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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Fosters is the Best Family Show. Bar. None.

When I first heard about The Fosters, I was happy, but not ecstatic. I thought it was great that a show with the premise of two moms raising a family with a mix of biological, adopted, and foster kids was going to be aired on ABC Family (their slogan, "A New Kind of Family", has never been more accurate), but I didn't feel like it was something I would enjoy watching all that much. I had (and still have) a list of shows to watch a mile long, and The Fosters was not very high on that list. I didn't even start watching it when it first came out.

Then, the internet implored me to watch the thing. Since the internet has very rarely done me wrong in the TV department, I watched the thing.

I fell in love with the thing.

All of them are pretty because this is ABC Family we're talking about.
The Fosters is basically the super intersectional and modern version of The Brady Bunch. I did not know that was a thing I needed until I needed it.

There are all kinds of family value shows a la The Brady Bunch out there, and while I've enjoyed them, I've always felt a kind of distance from them. I believe the main reason for this is that the heteronormative ideal of "mom, dad, and 2.5 kids" is never going to be a thing for me. I like ladies, so the dad thing is out, and any kids that I may or may not have in the future will almost certainly be adopted because of 1) biology, and 2) my desire to never have a parasite in my uterus, despite how child-like it would become after its expulsion.

Of course, not all of these shows follow that model. In fact, a lot of them are built off of being a slight deviation of that model. But none of those deviations until now could ever be applied to me. I mean, I love the Tanner's, but I will never be the Tanner's. You got it, dude?

Unlike family shows of the past, the Fosters are a family that could very well be quite similar to a family I could have in the future. I've never been one to really think about what my future family might be like, and I do think part of that is because I haven't seen all that many familial examples that are even possibilities for me. And then The Fosters was created, and it was good. So, so good.

Accurate depiction of me talking about this show.
The Fosters does not just stop with doing an A+ job at depicting a family model not yet seen on the silver screen. Like the family shows before it, it also has ISSUES. But, these issues are issues that are not frequently discussed on TV or at all (which is an issue in and of itself). In the past seven episodes, the issues discussed have included the differences in experience between people of a single race and mixed race, parental involvement in a child's decision to use the morning-after pill, flaws in the foster care system, adopted children being just as much a part of the family as biological children, and those are not even the tip of the iceberg.

If that sounds a little too issue-packed to you, you may be right. This show, like all shows, isn't everyone's cup of tea. If your fear is that the fact that there are so many issues makes it Glee, I can assure you that it is far from it. All of the issues on this show, while not necessarily handled with subtlety, are handled with care. The writers know what they're doing, and this show really is a great platform to begin societal discussion of these previously seldom talked about issues.

Lastly, like all other great shows before it, The Fosters brings the feels. All the feels, all the time.

Non-spoilery example: Here is the theme song for The Fosters. Do you know how many times it took me to watch it and not tear up? Seven. Seven times.

There are only two more episodes left of the first season of the Fosters, and it has yet to be renewed for a second season. If it gets cancelled, I'm anticipating reaching Bomb Girls cancellation levels of upset. I need this show. You need this show. Everyone and their dog needs this show. So watch it on Hulu so it can get the ratings it needs to be renewed. And enjoy this crappy thank you drawing afterwards.

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