When I was watching The Big Bang Theory yesterday, I noticed that it is similar to The Mary Tyler Show, because they both represent a friend group setting rather than that of a family, which was previously shown on television sitcoms.
As we read in our text a couple of weeks ago, “biological family no longer offered the security of 1950s sitcoms because, for many prized boomer viewers, family is not a stable institution.” Because this sharp change in sitcoms has not returned to its original form of familial settings, it makes me wonder whether or not the lack of family-homes and stability still survives today.
In The Big Bang Theory, the audience never even meets any of the family members of the main characters really mention their outside relations either. Like Mary Tyler in The Mary Tyler Show, the characters of Leonard, Sheldon, Raj, and Howard all met one another at their jobs and created friendships from a work setting.
Living together is one of the biggest aspects of being family with someone. As Mary Richards’s created her new “family” with her coworkers to replace her biological family by spending copious amounts of time with their company, Leonard and Sheldon began living with one another after meeting at their occupations.
Before the 1950s, most scenes in sitcoms were set in the household rather than apartments like in Friends or bars like in Cheers. This is due to the increasing rate of young adults moving away from their families and into locations with friends in replacement of their families. There were no longer nuclear families but instead diverse variations of families. I think this variation of different types of families still lives today as young people leave home after school to make a life for themselves.
This connection between The Big Bang Theory and The Mary Tyler Moore Show made me notice that the concept of a family as being a group of friends still exists in sitcoms today. So what exactly does it mean to be a family in 2017? These sitcoms, as well as many more, indicate that a family is a group of people that spend extensive time together, no matter their biological relationship.
By Emma Cooley