|The "Family Friendly" of Today|
(by Chris Long)
As anyone who (like me) was a child in the 80's and early 90's can tell you, we had some awesome T.V. shows back then. That was when "family friendly" sitcoms still ruled the day. One of the most "family friendly" of them all was a show called "Full House", which developed a reputation (even then) for being overly sappy since there there was most always a "sweet moment" at the end (complete with string/violin music) where the issue portrayed in the episode got fully resolved and there was invariably a tender hug between family members. It always ended on a happy note. The ultra-popular show ran from 1987 to 1995.
Flash forward 21 years to 2016. A lot has changed in our culture - as evidenced, among lots of other things, by our media choices today. The TV landscape started drastically changing in the early 90's with boundary-pushing shows (at the time) like Married With Children and Roseanne and has continued to what we now see today where largely anything goes.
Things have changed so much that sometimes what even passes for "family friendly" today is a far cry from what we used to call "family friendly".
Recently this became even more clear to me with a very poignant example.
For those that don't know, there is a new show called "Fuller House", which is available on Netflix. It stars all the same people from the original Full House (minus the Olsen twins). It's almost a complete re-doing of the premise of the original Full House - including using the same house and sets and theme song, except this time it is the girls from the original show (DJ, Stephanie, and Kimmie) that are the grown-ups and DJ is the one with the kids.
The new show is still billed as a family-friendly show and shows under the "Kids" section of Netflix. Basically it was planned to try to be very similar to the original Full House. Except, it's not.
From a sociological standpoint, it is fascinating to examine "Full House 2016" with the "Full House 80's & 90's".
Not that I was ever a HUGE fan of the original (though like most people my age that grew up with it, I liked it well enough), but for largely nostalgic reasons, I thought I'd check out the new "Fuller House" show. I have watched 6 of the 13 available episodes of Season 1, and I'm afraid that's probably where I will be stopping. The show had so much promise. It could have just kept the same formula of the original and updated with modern settings and been a winner for families. They did that, but they also introduced an "edge" that wasn't there in the original.
In the six episodes I have watched, not ONE of them has gone by without having sexual jokes and references. Whether it's the bluntly obvious cleavage of Stephanie in the first episode, several lesbian references, a rather awkward masturbation joke (where Stephanie turns an innocent comment by the 13-year-old boy into something else entirely and shows us as the viewer that her mind in the show - and the writers of the show - are in the gutter), the girls going clubbing in skimpy clothes basically looking for hot guys to hook up with, a long mix-up scene where DJ is talking to a guy she thinks is a plumber (but he thinks is her blind date) where she says things that he interprets as her wanting to have sex with him in the bathroom (and it's very obvious - complete with the guy taking off his shirt to "get it on" with her), or the several other examples, this show ain't quite like the original.
And I guess that's to be expected. In our "pornified culture", this show - even supposedly a "kids family friendly" show - reflects that culture. In the original, I'm not saying it was always "squeaky clean" - there were occasionally some "undercurrents" in regards to sex, but I don't ever remember blatant "jokes" like there are in the new 2016 version. Granted, the jokes are often phrased in ways that the youngest of viewers won't get, but they are there - ready to cause those young viewers to ask questions like "Mommy/Daddy, what's a lesbian? What's a sister-wife? Why is that man taking off his clothes to 'clean DJ's pipes?'"?
Yep, this is "family friendly" 2016 style...
The incredible thing is that most of the reviews I've seen (both from critics and fans) talk about how this show is just as "family friendly" as the original. In fact, the critic's reviews of the show actually criticize the show for having too much fluff and not being edgy enough. But then, I guess to a culture that adores a movie like Deadpool - complete with it's extreme language, sex, and violence, and flocks to see "Fifty Shades of Grey" with its graphic perversions of sex, would indeed be inclined to see a show like this as "squeaky clean, family friendly" fare.
I realize this is just one little show and in the grand scheme of things, it's not a big deal. But what it represents IS a big deal. What it tells us about ourselves IS a big deal. Something has changed in the 21 years since the first Full House went off the air and the new version of 2016. And it's not something good.
Lord help us.
Times is gettin' crazy folks...
This article is Copyright by Chris Long 2016. You may use this article for free for any purpose, whether commercial or non-commercial, as long as you use the entire text and that all text, including this notice, is not modified or removed in any fashion. For any other usage, you must obtain written permission from the author.
This is version 1.0 of this document (March 1, 2016).