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How families have been portrayed in the American media has varied over time. In earlier years it would have been a very traditional view – a married couple and their children , the wife either a stay at home mom or else only working part time and taking the majority of the responsibility for looking after the home and family. The two shows portraying families that I have chosen to consider are ‘Cagney and Lacey’ and ‘Frasier’. Cagney and Lacey. In this show Mary Beth and her husband can be seen as fitting, at least in part, into the Evolutionary psychology perspective.

They are a married couple with children. Despite the fact that she is a detective who works awkward hours and has pressure put on her at work to put job before family Mary Beth is essentially an ‘earth mother’ type and is racked with guilt when she finds herself unable to fulfill the role that she feels should be hers, even though her husband can carry it out. Frasier This show portrays a non-traditional family in that Frasier, a divorced father, lives with his elderly father and his father’s housekeeper/therapist.


The family is portrayed from a Symbolic interactionist perspective in that Frasier, being a psychologist, not only reacts to others in his family and extended family and friends, but constantly interprets his own and their reactions and this then in turn affects the way the various members interact. Portrayal of various types of family There is an unevenness in the portrayal of family life on the American media. The majority of the families portrayed are in the upper or middle income bracket e. g the Cosby show. Often men are seen as successful in their business life, but less successful at home in various ways.

The single mother coping with a large family is all but non-existent and modern relationship types such as those between people of the same sex are treated as a joke. The media do not fully reflect American society, but perhaps supply what American audiences want. References Cagney and Lacey, 2007, The Rosenzweig Company, retrieved 20th August 2008 from http://www. cagneyandlacey. com/index. aspx Frasier, 2008, CNET Networks, Inc, a CBS Company. Retrieved 20th August 2008 from http://www. tv. com/frasier/show/70/episode. html

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