1. LEAVE IT TO BEAVER-1957-1963
"Ward, don't be too hard on the Beaver." "I'll try not to be, June." Ah, the innocence of the 1950s and how we have so much fun with it now. This was all about the Cleaver family with the patriarch, Ward, his lovely wife who is always in high heels and pearls, June, and their 2 boys, Wally and the Beave. The Beave seems to always get into some hi jinks with Wally and his parents fixing up his mess and the Beave learning a lesson. Eddie Haskell was the family friend who was a snot but always tried to be charming. It's very corny and you truly want to see June drink some gin in the middle of the day and tell Ward to get his own fucking slippers, but you wish this type of family truly did exist....to some degree.
2. THE BRADY BUNCH-1969-1973
It's the story about a man named Brady.....so one is divorced with 3 kids and the other is widowed with 3 kids and they marry. With a happy maid, they all live in a nice home where all 6 kids share one bathroom and the 3 girls share a room and the 3 boys do the same. Yes, people actually grew up this way and didn't feel deprived. I watched this one constantly especially when it went into reruns. We all know Jan had an issue with her big sister, Marcia. Marcia got hit, by a football, in the nose and the boys were all horny but no one ever talked about it. Oh and Cindy had a cute lisp that made me just want to punch her lights out. Some famous faces were on this show like Davy Jones from The Monkees and Vincent Price in a Hawaiian episode. Corny but fun.
How can I talk about TV shows about family without mentioning this series that won Emmys and was the precursor for many shows including This Is Us. It revolves around..a family- the father and the stay at home mom. Her daughter who marries and quickly divorces, a brooding son and the teenage daughter who became a big break out Star, Kristy McNichol(who??) who has her own issues. Hey girls swooned when Leif Garrett played Kristy's boyfriend. Oh...where was I headed? Oh yes, the show. They dealt with many issues from divorce, abortion, sex that was considered ahead of its time. I did watch it even though I couldn't stand Sada Thompson who played the mother. She was heralded as a great actress but I couldn't stand her. I would love to re-watch it now with the mind I have now(oh...that's scary). Oh Some greats were affiliated with this show from Mike Nichols to Joanne Woodward(who directed an episode I found out) and Henry Fonda.
I could have picked The Waltons which was another big family show but I found it incredibly boring. Say good night John-Boy....
Whether we want to admit it or not, we all know the words to The Brady Bunch.ReplyDelete
Family Ties was always a favorite. I liked Alex Keaton. And his views.
Technically, Big Bang Theory could be a family show - they are now all one big family.
Family Ties is a good pick and I watched that all the time. I never got into the Big Bang Theory but I can totally see what you meanDelete
Never heard of the last one, but have seen the other two. Brady Bunch sure gets stuck in your head. And yep, sharing without being deprived, go figure.ReplyDelete
Love the first 2 and the last one was ok. Kids would be aghast todayDelete
These family friendly television series should be familiar to most people around the world. Leave It To Beaver made its debut when I was age 8. I never missed an episode through its entire run. It remains one of the most influential TV shows of my life and I have featured its characters on SDMM several times. In recent years Mrs. S and I watched the entire series in reruns so that we could be reminded of the way we (Americans) were, or at least the way we thought we were or hoped to be. We all bought into the notion that family problems can be solved and neatly put to rest in 30 minutes. Wise cracking Eddie was my favorite character. In the 1970s two rumors were widely circulated. One rumor claimed that Ken Osmond, the actor who portrayed Eddie, had reemerged as shock rocker Alice Cooper. The other rumor asserted that Osmond had become porn star John Holmes. In reality Ken had become a police officer with the LAPD.
I never missed The Brady Bunch either, but the series wasn't as heartwarming as Beaver. It started its run several years after Beaver went off the air and I could see, hear and feel the difference in the way the American family was presented. Much of the innocence was gone.
I was not a regular viewer of Family or The Waltons.
Thank you, dear friend BB!
