A young woman wrote a blog post entitled “The Lies I Learned From Dumb TV” that has caused a small uproar among the fans of John Stamos (and probably other celebrities famous for 90s sitcoms.) I read her original post and didn’t see it as much as a slam at the ideals of family television shows as it was merely an account of what she took away from them but obviously John Stamos took offense so I have come to the rescue of the shows that I spent a large portion of my formative years admiring!
John Stamos was the ultimate cool uncle. 20 years later he is still the definition of the cool uncle and everyone knows it. “Uncle Jesse” loved women, motorcycles and rock ‘n roll (and his hair!). Funny enough, I was initially drawn to him (and later John Stamos himself) because he loved the Beach Boys as much as I do. I was also a fan of motorcycles so that didn’t hurt either! He showed us that aunts and uncles can have just as much love for a child as a parent does, I never felt that I had much in common with my aunts & uncles but “Full House” showed me that my parent’s siblings loved me more than I ever knew (it likely doesn’t hurt that I’m an aunt now and am experiencing it from the other side!). This example of “dumb TV” has shown us how a family can work without the traditional mother and father dynamic. I wonder how many same-sex couples learned that children can be raised beautifully by parents of the same gender because of this sitcom’s “unrealistic expectations?”
I would also like to note that my husband’s goddaughter worked with John Stamos and by her account he is an absolute prince of a man who is wonderful with kids. When they met he instructed her to address him as “Uncle John or Uncle Jesse”. I kept hoping she would introduce me but have reconciled myself to disappointment 😦 Even though we’ve never met I’m not about to let anybody mess with my friend!
Tony Danza was the original “manny.” Funny how that phrase was coined only recently when one of my favourite sitcoms of all time ran with the idea for years. I grew up watching the antics of this set of strangers slowly turn into a family, not unlike the many blended families in the world today. Perhaps we all learned a few things from watching this example of a home where the woman went to work and the man stayed home. Although I never knew anyone who had an ex-professional ball player as a nanny and maid there wasn’t anything that the “Who’s The Boss” family went through that didn’t happen to most of us (including the crazy mother-in-law who was always around, ask my husband!)
Alan Thicke and Bill Cosby were the original Stay-At-Home-Dads (sort of). Yes, they both had jobs that they did from home but so do a lot of stay-at-home-moms and dads today. “Growing Pains” and “The Cosby Show” showed us how it is possible (at least in TV land) to have a successful career and be there for your kids. Granted, I’ll bet nobody can pull it off as easily as it seemed for these families but without these examples we may not have even bothered to try!
Plus, Alan Thicke is Canadian and we stand up for each other!
These are just a few of my favourite shows from my “Wonder Years” but I would bet that we could look at any number of shows that seem terribly idealistic and see how those ideals are shaping the future. It’s the same effect as the original “Star Trek” had on the people that were pioneers in developing today’s technology, watch Captain Kirk flip open his communicator, thirty years later we have flip phones. We’re now beginning to see the effect that the family shows from the late 80s-early 90s have actually had on us as a society. We’re seeing all different sorts of “Family Ties” being made with adoption, surrogacy, single parent families, “Brady Bunch” style blended families and the like. Who knows what will start turning up next?
I wish that there were more shows that focus on seemingly unattainable rosy futures, otherwise what will our children have to strive for?