10 Crazy Bad Examples of TV Families
April 10, 2012
The exploding popularity of reality programming has introduced an entirely new set of dysfunctional families to the world of television; they stand alongside some of the heavy-hitters in the realm of scripted-show history. Here are ten of the best examples of the worst family dynamics from reality and scripted television.
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- The Osbournes – When former Black Sabbath frontman and solo rocker Ozzy Osbourne’s family first appeared on MTV for their reality show, many were shocked by the profanity and substance abuse that seemed to be typical for the Osbournes. During the show’s run, son Jack did a stint in rehab; after its cancellation, Ozzy admitted to relapsing into painkiller abuse.
- Real Housewives – Though Bravo’s Real Housewives… series follows a group of families in several American cities, the moments of functionality and quality parenting on any of the shows are rare to non-existent. The self-involved parents largely ignore their entitled children, leaving viewers scratching their heads.
- Teen Mom Families – The 16 & Pregnant spinoff Teen Mom may have been intended as a series of cautionary tales regarding teen pregnancy and parenthood, but the popularity of the shows have caused worries that some teens have deliberately conceived in order to have a shot at being cast. For the young parents that are starring in the shows, most of their children are raised by grandparents while they struggle with underage drinking and even domestic violence arrests.
- All In the Family – Though All in the Family is a beloved classic, younger viewers encountering the show for the first time are struck by the unrepentant bigotry and misogyny of main character Archie Bunker.
- Married With Children – Intended as a satire on the “perfect family” sitcoms of earlier days, the Married With Children clan never fails to live up to their ironic potential. Attention-starved, sexually provocative teenage daughter, chronically underachieving son, misanthropic father and a clueless, self-absorbed mother all come together to create one of television’s most dysfunctional families of all time.
- My Super Sweet Sixteen – MTV makes the list again with their offering My Super Sweet Sixteen, which showcased real teenage girls who were spoiled to such a degree that viewers were disgusted. The lavish birthday soirees often cost several thousand dollars, but still ended in tears of self-entitled rage more often than not.
- Jon and Kate Plus Eight – What began as a portrait of a struggling but still-functional family dealing with the complications of raising eight children ended in bitterness and divorce as Jon and Kate Gosselin became more focused on fame than their children.
- Gossip Girl – The CW hit based on a bestselling series of young adult novels has been so controversial that the network used public outcry as a marketing campaign, proudly showcasing the horrified reviews to create a buzz.
- Breaking Bad – The saga of a methamphetamine-producing father, Breaking Bad is veritable goldmine of shock-value parenting. Walt White stores weapons in the nursery and feeds a teenage son shots of tequila, all while fielding the delicate problems that come from working in the seedy underbelly of meth production and distribution.
- Weeds – Showtime’s hit comedy-drama Weeds follows the exploits of drug dealing suburbanite Nancy Botwin, whose antics are often hilarious, but deeply disturbing for a mother of two sons. Before long, eldest son Silas begins working in the “family business,” with the reluctant approval of his mother, who often comes off as a woman struggling to understand how her life became so complicated.