“I will push back”: Thoughts on Those Who Fight Against Non-Discrimination Policies

As we all know, recently there has been an uptick in the debate on LGBTQ rights and federal and state non-discrimination legislation and policies.

The arguments for adding LGBTQ into non-discrimination legislation and policies are basically:

FOR non-discrimination legislation and policies: It allows for equal protections for LGBTQ identified individuals.

AGAINST non-discrimination legislation and policies: It infringes on expression and practice of faith-based and religious values and principles.

One side wants to ensure that services and opportunities are not taken away because of one’s sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender identity or gender expression.

The other side wants to ensure that members of their community are not forced to provide services or support to those who they believe are not inline with their values and principles.

Both are legitimate communities of our society and both have valid basic positions. Both are doing what they believe is best for their communities. But they’re ideal situation clashes with the other.

Now I have no answer to this dilemma. I can see both sides. But I am also on the receiving end of one of these sides, and am strongly biased.

So, my biased and increasingly more frustrated view on those fighting against non-discrimination legislation and policies is this:

If you deny me services because your faith and religion teaches you that my identity is sinful, I could deny you services because my faith and beliefs teach me to believe that intolerance begets intolerance. 

If you dehumanize me because of who I love, I could dehumanize you for your outdated inhumane beliefs.

If you treat me as though I am broken and need to be fixed, I could treat you as though you are delusional and thusly need to be fixed.

If you rally against me because you believe in an ancient man-written document over the physical being who I am in front of you, I could rally against you for being naive and unrealistic.  

If you treat me differently because I am gay, I could treat you as a bigot. 

Now, even though I could do all this, I work each day to do my best not to. I see you, the human being, on the other side. I try to put into practice those values and beliefs that you say you abide by.

I love the line from Michelle Obama’s speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention:

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Honestly, the blind faith and hate is what actually makes me feel sorry and have compassion for those individuals who truly believe in gay conversation therapy, who blindly and ignorantly follow texts that are centuries old and irrelevant, who believe that there is something wrong with those who are different, who use hate and fear of others as a weapon to create a world of ignorance and intolerance and who are afraid of what they do not know or understand.

However, over the last few weeks within conversations over race, privilege, rights, etc, I’ve learned that there is only a limit to which I can be tolerant to those who are coming at me hard. I’m learning that there is a point that I have to step into the fight and push back even if I am biased towards my community. The community’s survival depends on it.

I acknowledge that there is a large community of faith-based and religious individuals who whole heartedly believe in equality but as we are learning, we answer and are responsible for our communities we are a part of. I look to those who do understand for the need of such protections to not only support the community but to challenge their fellow faith-based and religious friends and family who believe that there is no need for such protections.

Now, while both sides have stakes in this battle, for the LGBTQ community, it means life or death.

So, let it be known that even if I feel sorry for you I won’t dehumanize you or treat you as a lesser person, however: If you push against me because of who I am, I will push back. 

Until next time!

Peace, Love and Pandas!

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The Paradox of Tolerance

I was speaking with my dad about my wedding and what he wanted his role in it to be, or not to be as it turned out. (He stated he would rather just sit in the back and experience the wedding. Kinda like with a baseball game or concert apparently…). Well, after going back and forth briefly on that, our conversation turned to my mom who is, as you probably know from previous posts, not accepting at all of my life and my fiance.

I asked him whether or not she would come and if I should even invite her and I laid out my reasons, which were both emotional and logical. He highly suggested I still invite her because otherwise, if she did decide to attend even though she doesn’t support it, it would be a slap in the face if I didn’t invite her. That we may not know until the day of the wedding if she’ll be there but to let her come to that conclusion on her own.

Well throughout this conversation, it was pointed out to me that I was not being understanding of her views and experiences and that forcing her to make a decision on whether to support me or not wasn’t very tolerant. That any struggles were not necessarily between me and her but rather with me and not being open to her experiences and why she does not support me.

That stopped me in my tracks.

I was being called to the mat for not being open, understanding and tolerant of my mom’s intolerance of me.

The day went down hill from there. I couldn’t focus. I was a bit of a hot mess emotionally.

