The evolution of extended families has progressed far from the early black and white episodes of The Addams Family, to the country life of The Waltons, and to the crazy lives of the family in Full House. It is clear that the changes in the portrayals of families provide audience members with a picture of families being more complex if nothing else (Bryant, 2001). Therefore, it is certain that each decade has surpassed the other in its growth and development of extended families.
The 1960s series The Addams Family showed a very good example of an extended family. The extended family included Gomez Addams (an eccentric cigar-smoking millionaire lawyer), Morticia (his slender wife), Pugsley (their son), Wednesday (their little girl), Grandmama Addams, Uncle Fester, Cousin It, and Lurch (the family’s zombie butler). Other people residing in the household included Thing (a disembodied hand), Kit Kat (a cowardly lion), and Cleopatra (an African strangling plant). These are all different members of one big family that have come to live together to be a perfect portrayal of a well-known extended television family.
In the 1970s, The Waltons, an American rural television drama, depicted the ideal extended family. The grandparents were very much a part of this show’s weekly plot and were included in the decision making of the family. Since all family members lived under one roof, The Waltons is the authentic example of an extended family. This family extended throughout its parents John and Olivia Walton, to its seven children in the home, as well as the two grandparents living with the rest of the family.
The Waltons was based in rural America, but its goal was to change with the times. The show was designed to respond to America’s longing for simpler, older country...