Many years ago from 1984 to 1992, the most popular comedy show on NBC was The Cosby Show starring Bill Cosby and cast of talented actors. Now in all the years since that show went off the air 21 years ago, setting aside the low-culture Married With Children (ending 1997), try very hard to imagine of any show on network television that invoves a positive example of a husband (male) married to a wife (female) and their biological children living together in the same home.
Harder still, try to find one such program with a positive traditional family on the 2013 prime time schedule. I don't think it is possible. A lone exception might be the extended family of Blue Bloods with Tom Selleck on CBS but even that show's lead character is a widower and his daughter is divorced while one of his two sons is married and plots sometimes include a scene with four generations sharing a Sunday dinner.I do not watch much network TV so I did not fully realize until I looked at the schedule of shows for this fall that the typical show is usually about single people in bizarre living arrangements or even more crazy "reality shows" with single people trying to "hook up" as the modern slang goes. CBS announced in March that Blue Bloods has been renewed for a fouth season on Friday nights. But as far as I can tell the detective son of the police chief in that show will be the only prime time example of a married couple that has their own children.
So with almost no positive role models of married couples with children on entertainment TV and almost all single people portrayed, younger viewers might undersandablly think the entire world is single. Given the number of hours that some teens and younger adults spend watching entertainment networks each week, this distorted view of a single-person world has to have a huge impact on changing cultural attitudes about the role of traditional families in society. Clearly, married couples with children are not important to the peculiar sub-culture of network programmers in Hollywood and New York. The producers and programmers no doubt think that traditional families are borning and their writers are unable to write plots that would not feature constant romantic possibilities for either singles or extra-marital affairs for married couples.
The problem is not just the fact that Hollywood writers seem so far isolated in their own strange cultural bubble disconnected from nuclear families, but that they also do not have the imagination to write well enough to invent plots that might involve positive family role models. Unlike many TV and movie writers of past generations, this generation of writers and producers seems uniquely narcissistic and disconnected from real-world experiences that millinos of people have had raising families with children in school, worshiping God in churches, serving in the military or with volunteer civic improvement clubs, living in suburbs or on farms, working in normal for-profit companies in normal offices and factories that help to create prosperity, or just helping their neighbors. That world of Red States and even major parts of Blue states is just not represented in Hollywood because Hollywood either does not know that world at all or is just too busy making fun of their cartoonish stereotypes of that world to even try to cultivate a wider audience.
With the old proverb in mind that it is always better to light one candle than to curse the darkness, some people want to offer some cultural opions that celebrate families and Amerian exceptionalism as an antidote to the cultural void that now dominates Hollywood. The best example I know of personally is my sister Cheryl Felicia Rhoads who was a comedy actress in the Second City Touring Company in Chicago, acted in Hollywood for many years, and who has taught thousands of young acting students in recent years at her own school in Virginia. Cheryl last year teamed up with an initiative started by Washington, DC-based commercial producer Demos Chrissos to launch a new nonprofit foundation to offer opportunities to writers and producers of film, TV, and stage productions who do understand the values of so many millions of Americans who currently are not shown on most TV shows and in most movies. The new foundation is called The Foundation for American Media.
If they wish, IR Readers may CLICK HERE to find out more about the mission of the new foundation.