Sunday, November 15, 2009

Summary of Family Representation in the Media

There is still an idealization of the nuclear family being represented in the media and that can be seen throughout the decades with shows such as; ‘The Brady Bunch’ (1970’s), ‘Family Ties’ (1980’s), and ‘7th Heaven’ (1990’s). The difference between the decades is that as the years progressed, the family bonds stayed in the shows but real life issues began to be discussed instead of being nonexistent.
The most important feature our group wanted to convey was how the individual’s portrayal began to change with the course of time as well. Fathers were no longer just seen as the working provider, mothers were not only seen as wives and homemakers, and children started behaving badly; shedding their good image in favor of situations more closely based in reality. The popularity of television over time has increased in great numbers and a prime reason could be the focus of television shows to gain a wider audience by broadening their viewpoint. People began to identify with characters on their favorite TV shows because they shared similar personality traits or life situations. It was no longer taboo to admit that you came from a single parent household because the media helped show that it wasn’t an isolated situation, it was happening to families everywhere and they were able to function afterward perfectly fine.
At the helm of all of this change was the government run agency the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This corporation was created to regulate what the public hears and sees in the media. Controlling what we see on TV, this group is able to say whether or not a show can be aired and it is able to place restrictions on shows they feel are getting out of hand. Society still plays a large role in how a show is received, but the FCC controls what can be seen. A popular show in current times, ‘Family Guy’, created a spoof directly toward the FCC because they were told to restrain themselves in their story lines. Their topics are often a little crazy but they are all in the sake of comedy. So, we leave you with this clip summarizing the current view on the FCC and their often silly restrictions of modern day shows. Because even though television has made progress with what is depicted, ridiculous restrictions can still be placed on topics that are based in real life.


  1. It's pretty cool to take note of how television shows adjust over time. It makes sense, as the post mentioned, to alter a show according to how times have changed in order to reach a broader audience. Although the media can be blamed for sometimes creating unrealistic ideals and images, at times the media is good in terms of exposing and educating people to life and family circumstances they may be unfamiliar with.

    The Family Guy clip is hilarious, thank you for that.

  2. It's amazing how television has changed through out the years. I beleive that it has been good considering its popularity that it no longer presents these unrealistic images of the "American household", but shows the challenges that American families deal with daily. True that most shows aren't beneficial, but it's a good way for people to relate to what they see and can also be a form of educating people on how to deal with certain life stressors.
    Emily Zavala

  3. Emily, your post made me think of sociological imagination. I think that it is true that TV shows can show the struggles and hard times that families go through. I know I have had times where I thought my family was the only one dealing with a certain challenge when in reality many families across the world were dealing with the same problem. (This is an example of sociological imagination). An example of this on a TV show would be I used to watch the show "Dawson's Creek"...on the show Joey is brought up by her sister because her mother died of cancer. I have a friend whose mother passed away from cancer, too. Although this was a private struggle for her family, it is a challenge that unfortunately, other families have dealt with as well.

    I also want to add that I agree that TV shows can exaggerate and idealize situations as well but I think they can educate the public on different struggles families may encounter.

    -Taylor Faulkner