What if you could take all the sitcom families we have had over the last sixty years, and blend them into a “perfect” family? Many people have done this kind of thing, and today it’s my turn.
As always, this is just for fun.
As you might imagine this was not easy, and is limited to only family comedies. So let’s cut to the chase.
FATHER-CLIFF HUXTABLE (The Cosby Show)
This hard, because sitcom fathers always seem to fit into the same categories. They are either stiff, serious people who never relax (Mike Brady, Jason Seaver) or lazy and/or slobs who let the mother run the show (Dan Connor, Al Bundy) or they are there more to hilariously react to things (Steven Keaton, Uncle Phil) or are just idiots (Ray Barone). Cliff was different. He has been America’s Favorite TV father for thirty years now because he hit every note just right. He knew how to relate to his kids. He was good at being light and easygoing. He could then go the others way and be dead serious! Bill Cosby created this character and no sitcom father has topped him, in fact over the years the sitcom father has regressed to being the stupid slob. But the best part? The guy was not perfect. Not even close. He had bad habits, he made mistakes, and he would often defer situations to others because he couldn’t. It’s nice to see a character who is a good father and also allowed to be human.
MOTHER-Carol Brady (The Brady Bunch)
Quite literally the hardest choice because all sitcom mom’s pretty much follow the same mold. They are supportive and caring and look after their families. So what makes Carol come out on top? Because she does have her moments where she wont take crap from anyone. And she wasn’t afraid to scold the kids with Mike not around. Clair Huxtable went to far at times, almost feeling like a tyrant. On the other hand Marion Cunningham was the other way. She was way to dependent on Howard (yes I know it was the 50’s). On Growing Pains Maggie was to weepy, Elyse on Family Ties didn’t have a fun side in my opinion, Jill on Home Improvement was a little to neurotic,Â and on Everybody Loves Raymond…yeah we don’t need to discuss her again! And then there is Roseanne….yeah right. While it’s easy to make fun of Carol she really was a strong mother figure with a fun side that didn’t get to silly and was the kind of mother I think we all wish we could have had.
OLDEST KID (girl)-Sam Micelli (Who’s The Boss?)
This may be an unpopular choice, and maybe I just love Alyssa Milano, but Samantha was the kind of teenager I think we want all our kids to be. Happy and well adjusted. Oh sure there are troubles with boys and the like, but she is always positive and always happy. She even graduated early and went to college ahead of time, You have others like Becky on Roseanne who was just a pain from day one or Marcia on The Brady Bunch who was a little to perfect or D.J. on Full House whose problems felt more like whining then they did real problems. Sam seemed to be a a good kid who didn’t look down on others because she was popular and they were not. And I loved watching her.
Oldest KID (boy)-Alex (Family Ties)
I had a real tough time with this one. I thought of Greg on The Brady Bunch, but when you think about he is a little to perfect, Yeah he is a good brother but he sings, surfs, and does everything! What real problems did he ever have?Â There were others like Mike on Growing Pains who was the original goof off. Richie on Happy Days was a perfect kid….maybe a little to perfect, there’s a reason he needed Fonzie around. And Brad on Home Improvement was a worst goof off then Mike. Carlton on Fresh Prince was just a big punch line. Will had his moments.Then you get Alex on Family Ties. He was a snob, he was obsessed with making money, he would tease his family….but you know, deep down he really loved his family and would be there for them. Take one episode when Mallory talks to him about having sex for for the first time. He is in dead serious big brother mode! And he was a great role model for Andy and was always there.It is nice to see an older brother who isn’t a good off since that’s the mold they all seem to fit into,
Middle Child-Carol Seaver (Growing Pains)
Tracy Gold did a great job making Carol the typical middle child. But she didn’t get so carried away with it that it was all her character was about. So what about Darlene Connor? Sara Gilbert did a great job but Darlene only seemed to have one mode-depressed and mopey. And frankly that got old, you wonder why the Connor’s never took her out and got her some Prozac. Carol was depressed and had all sorts of issues, but she didn’t let those issues be all she was about. Mallory on Family Ties was played a little to dumb, and in real life Alex’s teasing of her would have sent her to therapy with a massive insecurity complex. Joanie on Happy Days was only around when the plot needed her to be, Stephanie on Full House was a cute kid but got boring as she aged, and Ashely on Fresh Prince had potential but just wasn’t fleshed out enough. I did like what they did with her, when they did things with her!
CUTE BABY-Rudy (The Cosby Show)
This was tougher than I expected. But Cindy and Bobby Brady were more annoying than cute. And most adorable little children grow out of the baby phase to become boring as hell characters later. Just ask DJ on Roseanne, Ben on Growing Pains, Jonathan on Who’s The Boss?, Mark on Home Improvement, or even the twin boys on Everybody Loves Raymond. Rudy was an exception, she was adorable as a baby and was still cool as she grew into a teenager. Then when Olivia showed up, she found a new niche as the older kid. Also Rudy wasn’t just there to be cute. She was smart and had problems, and unlike other characters like Michelle on Full House would make mistakes and have to deal with the consequences of those mistakes!
WACKY NEIGHBORS-Wilson (Home Improvement)
Wilson was probably my favorite neighbor on any of these shows because he wasn’t the steretypical neighbir. He wasn’t a dumb idiot who was obvious comedy relief and missed the fact the family hated him. Nor was he so over the top that he overshadowed the main cast and made the show his own. He served a real role on the show besides giving us something to laugh at, and I like how the Taylor’s really respected Wilson. Even the kids would appeal to him for advice at times which is awesome. Even better, Wilson was no snob. He could have looked down at The Taylor’s as idiots and not worth is time, instead he grew to love and care for them. Most TV shows the neighbors are annoying and there to aggravate the main characters (Steve Urkel, Skippy on Family Ties, Kimmy on Full House). This is the exception.
GRANDPARENTS-Frank and Marie (Everybody Loves Raymond)
You may wonder why on Earth I would pick these two. Sophia on The Golden Girls would have won but I said I was limiting this to FAMILY sitcoms. So why Frank and Marie? They are pushy, loud, and basically two pains in the….you know. it’s because they are so real. Most sitcoms the grandparents are just there to for comic relief. Like Mona on Who’s The Boss who didn’t even feel like a real grandmother. Or Mother Winslow on Family Matters who was always giving wise cracks. How about Bev on Roseanne who only had one note–ANNOY ANNOY ANNOY! And often the grandparents barely appear, like the grandparents on The Cosby Show who appeared every so often or the grandparents on Full House who disappeared after season two never to be heard from again! Frank and Marie feel like real, true grandparents who argue and fight and meddle in their children’s lives.Buit they love their family and do whatever they can for them…whether Ray and Debra liked it or not!
Favorite Aunt (Jackie, Roseanne)
Last category. A good sitcom aunt has to do the following. They have to be a friend to the mother. They have to needle the father and tease him affectionately. They have to chip in with the kids and be there for them when they need someone to talk to. They need to have a fun side but know when to get serious. Is there anyone this describes better than Jackie? Laurie Metcalf was perfect in this role, and Jackie with all her quirks and neuroses was one of the best characters on that show. Aunt Becky on Full House and Aunt Rachel on Family Matters were close runner ups.
Well, there you have it. My perfect sitcom family. Of course, this was all in good fun and I am sure you can swap any or all of these and make your own lists.