It is often thought that TV families don’t really give an accurate portrayal of life in the world today. The image of the woman doing the washing up with her perfect little children as portrayed in many advertisements, bears little resemblance to the increasingly domestic role played by men or to the growing number of single parent families in contemporary society – but what about other presentations of families found on TV?
Women are used to juggling several roles with the term multi-tasking seeming almost tailor-made for the busy wife, mother and company director. Most women are well versed in IT skills and are adept at using BT Packages to maintain their busy schedules but does this image translate onto the programs they watch? Not from what I have seen.
Whilst a number of storylines enter into the fantastical, there is the odd occasion where soap operas manage to convey a more accurate depiction of family life. No longer are we greeted with images of perfect family units where kids and well behaved, father earns the money and mother keeps the home. Instead there are single parent families, teenage pregnancies and rebellious children not to mention working mothers, stay-at-home dads and homes were both parents are breadwinners.
Whilst not all of these depictions may be as positive as we’d like them to be, the truth is they’re at least accurate (for some people) and this proves that TV programs are expanding to cover a range of demographics and social setups in their storylines.
Depending on the premise of the program, dramas are perhaps the main area of TV viewing where realistic family depictions are absent; at least for the modern day. The trick here is to remember that dramas are not necessarily meant to imitate real-life; at least not in the same way as soap operas.
By their nature, these shows dramatize situations for entertainment value and that makes them more fictional. You’ll still find a strong sense of history or truth, especially for period dramas which hark back to a time passed, but this is usually intensified for visual effect.
Ironically, it is perhaps reality TV which is now the most false representation of real life. Whereas once fly-on-the-wall documentaries and candid camera footage gave us an insight into real families and real situations, nowadays you’re more like to find this sort of depiction in your average soap. Reality TV shows have been corrupted to make them more entertaining and this undermined the original purpose of the shows.
What are your thoughts? Tell us in the comments!