The next day, I was talking with Michael and our friend Jaime about it and Michael pointed out a concept he learned in undergrad called “The Paradox of Tolerance” which was defined by philosopher Karl Popper in 1945. Michael noticed that, that was what my dad had thrown at me.

The short and sweet of it is that refusing to tolerate intolerance is itself intolerance.

My initial reaction was:

Hermione.gif

But now I’m more like:

Chloe.gif

Now, I have no answers to any of this but as usual, needed to write it out to help me process it all. But let me tell you that I’ve got lots of questions swimming in my head right now such as:

-Am I actually an intolerant person?

-Is it wrong to be intolerant of an intolerant person?

-At what point do I become intolerant in my work to be tolerant?

-What would my wedding be like with my family or without them?

-Will Michael and I be comfortable with having people who do not believe in our lives or happiness at our wedding?

-What’s more important: intolerant family at our wedding or not having to deal with that on our Special Day?

-Do I example this paradox in my professional work and am intolerant to others due to their intolerance thus making me intolerant of them?

Though while I have many questions whirling around, maybe this will be a moment of learning in which I finally draw a line with the level of  influence some have over me in my life and limit or close those relationships. Perhaps it’ll help me better understand some of the work that is being done in my professional field. And perhaps it’ll help me better understand and advise my students and even colleagues. Only time knows.

So this is what I’ve been musing over in my head and for the time being, can’t stop thinking about it. Maybe in the future I’ll have some answers but for now just musings and contemplations.

Thanks for reading through my musing and maybe it’ll help you work through some stuff too. 🙂

Until next time,

Peace, Love and Pandas!

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2017 P.A.N.D.A. Awards!

Can you believe it? It’s time for the 3rd Annual P.A.N.D.A. Awards! AND new for the 3rd Annual P.A.N.D.A.s, I will be giving shout outs to those beyond the Twitter-verse!

For those of you who are just joining me, think of this as the biggest Non-Follow Friday shout out ever!

Started in 2015 on the night of the Oscars, the P.A.N.D.A. Awards were created in a 10 minute time span to celebrate people who have engaged with me on my social media, and who I think you should get to know! These individuals span my social and professional circles from Student Affairs to Kappa Sigma Fraternity to peeps from college. In true Brian Form, naming them the P.A.N.D.A.s was a  requirement and therefore came up with the best acronym ever:

Positive And Niftily Delightful Associates

So keep reading to see the Awardees of the 3rd Annual P.A.N.D.A. Awards! (And I promise that I don’t announce wrong results)!

Congrats to all the Awardees!

And consider checking out and connecting with some of these amazing peeps!

Until next time,

Peace, Love and Pandas!!

References

Alex Lange
Sera Radovich
Roberta Radovich
Lisa Giles-Schubel
Clyde Barnett
Michael Ciesielski
Luke Dzwonkowski
Daniel Stohlin
Michael Benson
Wayne Glass
Mary Jo Sekelsky
Juhi Bhatt
Erik Haener
Heather Shea
Jason Meriwether
Matthew Pruitt
Jon Peer 
Thomas Peeler

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The Peace I Got With My Engagement

 

“Michael and I got engaged!”

Silence

“Hello?” 

Silence

Then:

“Why are you doing this? Was I a bad parent? What did I do wrong?”

**10 minutes of reassuring them they were a great parent**

“Do you not believe in the Bible any more?”

**10 minutes of theological debate over my soul and the difference in believing the teachings of the Bible vs the text of the Bible**

Then:

“How did you go from such a good Catholic boy to this?”

**5 minutes of telling them I am an amazing, caring, successful, strong and independent person, all because of them**

**Short good byes are said**

This conversation happens more often than it should to way too many people in the world.

I’ve had this conversation in several contexts over the years since I came out with one of my parents. But honestly I was hoping for some progress since last time, when I said I was moving in with Michael 4.5 years ago.

But this time something clicked in me. A sense of not necessarily resignation but a peace-like feeling. My parent was never going to change. They were not going to attend my wedding. They were not going to support my relationship, life or me as a person.

And I am ok with that.