We all wish that the way families were portrayed in the 50s and even 60s was really real. We know it wasn't, I mean Father Knows Best, Robert Young, was sweet but he was an alcoholic. Others had problems that we all have faced but isn't it grand to watch these shows and feel great. I think so and I think my family was fun growing up.Delete
I also chose The Brady Bunch. It's funny you mention the Flintstones in your opening paragraph, I never thought of them and that seems to obvious now. lolReplyDelete
Yeah, we match! I love The Flintstones who grew with Pebbles and Bam-Bam. They even had a hit song called"Let the Sunshine In"Delete
My first thought was Ozzie and Harriett, then Father Knows Best. They were on when I was a kid. Don't think I ever saw Family which makes me wonder what was on at the same time. And never watched the Waltons either. But for real family, there was All in the Family, lol. Would love to see a version of it in today's atmosphere.ReplyDelete
Yes, I have seen Ozzie in reruns but never seen Father Knows Best except parts here and there. All in The Family is a real hoot but I would bet it would never make it now with all the political correctness out there.Delete
How ironic. I just saw a documentary about the making of the Brady Bunch and what happened to all the children after the show ended. I had no idea that the father, Robert Reed hated the show. Although the creators wanted another person, the studio forced Reed, who was under contract with the studio, to play the dad. No one liked him because he wanted to play Shakespeare rather than this silly sitcom. No one who watched the show ever knew, though. Oh, Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!ReplyDelete
You are right about Reed and he seemed to be rather disagreeable all over. On the other hand some of the kids have said he had a genuine fondness for them. Even though he hated the show, he later appeared with everyone, except Eve Plumb, on the Brady Bunch variety show...yup...they did a horrible variety show. You need to google it to believe it.Delete
While I loved Barbara Billingsley, such a classy lady, I really couldn't stand Leave It to Beaver. Those kids were noxious. I preferred Father Knows Best though I found Kitten pretty hard to take as well but I liked the interplay between Robert Young and Jane Wyatt.ReplyDelete
I don't know what it is about The Brady Bunch that has that special hook that attracts each successive generation to watch it. Probably the fact that even though the kids got along by and large they still fought like kids do. I had always thought that both Mike and Carol were widowed but looking around I see it was never really addressed since the creator wanted her divorced and the network widowed though all those kids could have sprung from the head of Zeus for all the birth parents were ever mentioned!
Of my three picks I never expected Family to be the one to have a match with! I'm glad it is though since I loved the show, they still occasionally rerun episodes here and it really hasn't dated that much. We'll have to agree to disagree on Sada Thompson....LOVE her!
There is just an almost bottomless pit of choices here and I was tempted to go with Party of Five or the short-lived Richard Kiley show A Year in the Life which I adored even if it did have that hopelessly annoying Sarah Jessica Parker in the cast. Kiley, Adam Arkin and Amanda Peterson balanced out her irksome presence. But I decided the easiest way to go was a theme of sorts.
Family (1976-1980)-Gentle family drama of the problems big and small of an upper middle class family, lawyer dad Doug Lawrence (James Broderick-Matthew’s father) wife Kate (Sada Thompson) and their three children Nancy (Meredith Baxter again), Willie (Gary Frank) and sensitive Letitia “Buddy” (Kristy McNicol), living in a small California town. Much of the power of the series came from its refusal to go for big showy emotions rather taking a naturalistic approach to the various issues that present themselves. Very well-acted.
Family Ties (1982-1989)-Former liberal flower children of the 60’s Steven and Elyse Keaton (Michael Gross & Meredith Baxter) are now middle class parents raising their three (eventually four) very different children in the Reagan 80’s. There’s the youngest, tomboy Jennifer (Tina Yothers), middle child acquisitive somewhat ditzy Mallory (Justine Bateman) and oldest son strongly conservative money hungry Alex (the series breakout star Michael J. Fox). The series looks with gentle humor and insight at the culture clashes that constantly erupt within the household through the years.
