Non-Traditional TV Families In GIFs

A generation ago, the average, traditional family was composed of a father, mother, and at least two children. Divorce rates were low, kids moved out in their early 20s to form their own families, same-sex couples had no hope of raising their own children, and surrogacy was something out of a science-fiction novel. Today, all of that has changed, leading us to contemplate what exactly is a traditional family. So we’ve compiled a list of 17 non-traditional families on television, past, present and future. If you want to explore more about new family structures, read our New Social Systems Deep Dive Report:

1. The Brady Bunch (1969 – 1974)

Though one of the most classic TV families ever, the Bradys were formed through the union of two divorcees, forcing each parent’s children to interact as brothers and sisters.

2. Who’s The Boss? (1984 - 1992)

Tony Micelli, a retired baseball player, becomes the housekeeper for Angela Bower, a successful NY advertising executive. Together they raise their kids with help from Angela’s man-crazy mother.

3. Full House (1987 – 1995)

This sitcom’s non-traditional family was comprised of a man, Danny Tanner, raising his three daughters in a house he shared with two adult male friends.

4. Gilmore Girls (2000 – 2007)

A drama centered on the relationship between a thirty-something single mother and her teen daughter living in Stars Hollow, Connecticut.

5. The O.C. (2003 – 2007)

The series centered on Ryan Atwood, a troubled youth from a broken home, who is adopted by a wealthy and philanthropic couple. Ryan and his surrogate brother Seth deal with life as outsiders in the high-class world of Newport Beach.

6. Two and a Half Men (2003 – present)

A comedy about a man moving into his brother’s home with his young son following a divorce.

7. The Suite Life of Zack & Cody (2005 – 2008)

A Disney comedy about identical twins living at the Tipton Hotel with their single mother, the hotel’s lounge singer.

8. Big Love (2006 – 2011)

This show is about a fictional fundamentalist Mormon family in Utah. It focuses on Bill Henrickson, a practicing polygamist, and his relationship with his three wives.

9. Ugly Betty (2006 – 2010)

A dramedy about a career-minded young woman who lives with her single dad, single sister and nephew in a close knit home in Brooklyn.

10. Hannah Montana (2006 – 2011)

Singer and actress Miley Cyrus stars as Hannah Montana, a typical California junior high school student by day and a pop teen sensation by night. Her father has raised Miley and her brother, Jackson, alone since the death of their mother. Both children have a close and supportive relationship with their father, who handles their teenage angst with a mixture of humor and country charm.

11. 90210 (2008 – present)

In this reinvention of a ‘90s classic, a traditional family comprised of a mom, dad and their daughter is shaken up when they adopt a black child, Dixon, and move to Beverly Hills. Dixon’s girlfriend, Silver, was raised by her sister (Kelly) because her mother was an alcoholic. Kelly also had a child of her own with an absentee father (Dylan). As a result, Kelly was raising two kids.

12. Cougar Town (2009 – present)

Courtney Cox is a single mom to a college-aged son and a recently divorced bachelorette who decides to find some excitement in her dating life.

13. Modern Family (2009-present)

This mockumentary revolves around three inter-related families whose patriarch, Jay Pritchett (played by Ed O’Neill), is remarried to a much younger Colombian woman with a precocious son. Jay’s daughter has a husband and three children, while his son and life partner have adopted a Vietnamese baby. This blended family has it all: stepchildren, adopted children, second marriages between characters from different generations, and a gay couple.

14. Ben and Kate (2012 – present)

This new network comedy follows a pair of odd-couple siblings and their friends as they push each other out of their comfort zones and into real life. What happens when an optimistic dreamer moves in with his overly responsible little sister to help raise her five-year-old daughter? It’s not a stepfamily, but it is representative of the alternative family dynamic gaining prevalence in today’s culture.

15. The New Normal (2012 – present)

This sitcom follows the life of a gay couple who decides to start a family using a surrogate, a single mom looking to turn her life around.

16. Guys with Kids (2012 – present)

Three men, one of whom is divorced, try to “hold on to their youth, while holding onto their new babies’ hands.”

17. “The Fosters” (Air date TBD)

ABC Family recently ordered this comedy-drama pilot about two lesbians raising a “21st century,” multi-ethnic mix of foster and biological kids. Jennifer Lopez has been named the Executive Producer.

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