The duration of the conversation was me coming into my own and taking on the parental role. It was me in the unconditional loving role. It was me who was reassuring my parent that they had not failed me. It was me, not only reassuring them but telling them about the amazing person I had become, even more so since coming out. It was me who took measures to ensure that my parent was safe and would not make any poor choices after the conversation. It was me who took the conversation to a higher level of context and love.

And it was midway through the conversation that I realized a key had been unlocked and that a weight that I physically felt lift off my shoulders.

I would be the one to always adore them for what they have done for me. I would be the one to always offer the olive branch. I would always be the one to unconditionally love them. And I would always be the one to never expect them to reciprocate those feelings. I was at peace with the relationship or lack thereof that I would forever have with my parent.

It was at that moment after the conversation that I knew I had grown into someone that I could be proud of and who my parent could be proud of if they knew the whole me.

It was at that moment that I was ok with the fact they thought I was Hell bound.

It was at that moment that I finally understood and embraced unconditional love.

It was at that moment I finally put at peace the battle that I’ve been fighting, for the majority of my life.

And because of that, going into this engagement and wedding (21 months and counting)and the rest of my life, I know that I am going to be fine. That I will be loved unconditionally by Michael. That I will be loved unconditionally by the family I’ve created. And that no matter what, I’ll always love my parent whether absent from my life or not for the rest of my years on this Earth.

ringsSo for those of you who have to have these conversations with loved ones more often than not, please keep this in mind:

We can’t choose who is disappointed in us, who doesn’t love us or who doesn’t approve of us. But we CAN choose to unconditionally love others and enter a consciousness of peace that can propel you to an even greater relationships with those who you do place around you.

Until next time,

Peace Love and Pandas!

 

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Desperate Housewives; Dutiful Househusbands: #TBT Chapter 5 & Conclusion

Chapter Five

The Subversion of the “Ideal Family” in Desperate Housewives

In 2004 a dramatic situation comedy, also referred to as the sitcom, hit the American television screens with such magnitude, the show rocketed to number one almost immediately and quickly became a national and global phenomena. Comprised from a variety of family dynamics, numerous cultural and social issues and an array of varying human traits and characteristics, this sitcom created a familiarity of the family with which most of the American people could relate with. This sitcom taught the sociology of the family. This sitcom was entitled Desperate Housewives.

Desperate Housewives comprised itself of family dynamics which spanned across the years, beginning with the nuclear family concept through to the current, ever-changing, non-traditional family.

By using this sitcom, its unique and blatant imagery of the family, and using the previously mentioned contrasts and comparisons of the television family and real-life family, it is hoped that a conclusion will be formed on whether the image of the real-life American family influences the television family, or that the television family influences the image and dynamics of the real-life American family.

The conclusion will be reached by the use of each major character of Desperate Housewives, Bree Van de Kamp, Gabrielle Solis, Edie Britt, Susan Mayer, and finally Lynette Scavo. Each character and her family will accentuate a specific stage which has been identified in this paper, with a final result of one of the two anticipated conclusion options, previously mentioned.

bree

Courtesy of imdb.com

Bree Van de Kamp and her family lay the foundation for the sitcom by introducing the traditional “All-American” family. Composition of the Van de Kamp family specifically follows the definition of the nuclear family where “family group that consists only of father, mother, and children” and falls into the light of such great television families as the Anderson and Cleavers.

Bree Van de Kamp and her family hold the traditional roles. Bree is a hard working wife who’s main purpose in life is to perform household duties and support her family. Her husband is a business man who concentrates on the financial stability of the family. Andrew and Danielle are Bree’s children.

gabrielle

Courtesy of imdb.com

However, unlike the Cleaver boys, the Van de Kamp children are anything but loyal to the family. Andrew openly embarrases his mother with his life style choice, and Danielle shames her when the young daughter falls in love with a suspicious neighbor.

