According to the University of Minnesota, “Since its inception as an integral part of American life in the 1950s, television has both reflected and nurtured cultural mores and values” (“The Relationship Between Television and Culture”). The Cosby Show, a situational comedy that aired from 1984-1992, and The Middle, which aired from 2009-present, are both perfect examples of how television mirrors the daily life one observes in America. The shift between The Cosby Show of the 1980s and modern sitcom The Middle contains surface differences, but ultimately reflects fluctuations in the economy and family life. The Cosby Show follows the Huxtable family, an upper-middle-class African American family who lives in Brooklyn, New York. The father, Cliff (played by Bill Cosby), is an obstetrician and his wife, Claire, is a lawyer. The two have four daughters: Sondra, Denise, Vanessa, and Rudy, and a son, Theo. The Middle, a more recent sitcom, is about the Heck family, a middle-age, middle-class family living in middle America, specifically the fictional town of Orson, Indiana. The show follows the mom, Frankie, as she “uses a sense of humor to try to steer her family through life's ups and downs as she tackles her career goals” (The Middle). Her husband, Mike, works at the local quarry and the two have three kids: Axl, Sue, and Brick.
These two sitcoms, The Cosby Show and The Middle, contain many of differences on the surface. The first difference is evident in that the family on