All in the Family (1971-1979)-Archie Bunker (Carroll O’Connor), his wife Edith (Jean Stapleton) who Archie semi affectionately calls “Dingbat” their daughter Gloria (Sally Struthers) and her husband Mike Stivic (Rob Reiner) who Archie far less affectionately calls “Meathead” live together often disharmoniously in Queens, New York. Archie is a firmly opinionated bigot and his daughter and especially his son-in-law equally fierce liberals so their exchanges are often incendiary. When this debuted in ’71 it caused a revolution in how TV comedy was seen, to this point it had been dominated by shows similar to Father Knows Best and even more progressive ones such as Julia with Diahann Carroll dealt with gently humorous situations. But All in the Family took aim at the hot topics of the time in a more realistic way.
Yes, it's funny that the Brady Bunch kids never seemed to miss their other parent(s) I really need to watch Family again because I haven't seen it since it went off the air. I might think differently of Sada Thompson. Family Ties was a good show and funny and love All in the Family which, I fear, would never be made today.Delete
Hi Birgit ...how you feeling?....and Mom...?.....I seem to have missed all of these series but not surprising as we didn’t have tv at Home ...I had to buy my own when I went to university...what a revelation it was...still black and white thenReplyDelete
Thank you for you kind words and hugs xxxx
I am feeling better but my mom is up and down. We had another scare but she bounced back again but she is awefully tired. Yes our shows don't show up much across the pondDelete
I have never heard of any of your picks. But I've seen the Simpsons, Family Guy and the Flintstones. None of them crossed my mind though.ReplyDelete
I thought for sure The Brady Bunch was everywhere. It just shows how these shows just don't travel to many placesDelete
Never a big fan of the Brady clan. I watched a couple of seasons because, IIRC, there was nothing better on!ReplyDelete
When I saw your title, I immediately thought of Family, a show I liked a lot!
Wow...someone who doesn't like The Brady Bunch! It was pretty squeaky clean...more than the behind the scenes where Marcia and Greg made out. Glad another has seen FamilyDelete
I'll mention first my all-time favorite TV show: THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW. A single father (Sheriff Andy Taylor) and his ever-cooking aunt (Bee Taylor) raising son Opie in a town (Mayberry, North Carolina) full of great characters (Deputy Barney Fife, Barber Floyd Lawson, town drunk Otis Campbell, the undecided Mayor Pike) and occasional crimes like shoplifting and auto theft (both committed by little old ladies!)ReplyDelete
I don't think there are many people who don't wish Mayberry was real and that they could live there.
ALL IN THE FAMILY: The most revolutionary show in TV history, dealing with topics that had never dared been addressed before. (Also the first show to flush a toilet on TV.) In my opinion, Carroll O'Connor gave the greatest acting performances in the history of TV, playing the greatest character in TV history: Archie Bunker.
FRASIER: Warped, narcissistic radio psychiatrist Frasier Crane and his ex-cop dad, Martin, live together and argue together in a fancy apartment also occupied by Martin's English physical therapist, the goofy and sometimes psychic Daphne Moon. (Daphne Moon - yum!-yum!)
And then of course there's Frasier's neurotic, germ-aphobic, competitive little brother Niles; Frasier's radio show producer and family friend, the ultra-randy Roz Doyle, and a whole bunch of other terrific characters (Bulldog, Gil Chesterton, Bebe Glazer, Kenny Dailey, et al.)
Simply put, the funniest, most-laughs-per minute TV show ever. But one which actually demands a bit of IQ-power and history / literature knowledge from its audiences in order for them to catch all the jokes.
Those would be my Top Three.
Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...
Oh my yes! The Andy Griffith Show is great! Here was a truly good man and his son who were close and dealing with things that would happen in the family. Along with Aunt Bea and the rest of the bunch, it was sweet. I love Frazier! It's a great show and so well written...one of the best that has been on TVDelete
Eddie Haskell is a touchstone for me. Some kiddos play that game in school... I remember the updated version from the '80s on Disney Channel, I think. My mother complained that Beaver couldn't act.ReplyDelete
I've heard of all the shows (Kristy McNicol. Enjoyed a few of her movies from the early '80s. She had issues, didn't she?), but only really saw The Brady Bunch. This is such a broad topic. So many shows to choose from.
