Reality 101: An American Family


If you’re unfamiliar with AN AMERICAN FAMILY, the landmark PBS series that set the stage for modern reality television in 1973, take a peek via the link below at pbs.org. The wandering scenework takes it time, and filmmaker Craig Gilbert’s narration would have been replaced today by guided cast interviews setting up scenes, making it a genuine curiosity compared to today’s content.

Watch Revisit the Loud Family on PBS. See more from An American Family.

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One thought on “Reality 101: An American Family

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  1. I wonder how much damage the show did to the family. I wonder if the producers, directors, etc. wanted to do damage to the family. I wonder if they picked that family because they saw it on the verge of collapse. Look at the title page. The word “Family” is shattered like a pane of glass hit by a hammer. In psychology, it is called “leading the patient”. Such a phrase is almost always used in a negative way as leading the patient down the wrong road, thought process, conclusions, actions, etc. A psychotherapist can actually very easily get their patients to commit suicide, run away from home, divorce, quiting one’s job, etc. Psychotherapists receive training to prevent this from happening. To be a force for good in a patient’s life and not bad. But doesn’t reality TV like “An American Family” not only seek such destruction, but encourage it? It makes for “better” TV. Drama is about conflict and change. Most families are rather dull. So what made the producers pick that particular family? I cannot believe they picked a name out of a hat. A 20-year marriage falls apart in only four months and the show’s cameras just so happen to be there to witness it? A son coming out of a closet during that same small time period. It is just too much of a coincidence and that makes me wonder how it came about. Again, were they picked because the producers saw the family as already on the edge of destruction … or push it over the edge … or push it to and over the edge?

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