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The Evolution of the Family on Television

Uploaded by francis03 on Dec 10, 2003

The Evolution of the Family on Television

Introduction
Television is not just a form of entertainment, it is also an excellent way to study society’s ever-changing families. From the beginning of the history of television in the early 1950’s to present day, there have been many television shows and sitcoms about the common North American family. Today’s sitcoms have “single-parent households, several friends and roommates, gay relationships and unmarried adults whose lives revolve around the workplace” (Terry). This is very different compared to the old-fashioned nuclear family unit of mom, dad, and the kids in past decades. The stories or themes are a reflection of societal beliefs, attitudes and behaviours of the typical family of the time. Television is often evolving with North American families to better portray or resemble them on TV. This can be seen through the different family shows throughout the decades, from Leave it to Beaver in the pre-1970’s to The Brady Bunch, to The Cosby Show in the 1980’s and finally to Malcolm in the Middle in present day. Significant change among family shows can be clearly shown in these selected programs. Although the typical North American family has constantly transformed over the years, television sitcoms have reflected and met this change.

Leave It to Beaver (Pre-1970’s)
A classic among classics, Leave it to Beaver appeared on television in 1957. The show is family-oriented with themes revolving around moral messages, parenting, and relationships. There is one or more moral messages often included in an episode, such as when the boys disobeyed their parents and then lied. However, regardless of the circumstances, the program consistently delivered strong advice to children respecting their obligations to their family in particular and society in general. When the boys need advice or did something wrong, the parents are the two most important figures they can turn to. Teaching children proper moral behaviour required input from the parents. This program was intended for adults seen through the eyes of a little boy. It provided advice to parents to help them establish proper parenting techniques. There is also a lot of emphasis on different relationships between the characters. Examples of this include Beaver, a youngster who sees girls as the enemy, as well as the relationships within the family. Leave it to Beaver cleverly portrays the innocence and traditional North American family of the pre-1970’s.

The Brady Bunch (1970’s)
The Brady Bunch is one of the most beloved...

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Uploaded by:   francis03

Date:   12/10/2003

Category:   Television

Length:   6 pages (1,295 words)

Views:   1441

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