Yes, Kristy has bi-polar disorder and has suffered for years. There are a Ron of shows!Delete
I used to love Married With Children. Till Death Us Do Part was the UK show which All in the Family was modelled on I think - considered very daring at the time. Another commenter mentioned Frasier which I wouldn’t have thought of, but of course it’s family. I think it’s my all time favourite. There are loads of UK family series which don’t attract me at all. Loved The Addams Family as a kid and The Munsters. Oh, and an Australian show I liked was Kath and Kim.ReplyDelete
Oh yes! Martied With Children is so much the antithesis of the family shows I have mentioned. Yes, All In The Family comes from the British Show as so many do. Love Frazier and I love that you mentioned The Adams Family and The Munsters, my favouriteDelete
The Brady Bunch had the best for both audiences. If you were into pretty vain gals Marsha, yeah she did the trick. Mother Nature wasn't so kind to Jan who was just an ordinary chic but the greatest aspect about this show was lesbians and so friendly and affectionate they were... which said a lot for the show, actors and producers.ReplyDelete
I always preferred Jan over Marcia and was happy when Marcia got hit in the nose with the football...I am bad.Delete
I used to love Leave It To Beaver reruns. I liked Family. I think Kristy has bipolar disorder--I remember it being said that she had to leave another show she was on because of a "chemical imbalance." I didn't care much for The Brady Bunch. I've heard the "kids" who were on it talk about how much they hated it because they had to wear such weird clothes and say things that real kids didn't say. That's why I didn't like it. I was jealous that the kids had their own bathroom, though. I know that meant six of them were sharing it, but believe me, I was in a worse bathroom situation as a kid. Grown-up "Cindy" says that "Marcia" and "Jan" really do hate each other so if they have get-togethers, the two find a way to avoid each other. Another animated show with a family that Favorite Young Man and I like is Bob's Burgers. I also liked My So-Called Life (only one season) and Freaks and Geeks (one season). Both featured families, but also various friends.ReplyDelete
Yes, I heard Maureen McCormick and Eve Plumb don't think much of each other but now, good ole Cindy is in deep shit and should be with her on air comments. Never watched My So-Called Life but love Freaks and GeeksDelete
I probably watched the entire series of the Brady Bunch. I think Full House tried to copy-cat the rivalry between the girls even though on that show there were no brothers. And DJ was really ugly compared to Marcia anyway.ReplyDelete
Though I would take Aunt Beck on Full House over either of them anyways now or then. Lori Loughlin is like 53 but she still looks just as good as she did back in the 90's. Her on-show husband Uncle Jesse/John Stamos also aged really well.
I just never could get into Full House as I thought the young girls could make people go into the cornfield if anyone disagreed with them.Delete
My wife was an Army brat and was in Germany growing up. Whenever I make reference to Leave It to Beaver, which I grew up on, she just looks at me blankly.ReplyDelete
Yes, we think these shows are known world wide but they aren't. I wonder what Family shows were on at that time in Germany?Delete
The Waltons sucked. It's a boring-ass show about a bunch of stupid people. The Brady Bunch at least was entertaining.ReplyDelete
Tell me what you really think...hahahaaaaa. I actually agree with you and thought I would want to escape that mountain. I found out my hubby actually liked The Waltons, I felt his forehead to see if he had a fever.Delete
I don't think any of these made it onto British TV. If they did, I certainly didn't see them.ReplyDelete
Watched some of Leave it to the Beaver and Brady Bunch. Surprised BB wasn't on longer.ReplyDelete
Never heard of Family.
Vaguely remember watching some Waltons, but I think my sister was more into it than I was.
The Addams Family - Carolyn Jones
Gilmore Girls - Lauren Graham
Modern Family - Sofia Vergara
Eight Is Enough for my bonus pick.
Leave It to Beaver was the only one of your picks that I watched and I did like that show to the point that I still enjoy the reruns.ReplyDelete
I guess The Wonder Years fits into this classification and I did used to watch that show frequently when it went into syndication. I think I was watching it because my kids liked it, but I found that I could relate well to the show.
