TV Families and Real Families Essay

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As early as 1950, television families have depicted not only the way we live today, but also the way we ought to live (Tueth, 2003). Hence, television has continued to present comedies about family life that ranges from the didactic model of domestic conventionalist and gradually to non-conventionalist ways of life. By conventionalist, I mean the depiction of the “nuclear” family that consists of clear roles, responsibilities, and gentle lines of authority that flow from the wise dad and understanding mom to the obedient children (Kutalas, 2005). Examples of these types of shows between 1947 to 1990 that constructed more than 60% of family sitcoms included: The Cleavers, The Cosby Show, Father Knows Best, Family Ties, and Growing Pains…show more content…
The reason for this is because family is an experience that virtually all viewers can reflect on and get ideas about family life. The definition of a family was depicted as a social unit characterized by one or more of the following elements: dependent children that had an adult who was the head of the household, dependent children with married couples, adult children with married couples, and dependent children with adults that shared their housing with others. Furthermore, this definition of family had not been limited to a legal marital arrangement, nor was the dependent children status limited to natural or adopted circumstances. Thus, adults who performed parental duties as the head of a household were coded as a representation of family, regardless of their legal status (Robinson & Skill, 1994).

A brief view of the 4 decades within the periods of 1950 to 1990 would show us a significant shift from the conventional nuclear family to the non-conventional modern family. Starting from the 1950s, the families were nuclear, where members worked together, understood their roles, and did what was expected of them; by the 1960s, there were a few sitcoms that began to undermine the television parent’s authority by privileging the independence of nearly adult or adult children; by the 1970s, the authoritative father began to disappear as they were no longer
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