores of Silver Lake that "the fever had settled in her eyes."  However, the exotoxin that causes scarlet fever is not known to cause blindness.  It is more likely the Mary Ingalls' blindness was caused by diabetes, which did run in the Ingalls family, but was poorly understood in their time.

Anyway...I always thought the TV series was a bust, but if they tried to make a TV series in the 1970s that portrayed a pioneer family even as accurately as Laura Ingalls Wilder did in her books from the 1930s, the network execs would have nixed it.
::)

Subject: Re: TV Families Through The Years

Written By: silhouette on 03/15/10 at 6:00 pm

I think it about started in that time in the late eighties with Full House and shows of the like, and the executives were thinking that viewers were finding the fluffy family fare to saccharine. Roseanne and Married With Children were basically deconstructing the standard Dom Com. It was subversive, and it stuck. Whether this is good or bad is up to the viewer, I'd guess.

Subject: Re: TV Families Through The Years

Written By: JamieMcBain on 03/17/10 at 7:02 pm

The Simpsons are my favorite TV family.

Subject: Re: TV Families Through The Years

Written By: CatwomanofV on 03/18/10 at 6:50 pm


"Little House on the Prairie" was sort of a cartoon of the autobiographical "Little House" series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  To be make it succeed as a TV series, they had to turn the Ingalls into a 1970s suburban family in a dollhouse 19th century setting.

Of course, L.I.W. herself wrote the series as a woman of Victorian times.  The books were for children and youth.  There were certain things a lady didn't discuss and there  were certain matters considered improper for kids, thus, politics, sexuality, and excretory functions are al but absent from the books.  More frankness in these matters was permissible by the 1930s and 1940s when L.I.W. was writing the books, but not in books for the youth market.  Also notable about the "Little House" series is the birth and infant death of Laura's brother Frederick is left out.  Infant mortality was a very real issue in the 19th century and touched a great deal more families than it does in the so-called developed world today.  But, L.I.W. didn't want to complicate the storyline, even though we would consider the fact that she had a little brother who died when he was nine months old important.

There is speculation that Mary Ingalls did not go blind from scarlet fever.  L.I.W. writes in By The Shores of Silver Lake that "the fever had settled in her eyes."  However, the exotoxin that causes scarlet fever is not known to cause blindness.  It is more likely the Mary Ingalls' blindness was caused by diabetes, which did run in the Ingalls family, but was poorly understood in their time.

Anyway...I always thought the TV series was a bust, but if they tried to make a TV series in the 1970s that portrayed a pioneer family even as accurately as Laura Ingalls Wilder did in her books from the 1930s, the network execs would have nixed it.
::)




I always wondered if Mary had RP. I'm sure everyone can guess why I would wonder that.  ;)




Cat

Subject: Re: TV Families Through The Years

Written By: topforty on 03/18/10 at 9:55 pm

I have to disagree where one poster suggested it was the 1980's where the protypical 1950's family on tv disappeared.  Think back to "All In The Family", "The Jeffersons", "Maude", "Good Times", "Sanford and Son", and "Alice" all tv shows that featured family settings, but far away from "Happy Days" and "Leave It To Beaver".

Still love "All In The Family" and "Sanford and Son".  In my humble opinion they feature two of the best characters ever created in Archie Bunker and Fred Sanford.  In recent years I've watched re-runs of "Maude", "Good Times" and "Alice" and I think, "what in the world did I ever find funny about these shows".  It was probably lack of choice in what to watch, but saying that, even with 200 cable channels there still isn't a whole lot on tv these days.

About the only family oriented sitcoms I really enjoyed in the past 25 years has to be "Growing Pains" and "The Wonder Years".  There aren't a whole lot of family dramas that come to mind right now that I can say I really liked. About the only one I can think of right now might be "thirtysomething" but that wasn't exactly a tv show about one single family, but a couple of families and their friends.

But this thread got me to thinking of an incident when I was young where I embarrassed my mom.  I had to be about 6th grade, in catechism class.  The nun asked us what our favorite tv show was.  At that time "All In The Family" was my favorite. Also at that time there weren't parental groups out there stating if you let your 11 year old watch tv shows like "All In The Family" you'll grow up to be a bigot, so my parents allowed us to watch Archie, Edith, Mike and Gloria each week.  Anyway when the nun asked me what my favorite tv show was I naturally said, "All In The Family".  The nun was cool about it, just said thank you, and asked the next kid. 

Well my mom picked me up after catechism, and we talked about what we discussed in class and I said "Sister 'A' asked what our favorite tv show was?"  When I told mom I said "All In The Family" she about hit the ditch as we were driving along.  "You said what?" as she got the car under control.  I repeated it then she told me "You should have said 'The Waltons' or 'Gunsmoke", which I always thought were kind of dull, but I guess an approriate answer in a religious class.  It would also be the first time I realized it was alright to lie to a nun if the truth embarrassed a parent.  ;D

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