Sunday, October 3, 2010

The New Family Unit?

Television has changed drastically throughout the decades. The influence that media has on society wants to change as well. In the 1970s family-based TV sitcom “All in the Family,” Archie Bunker represents a typical father figure of the decade. Archie is a typical outspoken racist who seemingly voices his opinion to anyone willing to take it. “All in the Family’s” idea was to recreate the typical American household of the time – a household that involved racism and discord. This portrayed family life style influenced the way 1970s family units modeled as “normal.”
However, only a few years later, TV producers wanted to portray a typical family without the racism and conflict. They wanted to reverse the negative influence TV had on families. They created an award-winning TV sitcom called “Everybody Loves Raymond.” This show portrayed the perfect family model. The Barone family had conflict, however, they were not wrought with racism and sexism. The Barone family modeled that all conflict can be resolved in the end unlike the Bunker family in “All in the Family.” TV producers wanted to change the way America thinks about family. Of course families will have conflict! Of course families will not be perfect! But all families can work together as a uniform family unit and be successful.
“All in the Family” and “Everybody Loves Raymond” dealt with a similar concept – the family life. But each show demonstrated differently how the family unit should behave. The Bunker family proved racism and male dominance were normal if not vital in the family. The Ramone family proved that working together with similar interests was successful. The Bunker family was an exaggerated appeal of the typical American family in the 1970s. Modern sitcoms want to eliminate any exaggeration with family life. With the current studies of how easily media can influence behaviors, TV producers want to sway families into a more concrete family life style – that involves teamwork with the husband and wife.
TV producers want to show what families SHOULD look like in “Everyody Loves Raymond.” The Ramone family dealt with children, neighbors, and common everyday problems. They solved these problems with integrity but with added humor. On the other hand, the Bunker family dealt with racism, injustice, political matter, or “everyday problems.” However, the Bunker family didn’t solve these problems with integrity but rather a swayed biased family unit that added further strain to the family unit. Both shows dealt with “everyday problems” but both shows handled the situations very differently.

This clip from "Everybody Loves Raymond" proves that a family unit without conflict can actually exist....

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