This is a repost from a blog that I wrote in 2010. Some of the TV programs may be outdated, but the message at the end remains the same.
A product of the 60s, I got my views on family life from the family TV shows of that era… Leave It to Beaver, Father Knows Best, The Donna Reed Show and Ozzie and Harriet, to name the major ones. These imaginary families portrayed life as happy, wholesome and fun. Dad worked outside of the home at some type of office job. Mom stayed at home cooking, cleaning, and raising their terrific kids.
This made great TV viewing for us, but didn’t completely reflect my reality or that of any of my friends. Most of us lived in two-parent households. Most of our dads worked while our moms stayed at home raising us. Basically we were pretty happy families…until drugs, infidelity and divorce reared their ugly heads. TV families didn’t deal with those real issues.
Today, there are programs called “reality shows” that are based less on reality than the 60s sitcoms! If people learn about life based merely by what they see on TV, here are some lessons they might learn:
Bachelor/Bachelorette Shows – May the best slut win!
Survivor-type Shows – Make friends with people in order to build alliances, betray them, then vote them off the show.
Competition/Talent Shows (like American Idol and Dancing with the Stars) – Invite celebs on the show, allow ill-mannered judges to berate contestants, and then hope that viewers vote them off. Amazingly the ruder the judges, the higher the ratings!
Professional Help Shows (like The Nanny and that new show where the guy is teaching whole towns how to eat healthier) – Teaches viewers that perfect strangers have more control over their lives and their children than they do.
Shows that feature celebrities at home (The Osbournes, Bobby Brown, George Foreman…) – These shows make us think that families need scripts to communicate!
Few shows depict healthy family life. An exception is Lincoln Heights on ABC Family. This drama does a great job of showing loving, caring parents helping their three children cope with issues that most kids face…bullying, dating, disappointments, and working out differences with others.
Primetime television has more reality and cop shows than movies and family dramas.
Maybe I shouldn’t expect so much from TV, but some people formulate their opinions on life by what they see on television. Once upon a time, I did.