Tossing It Out
I didn't like The Waltons either. Still I watched it more than I wanted to, hmmm what does that say about me? Did you ever see the Ozzie and Harriet Show? Father Knows Best was another I liked. I was intrigued with the scrunched up smiley face of the younger daughter.ReplyDelete
"Leave It To Beaver" was really funny, especially the way Wally talked. ("Gee, Dad, why would you do a rotten thing like that?" Or "Hey, Eddie, want a hunk o' milk?")ReplyDelete
There were two reasons I watched "The Brady Bunch": Marcia and Jan. Maureen McCormick was the same age I was, and a lot different from the girls I was in high school with: she seemed nice. Eve Plumb was the typical little sister, very cute but a pain in the ass. I guess she's done quite well for herself: she took her earnings from the show and bought a house (she was sixteen at the time) and just sold it for some ungodly amount.
Never watched "Family," but Kristy McNichol was cute. She was great in "Little Darlings" and "Empty Nest" (a show that disappeared without much fanfare when NBC decided to scrap their original Saturday night programming and replace it with reruns and their newsmagazine).
One weekend, Decades (one of the subchannels) ran back-to-back episodes of "The Donna Reed Show," and I found myself staying up until 3 AM watching, remembering when the show was on every week and we watched it, and actually remembering a few of the episodes after 50 years. Donna was lovely, of course, and her reactions to the kids and their friends were pretty funny. Shelly Fabares and Paul Petersen were great as the kids, because they were kids. Carl Betz, though... he was fantastic. Strong, competent, loving, caring; in this day and age, when TV fathers are portrayed as buffoons, I miss that. There was a scene in one of the shows where Jeff (Petersen) sang a song about what a good father he had, and watching Betz listening to it was priceless. It was the Sixties, and men didn't cry (although Donna and Shelley were falling apart watching it), but you could tell "Dr. Stone" was deeply moved.
Another show from the Sixties that we liked was "My Three Sons." You didn't generally see widowers on TV in those days, especially not widowers with children, so the idea of a man living with his three boys and his father-in-law was unique to the airwaves. One son leaves, he adopts one. His father-in-law dies, he has his uncle move in. The boys would get into a fix, he wouldn't offer his advice until they asked for it, then would stay out of the game and let the kid deal with it. He was teaching the boys to be men. There was an episode where Chip and his girlfriend were getting serious, and the girl's father, who didn't like him for some reason, had him followed by a private investigator. When Chip finds out (because the father confronts him with the PI's notes), all he says is, "I'm happy I have the father I do" (or words to that effect.
"Life Goes On" was good because it showed a family that had its challenges. Their son has Down Syndrome; the older daughter is having trouble finding her place in the world; the younger daughter is growing up maybe a little too quickly; the wife discovers she's pregnant again; and the husband is dealing with getting older. But they love each other, and somehow things come out okay in the end.
Those are my three...
Oh man, these shows...ReplyDelete
I used to hate-watch Leave it to Beaver and The Brady Bunch since I found them both incredibly cheesy. I have an appreciation of what both meant to people, but they weren't for me. Never heard of The Family until now.
"Leave It To Beaver" is before my time...well, it was still aired at the time of my birth but I was two years old when it went off. All the other TV sitcoms I remember quite well. Kristy McNichol is a name I haven't heard in years. What became of her anyhow? If you're wondering, then you might want to read this article I found. "The Waltons" perhaps is my favorite and is definitely the most heart warming of the series of life in a different time. Thanks for sharing!
I had a realization recently. My wife and I were watching an old episode of "Friends" and my 5yo son said "I don't like that boring old show." I thought, this isn't that old, but then I did the math.ReplyDelete
Friends was released 20 years before he was born.
Leave it to Beaver (which in my eyes is ANCIENT) was released 20 years before *I* was born.
Of course my takeaway from this is that I'm just really old, but also, it's fascinating how perspective changes things.
I love The Brady Bunch. It was cute.ReplyDelete
I was intrigued with the scrunched up smiley face of the younger daughter.ReplyDelete