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TV Shows That Have Changed The Face of the Average Family

Thanks to ABC Family’s new series The Fosters for sponsoring this post. Click here to see more of the discussion. Also, watch the premiere of The Fosters on Monday, June 3 at 9/8c only on ABC Family.

They say that baseball is America’s favorite past time and I disagree. I believe that watching TV is truly America’s past time. You can do it alone or with your family, at home, or even on the go nowadays. It’s a place that fills us with stories and ways to peer into the daily lives of people like us, but with better hair and makeup. In the past 60 years, there have been several TV shows that have changed the face of the average family. We’ve gone from the “traditional” nuclear set of 2 parents with 2 kids of the Leave it to Beaver and The Donna Reed Show era to showcasing blended families, multicultural families, gay parents, single parents and more. The latest in modern family dramas is ABC Family’s new series, The Fosters.

The Fosters features a same sex couple raising a house full of kids – one is biological, two are adopted out of the foster system, and one is in their care via the foster system.  Just like shows such as Good Times, One Day at a Time, The Brady Bunch and more showed how families have different looks and ways of functioning, The Fosters show that the family unit doesn’t have to fit a certain look to work, it only needs love and support. Here are a few other TV shows that have changed the face of the average family.

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  • How TV Families Have Changed In Over 60 Years 1 of 14
    How TV Families Have Changed In Over 60 Years
    From I Love Lucy to now, the changing look of the average TV family matches how society changes, sometimes even ahead of the curve.
  • I Love Lucy 1951-1957 2 of 14
    I Love Lucy 1951-1957
    Photo: TVLand Most of us love Lucy... what's not to love? I feisty red head who keeps her husband and audiences on their toes. However, back in 1951 Lucy and Ricky were the first multicultural family (Ricky is Cuban) and the first to show the a wife not as a happy homemaker but also as questioning and independent, with dreams of her own.
  • Leave It To Beaver 1957-1963 3 of 14
    Leave It To Beaver 1957-1963
    Photo: SitcomsOnline The first TV show to actually showcase parenthood. Although The Cleavers are the most "traditional" TV family we've ever seen, The Cleavers juggled and discussed how to parent in a post-World War II era.
  • The Brady Bunch 1969-1974 4 of 14
    The Brady Bunch  1969-1974
    Photo: Collider.com America's most well known blended family. Carol Brady was divorcee and Mike Brady a Widower, met and married and introduced the world to a functional blended family...and Alice, who just plain rocks.
  • All In The Family 1971-1979 5 of 14
    All In The Family 1971-1979
    Photo: Wikipedia Homosexuality, Racism, Money...these are just a few of the things The Bunkers talked about on the show and Archie bunker hated it all. He was the world's most beloved bigot. People hated to love him. There was no issue too hot to handle on this 70's sitcom.
  • Good Times 1974-1979 6 of 14
    Good Times 1974-1979
    Photo: TvtRopes.com In a time where The Jeffersons were moving on up, Good Times showed a black family living in the projects. The show also spotlighted hard issues such as attempted rape, child abuse and alcoholism.
  • One Day At A Time 1975-1984 7 of 14
    One Day At A Time 1975-1984
    Photo: ABC News Though not the first show to feature a single mom, it was the first to show the struggles of a single mom and he ex, a dead beat dad. The show also showcased tough issues of the 70's including birth control and teen suicide.
  • Soap 1977-1981 8 of 14
    Soap 1977-1981
    Photo: Wikipedia Infidelity, incest, sexual harrassment, rape, cults and....aliens? These are just some of the topics covered on the night time parody Soap. Highly controversial and boycotted by 20 affiliate networks, Soap was also the very first TV show to have an openly gay dad in Billy Crystal's Jodie Arias.
  • Diff’rent Strokes 1978-1986 9 of 14
    Diff'rent Strokes 1978-1986
    Photo: EpGuide.com Not just a story about an adoption family, but a multicultural family as well. If that wasn't forward thinking enough, Diff'rent Strokes was best known for it's "very special" episodes. These episodes dealt with sexual abuse, drug addiction, racism, bulimia and more.
  • Growing Pains 1985-1992 10 of 14
    Growing Pains 1985-1992
    Photo: tvtropes.com While most TV shows had Dad off to work and Mom raising the kids, Growing Pains paved the way to showcase stay at home dads (although Mr. Seaver worked at home, he did so so his wife could have a career outside the home).
  • Roseanne 1988-1997 11 of 14
    Roseanne 1988-1997
    Photo: Walking Upright Citizens Brigade Roseanne made dysfunctional...functional. It showed a united family despite not living in luxury, and having a female bread winner with a loving husband.
  • George Lopez Show 2002-2007 12 of 14
    George Lopez Show 2002-2007
    Photo: tvtropes.com It's hard to believe that it took til 2002 for there to be a Latino TV Family. Blending in Spanish and introducing a look into the Hispanic culture, George Lopez hit a much needed target.
  • Modern Family 2009-present 13 of 14
    Modern Family 2009-present
    Photo: Nicole by OPI You know these guys... they are your neighbors, coworkers and friends. The older stepdad with the hot younger (Latina) wife. Gay parents creating a life together. The funny, emotional dad with the witty tough mom. It's relateable and just hilarious.
  • The Fosters Premieres June 3, 2013 14 of 14
    The Fosters Premieres June 3, 2013
    Photo: ABC Family Lesbian moms. Biracial couple. Adopted kids. Foster kids. Guns. Drugs...and that's just the beginning! The Fosters are the new TV family...one that sees no gender or color and just believe in love.

Catch The Fosters beginning June 3rd 9/8c on ABC Family.

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