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My Functional Family

Making A "Dysfunctional" Family Function

Non-Traditional Sitcom Families

Posted by: Maureen | October 6, 2010 | No Comments

Whenever I talk about my family people always make reference to the Brady Bunch, and that seems logical, I mean they are arguably the most famous blended family to ever hit the small screen.

That got me thinking about non-traditional families in sitcoms and once I got thinking about it there was no stopping. There are a ton of non-traditional families in tv land.

Like I mentioned, The Brady Bunch have to be the top of the list. Have you ever wondered though, where were there ex’s? They never had to deal with shared custody like blended families of today. I looked it up. The producers never wanted to mention the ex’s, they just hoped people would assume they were widowers. The other thing they didn’t deal with that most blended families deal with; multiple last names. Carol Brady, and her girls, ALL adopted the Brady name.

In my mind, next on the list is Diff’rent Strokes (also known as the place child stars went to die, or at the very least, get addicted to cocaine). Diff’rent Strokes (no, I don’t know why it’s spelled that way, perhaps they thought it was “urban”) was a sitcom about a wealthy single white business man with a daughter who adopts his house keepers black children when she dies. I loved this show when I was a kid, you didn’t? What you talking about, WIllis?

Now, let’s take a look at Who’s The Boss? A single mother with a young (totally annoying) son who hires a single father to be her house keeper. The sexual tension between the two is thick, but they never get together, presumably because he is from the wrong side of the tracks and she is too proper… your loss Angela.

Anyone remember Kate and Allie? It was a show about two single moms who lived together. I’d give you more details, but it was so boring I’ve forgotten most of them… I will give the show this: I believe it was supposed to empower women.

Looking for something a little more recent? Look no further than Family Channel, a good deal of their shows are about non-traditional families. There is Life with Derek which follows two teenagers on either “side” of a blended family, then there is The Suite Life which is about twin boys raised by their single mother with the occasional appearance of their Rockabilly father. And let’s not forget the golden girl herself, Hannah Montana and her brother, are being raised by their single dad too. Maybe Family should let Robbie Ray and Carey Martin get together and they could have a spin-off where Hannah Montana gets to be the lounge singer on the cruise ship where Zack and Cody go to school.

In Modern Family there is more than one non-traditional family. They cover both step parents and gay parents. This show also spawned the term “mockumentary”… (Or so I thought, then my husband said “Two words…Spinal Tap.  Come on!”), so do they count as a sitcom family? Of course, we are all encompassing that way

My personal favourite “dysfunctional” family of the season? Welcome to Cougartown! Courtney Cox is a single mom to a college aged son and her deadbeat ex lives on boat that is docked in the middle of a parking lot! C’mon, it doesn’t get any better than that!

Who are your favourite sitcom families?

Related posts:

  1. My Top 5 Famous Non-Traditional Families
  2. Hopes and Goals
  3. The Blurred Lines of a Blended Family


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