Dysfunctional Families

October 21, 2009


***A little different than other Second Looks but hopefully okay***
Oh dysfunctional families, why is it that they fascinate us so? Nearly all television dramas and comedies have characters that are part of some sort of a dysfunctional family. Look at the iconic comedy Will & Grace. Grace’s mom is terrible and Will’s family is emotionally oppressive. Jack has a poor relationship with his father and Karen is in a loveless marriage. Programs of all types, art and literature have depicted dysfunctional families for what seems like forever. Jane Eyre had a poor family life. Matilda, hers wasn’t good either. Don’t even get me started on poor Harry Potter. The list of fictions characters with dysfunctional families seems to be infinite.
Now that it is established that in popular culture dysfunctional families are viewed for entertainment I’d like to look at why such families are so successful at being the center of entertainment drama. I will assert that dysfunctional families are so popular to watch on television and to read about in novels because they’re relatable. No one has a perfect family and most of us probably have some aspect of dysfunction in our families. For this reason it would seem that nearly EVERYONE feels comfortable with and even possibly obliged to rag on their own family experiences. Viewing the dysfunction of others may, because of the screwiness of human nature, make people feel better about themselves.
Dysfunctional families deserve a second look because, for better or worse (probably worse) they are a cornerstone of humanity as we know it. Having a cookie cutter nuclear family with no problems may exist but I am a skeptic. I think all families have some level of dysfunction. This ubiquitous trait of families unites and connects us all. Unfortunately, dysfunctional families deserve a second look.
Just a fyi: this author is most DEFINITELY a part of a dysfunctional family…a family that has now randomly come down with the swine flu. Enjoy your night, take you vitamins, love your dysfunction. If you don’t have any dysfunction I PROMISE that you’re very very lucky and the 95.99% of us that have endured varying levels of dysfunction are jealous.

***A little different than other Second Looks but hopefully okay***

Oh the misery of dysfunctional families, why is it that they fascinate us so? Nearly all television dramas and comedies have characters that are part of some sort of a dysfunctional family. Look at the iconic comedy Will & Grace. Grace’s mom is terrible and Will’s family is emotionally oppressive. Jack has a poor relationship with his father and Karen is in a loveless marriage. Programs of all types, art and literature have depicted dysfunctional families for what seems like forever. Jane Eyre had a poor family life. Matilda, hers wasn’t good either. Don’t even get me started on poor Harry Potter. The list of fictitious characters with dysfunctional families seems to be infinite.

Now that it is established that in popular culture dysfunctional families are viewed for entertainment I’d like to look at why such families are so successful at being the center of entertainment drama. I will assert that dysfunctional families are so popular to watch on television and to read about in novels because they’re relatable. No one has a perfect family and most of us probably have some aspect of dysfunction in our families. For this reason it would seem that nearly EVERYONE feels comfortable with and even possibly obliged to rag on their own family experiences. Viewing the dysfunction of others may, because of the screwiness of human nature, make people feel better about themselves.

Dysfunctional families deserve a second look because, for better or worse (probably worse) they are a cornerstone of humanity as we know it. Having a cookie cutter nuclear family with no problems may exist but I am a skeptic. I think all families have some level of dysfunction. This ubiquitous trait of families unites and connects us all. Unfortunately, dysfunctional families deserve a second look.

Just a FYI: this author is most DEFINITELY a part of a dysfunctional family…a family that has now randomly come down with H1N1. Enjoy your night, take you vitamins, love your dysfunction. If you don’t have any dysfunction I PROMISE that you’re very very lucky and the 95.99% of us that have endured varying levels of dysfunction are jealous.

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2 Responses to “Dysfunctional Families”

  1. Becky Powell Says:

    “I think all families have some level of dysfunction. This ubiquitous trait of families unites and connects us all. Unfortunately, dysfunctional families deserve a second look.”

    Here here to you lady. I agree with the fact that every family has their own level of dysfunction and whether or not the family chooses to “man up” to it is probably the reason why they are not aware of it. It’s easy for society (in this case, families) to mask the faults and or negativity in their lives. But isn’t that what makes life so interesting on a day to day basis?

  2. guilfordcyndi Says:

    Maybe the humor is a way for us all to deflect and understand our own crazy families! I wonder if anyone really has a perfect family? It seems elusive. Keep on writing.


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