What Does the Fall Line-up Have Lined Up for Blended Families?
When you think of television shows featuring traditional families, you may think back to the old Leave it to Beaver episodes or even The Addams Family.
What do you think of when you hear “blended family television shows?” You may not be as quick to respond, but actually, blended families have had a fair amount of representation in the world of television.
Although not the first blended family to be shown on television (Make Room for Daddy and Bonanza both featured stepfamilies), The Brady Bunch was aired by ABC from 1969 to 1974 during a time when divorce and remarriage were on the rise in the United States. The first season was especially centered on the six children who were learning how to live together and operate as a family unit. Of all the family drama they did have, they never seemed to have to deal with the absent parents’ families. There were no extenuating blended-family dramas such as Grandparents-in-law carting just their three biological grandkids off for special occasions or other awkward situations.
For nearly a decade we’ve had Two and a Half Men, aired by CBS since 2003, and faithful viewers have watched as Jake, the “Half” portion of the title, grew up and the comedy ensue as he was swapped back and forth between his parents’ homes. Now his uncle Charlie is gone and Jake has left the paternal nest to join the Army. Is this a spin-off possibility? Perhaps Jake will meet a nice young girl and have a son to continue the show with his own “Half Man.”
Until that happens, be on the lookout for these three blended family shows from the Fall line-up:
- The Disney channel has come out with Dog with a Blog this season, a show for the tweens about a blended family, but written from the family pet’s perspective. A family adopts a dog named Stan in the hope that two feuding stepsiblings will bond over the pet. It works when the siblings soon find out that that the dog can talk and write. The Disney premiere will be Friday night, October 12th.
- Ben and Kate is a new network comedy, and it follows a pair of odd-couple siblings and their friends as they push each other out of their comfort zones and into real life. What happens when an optimistic dreamer moves in with his overly responsible little sister to help raise her five-year-old daughter? It’s not a stepfamily, but it is representational of the alternative family dynamic that seems to be replacing the traditional nuclear family in our culture today. This show begins Tuesday, September 25th at 8:30/7:30c on Fox.
- First aired in 2009, ABC will continue to air Modern Family on September 25th. Done in "mockumentary" style, Modern Family revolves around three families that are related through Jay Pritchett (Ed O'Neill) and his family. Jay, the patriarch of the family, has recently remarried a woman who has a son. Jay's daughter has a husband and three children. Jay's son and his life partner have adopted a Vietnamese baby. This blended family has it all: stepchildren, adopted children, second marriages, and a gay couple. This season promises to be every bit as award-winning as last.
Now stop and try to think of any current shows that have traditional families… can you think of any?
In the comments section below, let us know your thoughts on families as they’re represented on television, and what your favorite was or currently is.