Family TV shows by decade
Starting off with the 1960's, Most of the sitcom shows contain the same core themes. The 1960's were still concerned with the nuclear family unit, white suburban middle class, and the traditional patriarch of the 1950's. Society was also slowly moving away from these cornerstones of social behavior. 'My Three Sons' is a show that started in 1960, featuring a single father with three boys. The family platform here clearly lacks a mother. A single father raising 3 children deviates from the nuclear family concept, but it is acceptable because the father, Steve Douglas, is a widowed aircraft engineer. The family theme here shows that he did his due diligence by having a job that can support his family and being married. The show begins with the wife already removed from the situation. The generalized concept of the show is that this single father still pursues traditional family values and teachings even though the traditional nuclear family is different. Steve Douglas's father helps to raise the children, which allows for the opportunity of a grandfathers wisdom and oversight typically sought after in a family with good values. All three of the sons go on to be in happy marriages and have socially acceptable lifestyles with their own families. Although family life can have its struggles, it is typically accepted that a single father can raise a family well. A single mother as a parent would be considered much more difficult, since the perceptions of men having well paying jobs instead of women.
The Andy Griffin show was aired between 1960 and 1968. It also features a single father and a son, with the family unit lacking a mother, therefore showing the family platform differently than previous decades. The father role is largely responsible for instilling good moral values and socially acceptable behavior, which is easily seen in the role of Andy Griffin being the straight shooting sheriff of a small town. Not only is he capable of raising his son with core values, he distributes his knowledge by apprehending the 'bad guys' of the town and providing great leadership to his deputy and childhood friend, Barney Fife. The show did not display Andy having financial hardship or a lack of help raising his son, showing again the common conception that a single father could raise a family well. In fact, Andy Griffith was a much loved show and father presence, and was even awarded the 8th rank in '50 greatest TV dads of all time'.
Beverly Hillbillies is a loud and fun sitcom, airing from 1962 to 1974. It also follows the general single father theme, it follows the pursuit and practice of good family values, and shows a new light on the typical American dream of white suburban middle class aspirations. The family features the patriarch Jed Clampett, his mother in law Granny Moses, his daughter Elly May, his cousin Pearl, her child and his second cousin, Jethro. Taking a look at this family conglomeration, it is not a model of the nuclear family unit. Instead, they have a made a core family out of different family members. This goes right along with the 1960s theme of just slightly moving away from long held traditions of family structure. The show features the hillbilly family, and a wealthy family in Beverly hills. Both families are white, since African Americans still did not hold a measurable role in the acting industry at this point. These white families come from two very different sub cultures of American culture. Humorous as it is when these two cultures clash, they still hold many similarities. Both families hold moral values in high priority and hold the family unit in high priority. The wealthy family has pursued financial wealth, and many times this pursuit of greed shows the degradation of some of their moral values. The hillbillies are kind, moral, and simplistic in their ways. The wealthy family is shown to be rude, self...
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