Are the Days of Family Friendly Television Over?

Last night, I was laying in bed chatting with my husband when the topic of television came up.

I grew up in a family that loved television.

Although I watch very little television nowadays in comparison, I still do love a good TV show at the end of the day.

I was born in the early 80’s, so my fondest childhood television memories involve TGIF.

Full House

Family Matters

Step by Step

Boy Meets World

Of course we also had:

Doogie Howser

Who’s the Boss?

Facts of Life

Saved by the Bell

Fresh Prince of Bel Air

What did all of these shows have in common? They could easily be enjoyed by the whole family. 

An innocent night of TV was so much easier to come by.

Some of my greatest memories involve laughing along with America’s Funniest Home Videos or trying to beat my parents (and the contestants on screen) at a game of Jeopardy.

Now what do we have? 

Sure, thanks to Netflix and other video rental services we can still watch theses shows, but they aren’t really timely for our kids.

Our kids will pick up on the weird clothes and the weird hair and wonder why we can’t watch something more “current” and “hip”.

I’m not complaining about a lack of children’s programming.

There is an overabundance of kid and “tween” programming available!

I’m also not complaining about the lack of good shows in general. There are some fairly decent dramas and comedies currently to be found on cable and network television.

There’s just not much middle ground though. 

Not many shows that appeal to both older and younger generations. Even the shows that claim to be family shows are either a bit too dull for adults or a bit too racy for kids.

Where did the family shows go? 

Now don’t get me wrong. Less TV is not a bad thing!

However, I think there were some valuable lessons in watching those slice of life shows together as a family growing up.

They opened up the doors to some great conversations that might not have come up naturally until it was too late.

I pretty much grew up with the girls on Full House, and the character of Stephanie went through so many of the same things I went through.

I guess what I’m saying is that I just want to have that bit of tradition, that ritual of watching a few shows a week as a family, continue on in my own family now. 

I see the value in it, but I’m wondering if I’m alone in my thinking?

If you have any shows that your family loves to watch, leave them in the comments. 

Because other than Wipeout…(which our kids think is HILARIOUS), we’re at a loss!



  1. Katie R says

    I totally agree. I always looked forward to TGIF!!

    I can still find America’s Funniest Home Videos on re-run every now and then and it’s always entertaining (why is watching someone fall or get hit in the groin so funny!?). Honestly, I don’t know much about TV shows for school aged kids. Mine still like the PBS shows and that’s fine by me! :)

    • says

      Can you believe the hottest day on television used to be a Friday? LOL

      That still baffles me a bit.

      Yeah, I got to an age where America’s Funniest Home Videos started to bug me. As an adult now, I understand that those people willingly sent those videos in so it’s started to become funny to me again!

      My kids are still all about kids programming as well, and I’m just fine with that too (I’ll admit to enjoying Phineas and Ferb a bit too much). I just know one day they’ll grow out of Mickey and I hate that the next step is Secrets of an American Teenager where every other word is s-e-x!

  2. Mary Ann says

    Honestly, I think we are in the worst tv show slump ever… what happened to the decent 30 minute sitcoms?
    everything is an hour long and if you miss one episode you miss so much.

    There are few shows that deal with the family unit and issues of growing up and parenting, etc.

    I’m with you… bring back “The Cosby Show”!

    • says

      Yes! I think that reality was the killer of the sitcom to be honest.

      Reality TV killed it all.


      I will say that I think Modern Family is not so bad. It touches on some grown up issues, but does so in a very subtle manner. That said, my kids are still a long ways off from watching that show. I do think it’s a good “feel good” show though.

      I think people in general are just overstimulated. When you watch Full House, Saved by the Bell, Cosby Show, etc it just seems TOO pure and TOO wholesome. Which is really sad.

  3. Kelley says

    I agree. Those shows that you mentioned were great for the whole family. And I don’t think their is much the entire family can enjoy on TV these days. But, one show that my family likes to watch is Good Luck, Charlie on Disney Channel. Yes, Disney Channel is for kids. But if you ever watched the show, you would see that it’s really good enough to put on a network like ABC and kind of reminds me of something like Family Ties or Growing Pains.

  4. says

    My fiance and I watch a few shows with his parents. We watch Blue Bloods, The Closer, Grimm, Mentalist.. a lot! It’s a fun way we can all be together. His mom pops popcorn, we get all cozy, have drinks, it’s fun!

  5. Jackie T. says

    I’m a 60’s kid so I really remember the family friendly shows. Nowadays there’s not many shows out there that kids can watch. I do love TVLand. They have a lot of good shows. Also, the variety shows are gone like the Carol Burnett show, Laugh-In, The Dean Martin show, etc. I remember watching these shows with my family.

  6. says

    Yesss I miss family friendly TV! We were actually discussing this the other night, I remember having TGIF on Friday nights with some great family shows like Family Matters and The Dinosaurs (awesome show) and now it’s rare to find any show the whole family can enjoy together.

  7. says

    I think it comes & goes in waves. For the past several years, I watched almost no TV, because I just thought it was all crap. Now I’m back to enjoying it again thanks to Storage Wars, The Middle and Modern Family, all of which I watch with my kids.

    I loved Different Strokes and Facts of Life, plus Family Ties, Cosby Show and even in the 70s I watched Happy Days and LaVerne & Shirley. But I don’t really miss them. Family Ties, maybe.

    • says

      They really have. Honestly we just watch a lot of Disney movies and kid shows (on their level). Not as enjoyable for us as something that the whole family relates to, but it’s still good quality time!

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