TV Thursdays: The Importance Of Family and Relationships (Packed To The Rafters, Switched At Birth, Parenthood)



packed to the rafters season 1

In my opinion, family and healthy relationships are probably one of the most important things in life. Family is something a person should be able to rely on, and can support you through thick and thin. Family should love you without condition, and always have your best interest at heart. Family sticks by you even when the world turns their back, and family never judges you, and helps you when you are down.

Sadly, these days quite a few families are not as ‘perfect’ or all together as they were many years ago. I’ve heard a lot of stories, either in movies, the news, or from my mum’s work (as she works at a high school) about children with broken families, with messed up lives that they try to find role models and fulfilment in all of the wrong places. Now I know that these kids are in the minority, and that there are actually some loving and stable families out there, but if the example on TV or the internet that kids with divorced parents or only one parent, is the norm, then how will they know how to be a good mother or father if they haven’t experienced it before in their home life? Enter in a few TV shows that I love, depicting healthy families, or as healthy as can be on TV right now.

Parenthood, a respected film made in 1989, starred Steve Martin and centred on a family of 4 siblings, and their children. They all cared for each other and while each of them had varying degrees of success work and family wise, they all looked out for each other and put each other first. Though I myself haven’t seen the movie in many, many years, 20 odd years later; a TV series of the same name was created, starring Peter Krause, Lauren Graham, Dax Shepard and Erika Christensen as the 4 Bravermans. One of the shows that was not afraid to tackle issues such as life altering illnesses, drug addictions, Asperger’s syndrome, life after retirement, sexual preferences, breakups of relationships, abortions, post traumatic stress disorders, depression, and more; the show always pulled at our emotions and our heart. Finishing up this coming year at 6 seasons; what I think sets Parenthood apart from many family orientated shows is that it is realistic, relevant, and tries to cater towards a wide range of people groups, and that is one of the many reasons why I enjoy this show so much. There are many layers to this show that reminds us that family loves unconditionally, and that family is always there for us no matter the differences between each other. For teenagers who seem to have a broken family life, or those who want to know how to strengthen their relationships with their family, then look no further than the Braverman’s in Parenthood, guaranteed to be a cult classic for many years to come.

For those who don’t have the perfect family though, a couple of other shows might encourage you that sometimes having an abnormal and weird family is ok. Switched at Birth, a story about teenagers Bay and Daphne and their lives after they found out they were switched at birth, thus having two sets of parents, in which one girl’s adopted parents are the biological parents of the other. Both families live different lives, and each girl has to reconcile the lifestyle and family that they know with the one they just found out about. These girls and their parents live together and are a family; and are happy as well, as they discover their identity as people and forge their own path.

Closer to home, the Australian filmed Packed to the Rafters centres on the Rafters, in which the parents of 3 children find themselves with no kids in the house after the last kid moves out of home. But their retirement bliss is short lived, as in no time, all their children move back close to home after unforeseen circumstances. What results is tense and awkward interactions that bring out the best and show a tight knit family; where no circumstance can break the love they have for one another.

In all three television series, family is presented as being very important, and necessary as a support network, to help us get through this life. But the beauty of it is that even if you have a broken home, you still have a family. You have loved ones, extended family, father and mother figures, as well as friends. Not everyone is as alone or screwed up as we think, and that is the take home message from these poignant and inspirational shows in my opinion. So comment away. Which of the three TV shows in this article resonates with you the most? And in terms of family, which show gives you hop that you have a family and people who look out for your best interests; people who love you and appreciate you for who you are?

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