Gabrielle Solis and her husband Carlos bring the minority into the sitcom. They’re proud Latinos, who’s flair and grace for life accentuate the Latino heritage they possess. Gabrielle does not hold the traditional roles as the mother figure. Her concentration in life is fashion and socialization. Her husband is a work-a-holic who buys his wife’s happiness many times.

edie

Courtesy of imdb.com

Edie Britt is the conniving and most manipulative woman on Wisteria Lane. Her portrayal as a seductive enchantress who brings to light the dysfunctional family to the sitcom in honor of the Connors, Bundys, and Bunkers. Her relationships are off-beat and unconventional, while her motherly tendences are motivated by competition. Edie has one goal in life, to win the best. Whether it be men, money, or anything else, she must win.

susan

Courtesy of imdb.com

Susan Meyer follows with the single parent, non-traditional family. Supported by previous sitcoms such as Full House and Will and Grace, Susan attempts to uphold the motherly role as did June Cleaver, however while also balancing a job and a single parent love life. Her daughter Julie is a mature and responsible daughter, holding many of the traits valued by the daughters of the 1950s, including the Anderson girls of Father Knows Best. Susan’s ex-husband does play some role in the family, going to and from the house when he is between girlfriends.

lynett

Courtesy of imdb.com

Finally, we come to the current form of the family in Lynette Scavo. Lynette Scavo has a basically traditional family. A loving and hard working husband, and adoring children. However she also gives a home to a illegitimate child of her husband’s from another woman, bringing to light the extended family. Lynette is also a hard working woman of the new millennium who’s story line in the sitcom places an emphasis on the delicate balance a modern woman must make between the personal and professional lives. Lynette Scavo uses every ounce of intelligence she has to make the two worlds compatible. Including web-camming her children in the morning to wish them a good day at school, or starting a nursery at her advertising firm in order to feel safe and comfortable with working while caring for a new born.

Conclusion

fam|ly (fam′ə lē; often fam′lē) n., pl –lies [[ ME familie < L familia, household establishment, akin to famulus, servant <? IE *dhe–mo–house ( < base *dhē-:see do1) > Sans dhāman, household ]] 1 [Obs.] all the people living in the same house; household: see also extended family 2 a) a social unit consisting of parents and the children they rear (see also nuclear family) b) the children of the same parents c) one’s husband (or wife) and children (Webster).

By definition, the television sitcom family has up held the general concept of this ever changing social dynamic. Since it’s early form in television, by reflecting the whether brief or long term, nuclear family dynamic, to the extended, integrated families of today, representation of the family has evolve and will continue to evolve. Through the World Wars, Civil Rights Acts, Voting Rights, and Civil Union Laws, etc, television has helped to reflect the family on the television screen whether reflecting the social issues of the times, or the family values. The Cleavers and Andersons hold an ideal perception of the family, with clean lawns, orderly homes, and perfect relationships. Going through the racial transformations Sanford & Sons and The Crosby Show brought to the television screen in light of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Act, the dysfunctional loving parenting techniques that Archie Bunker, Al Bundy and Roseanne Connor provided, to the single extended family or non-related families of Full House, Friends, and Will & Grace, during radical social changes of marriage, divorce, and gay rights, television has reflected society. To the question posed earlier in this paper whether television sitcom influences societal views of family or if family influences television family societies, it may be concluded that there is no true way to distinguish with quantitative or even qualitative research the lucid and transforming nature of both the family and the television sitcom

The approach used to research this paper is a “new millennium way” of investigating the family and American society. Television has only been in the average American’s hand since the 1940s, when it was finally readily available and cost efficient. (Spigle). It has finally reached a point in its existence that patterns and themes, etc may be found. With such a short life span thus far, and it’s ever changing nature, due to new technologies, further research will be inevitable.

Works Cited and Consulted

Brooks, Tim, and Earle Marsh. The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows; 1946 – Present. 6th ed. New York: Ballantine Books, 1995

Butler, Jeremy G. Roseanne; U.S. Domestic Comedy. Ed. Horace Newcomb. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1997

Chao, Elaine L. and Kathleen P. Utgoff. Women in the Labor Force: A Databook. U.S. Department of Labor, May 2005, Report 985. 12 March 2007 <http://www.bls.gov/cps/wlf-databook-2005.pdf>.

Dean, Pamala S. Sanford And Son; U.S. Domestic Comedy. Ed. Horace Newcomb. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1997.

