Opinions

Full House’s Impact on Depictions of TV Families

By: Olivia Abraham

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On January 19th, 2022, American comedian and actor Bob Saget passed away. Although he was mainly known for his place in stand-up comedy, Saget was additionally a memorable figure on television. One can examine his impact on shifting the conventional family styles that were prominent on TV in the 1980’s. 

Comedy can be defined as a type of professional entertainment with the incorporation of satirical sketches and jokes, intended to make an audience laugh. Like several comedians hoped to achieve, Bob Saget managed to entertain audiences to an incredible extent. It did not take long for Saget to become a familiar face in stand-up comedy, especially after his previous roles in acting.                                                                     

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When one is a comedian, they are likely to be involved with other forms of entertainment as well. Seeing that Bob Saget was a comedian, he was also a part of the popular television show, Full House (along with its Netflix sequel Fuller House) where he played the character Danny Tanner. On Full House, Bob Sagent’s character appeared as a caring and selfless father of three daughters, each of whom had to be raised by Danny, his brother-in-law, and best friend after Danny’s wife dies in a car accident. The show reflected a developmental family sitcom, seeing how it first aired in the 1980’s, yet portrayed something other than the typical, “idealistic” family structure consisting of a husband, wife, and their children. Full House demonstrated a rather complex family structure, and allowed impressionable viewers to walk away with the concept that family bonds are dependent on love and care, not blood relation. Not to mention, the show played a role in moving away from the depiction of traditional family forms in other television series. Today, shows like Modern Family no longer illustrate the outdated definition of what a family should look like, which was previously encouraged in shows like Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best. 

It is apparent that television shows contribute to shaping the way of thinking for future generations. Watching programs are things that children look forward to for the following week, and gives them the reason to wake up early and watch the latest episode of their favorite show. In a way, children are raised by the characters they view on television, as they pick up on certain mannerisms, statements, lessons, or even a sense of humor. Through shifting the original way of thinking in regards to how families must fit a specific composition, Full House helped in disallowing such ideas to be passed down. 

Sources:

https://languages.oup.com/google-dictionary-en/

https://the-artifice.com/how-has-the-idea-of-family-changed-on-television-since-world-war-ii-2/

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