The modern shows depict family life as being fluid. The roles are not nearly as defined anymore. Children are given more freedom to do what they want. Less structure dominates family life, with kids and parents alike being able to do largely what they want without too many expectations. Modern shows also demonstrate that life is still all about the kids. Just as real life is sometimes about parents running around to take their kids from place to place, modern shows about the family depict families in similar ways. Kids and their needs tend to dominate the entire home life for individuals.
Discipline seems to be less of a thing on modern television. Rarely do the modern family shows demonstrate a parent disciplining a child. Rather, the family always appears to be happy. Even when there are family problems, they are resolved quite quickly and without anyone having any sort of long-term problems. This is an issue as it conflicts with reality in some ways. Modern shows do not show long-term conflict or the ways families can get broken as a result. One might say the modern shows are depicting the family as being sanitized and without the real issues that can sometimes divide families.
There are some ways these depictions are different than the shows of the past. The shows of the 1950s and 1960s showed a family dominated by a male head (Zillman, Bryant, & Huston). The man of the house would direct the family, make the decisions, and bark at people to do what he wanted. In modern shows, it is sometimes true that women are in control of the household. They work and have their own careers that they are concerned about. This is not something that was seen in the shows that depicted the ways of the past in the 1950s and 1960s.
- Apaydin, Cengiz, Serhat Koca, and Murat Aytas. “Television genres. A case study: marriage programs.” Journal of Research in Gender Studies 4.1 (2014): 709-721.
- Zillmann, Dolf, Jennings Bryant, and Aletha C. Huston. Media, children, and the family: social scientific, psychodynamic, and clinical perspectives. Routledge, 2013.