 Desperate Housewives. Buena Vista Home Entertainment and Touchstone Television, 2004. DVD

Friends. Warner Brothers Television, 1994. DVD.

 Generic Radio. 25 March 2006 <http://www.genericradio.com>.

Gunzerath, David. All In The Family; U.S. Situation Comedy. Ed. Horace Newcomb. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1997.

Hunt, Darnell M. The  Cosby Show; U.S. Situation Comedy. Ed. Horace Newcomb. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1997.

Huston, Aletha C., et al. Big World, Small Screen: The Role of Television in American Society. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992

Internet Media DataBase. 19 January 2006 <http://imdb.com>.

Kassel, Michael B. Father Knows Best; U.S. Domestic Comedy. Ed. Horace Newcomb. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1997.

Morley, David. Family Television: Cultural Power and the Domestic Leisure. London: Routledge, 1988. 15 March 2007 <http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=MtCzVaj6bUUC&oi=fnd&pg= PP9&dq=family+and+television+studies&ots=8ZSKQTjevZ&sig=wZHH5GzlyEPO2bmDKej9jqn-J1A#PPP1,M1>.

Neufeldt, Victoria. Editor in Chief. Webster’s New World College Dictionary. Editor Emeritus David B. Guralmik. 3rd ed. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1997.

Roberts, Sam. Who Americans Are and What They Do, in Census Data. New York Times. December 15, 2006, 23 February 2007 http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/15/us/15census.html?ex=132383 8800&en=0854d746f02031e3&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss>.

Orlick, Peter B. Leave It To Beaver; U.S. Situation Comedy. Ed. Horace Newcomb. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1997.

Ruggles, Steven. The Transformation of the American Family Structure. An American Historical Review, February 1994: 103-128. 7 April 2007 <http://www.hist.umn.edu/~ruggles/Articles/AH R.pdf.>.

Saluter, Arlene F. Marital Status and Living Arrangements: March 1994. Current Population Reports; Population Characteristics, 20 – 484. 15 April 2007 <http://www.census.gov/prod/1/pop/p20-484.pdf>.

Spigel, Lynn. Make Room For TV: Television and the Family Ideal in Postwar America. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1992.

Stuller-Giglione, Joan. Married…With Children; U.S. Situation Comedy. Ed. Horace Newcomb. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1997.

Tindall, George and David Shi. America: A Narrative History. 5th ed. Vol. 2. New York: W.W. Norton, 2000. 2 vols.

TVLand. 29 June 2006 <http://tvland/tvhome.html>.

U.S. Census Bureau. 15 January 2007 <http://www.census.gov>.

Wikipedia. 29 June 2006 <http://wikipedia.org>.

Wober, Mallory and Barrie Gunter. The Television and Social Control. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1988

Until next time,

Peace, Love and Pandas!

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“With Great Power There Must Also Come Great Responsibility”

There is so much going on it’s a bit overwhelming.

But I was perusing my Facebook this weekend and came across this video:

I found it quite interesting and significantly insightful.

Now before I go forward, I’ll disclose that I worked at abc12 in Flint, MI for 4 years during my undergrad days as a floor director and studio cameraman. So I do hold a bias in some ways that favors news reporters, however, here are my thoughts on all of this.


The Press

I do believe, regardless any bias on my part, that the news does need to be fair and that it is their responsibility they bear with freedom of the press. It is not their job to be friends with who they report on nor should it support or help any agenda regardless liberal or conservative leaning. News is suppose to put out the information the most honest, fair and best way they can and let the public decide. (However I do acknowledge that every outlet does lean one way or the other simply because they are human).

Meryl Streep put it beautifully in her Golden Globe speech a few weeks ago:

This brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage.That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our constitution.

~Meryl Streep, Golden Globes 2017

 

I was also extremely disappointed to hear Trump Advisor, Kellyanne Conway, suggest that the reporters should be fired. The news needs to be independent of the President. It is absolutely inappropriate for a President’s Team to call for the removal of reporters/anchors and for the Team to call out and demand the names of sources.


Topics

The other point in this whole exchange between Cooper and Conway was the complaint of the story topics that were being covered by the press.

I think Trump has earned these pre-inauguration stories about him; just like Obama earned his pre-inauguration stories about him 4 and 8 years ago. The reason why the stories are so different is not because news outlet are biased against Trump or for Obama but rather the rhetoric, responsibility, respect and accountability each once President-Elect has used and approached the Presidency with.

First, let me share a line from this exchange that really got me thinking on this post was said at about 24:30. “With freedom comes great responsibility.” 

However, let me use the original version of the phrase quoted above: “With great power there must also come great responsibility”

Of course Trump’s news is not about the dresses and the parties and the celebrations. In my opinion he has not acted with a sense responsibility that comes with the Power of the Presidency. The actions and inactions and words of President-Elect Trump and his Team have taken precedence (and rightly so) over the frivolity of the Inauguration Celebrations because of this lack of responsibility and the stories have reflected justifiably so.


Finally, a small side thought, way to rip and alter a phrase from Spider-Man who I feel embodies the struggle that a President must endure and hopefully conquer in terms of the inner battle of what it means in undertaking the power and responsibility of something greater than one’s self.

Just a few thoughts from over the weekend.

Until next time,

Peace, Love and Pandas!

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Desperate Housewives; Dutiful Househusbands: #TBT Chapter 4

Chapter Four

The 1990s and the new millenium

 II. THE NON-TRADITIONAL FAMILY AND THE EXTENDED FAMILY

ful-house

Courtesy of imdb.com

Full House     

Just prior to Roseanne coming onto the scene, Full House (1987-1995) hit prime time Fridays, and introduced a very loose definition of extended family members as major characters (Internet). This evolution of the sitcom family, paralleling the growing extended American family, may have played a part in the show’s instant success, which quickly climbed to being a number 1 television market leader. The show focused on the Tanner family. Family being used loosely, due to it being comprised of both blood and non-blood related individuals, who resided under the same roof. It not only emphasized the non-nuclear and extended family, but also a further distortion of gender roles of the traditional 1950s family, such as the home versus professional obligations. Full House also continued the single-parent/ single-family concept which Jackie, from Roseanne, had begun to entangle and bring to light within the television sitcom.

Danny Tanner, portrayed by comedian Bob Saget, was the head of the Tanner household (Brooks 381). A single father, who’s wife had passed away suddenly, Danny had been thrust into single parenthood, which was becoming a popular rising phenomenon in American culture at the time (U.S. Census). Though this sitcom emphasized single-parenting, the nuclear family had been present prior to the death of the mother, this being noted in frequent dialogue between all cast members (Internet). As the single father of the home, he inherited both the responsibilities of the mother and father. Originally employed as a sportscaster and later promoted to morning news anchor, Danny was the chief finance supplier for the family. Additionally, Danny Tanner, both out of constraint and part personality, embraced the duties which had been set by the wives of the 1950s. His particular specialties were cleaning, cooking, and maintaining a proper and organized home. It was a rare occasion to find an episode without Danny Tanner reorganizing an already organize room, dusting the shelves, or emphasizing the importance of cleanliness to his daughters.

Rather than inviting a feminine influence to help him, not only with the “wifely” duties he had inherited, but to aid him with his three daughters, Danny invited his brother-in-law, Jesse Katsopolis, more commonly known as ‘Uncle Jesse’, portrayed by John Stamos, and Joey Gladstone, a close friend of Danny’s, portrayed by Dave Coulier (Brooks 381). Danny’s intention for inviting his brother–in-law and friend to live with his family was to help Danny with the girls. However, the objective wasn’t necessarily met to the expected standards. More often than not, the episodes revolved around the two “father figures” as the source of many of the comical problems. Problems included employment, relationships, and accidentally misguiding the Tanner girls by unknowingly giving them poor advice or help. This though still created a loving and strong family environment for the American audience to enjoy.

Jesse Katsopolis and Joey Gladstone were employed as well, both sharing the traditional male/husband roles. With one a musician and the other an actor, financial support was infrequent at times, shifting much of their support in the “wifely” duties arena. Both attempted to share in the motherly tasks which were needed around the home. Some of these tasks included the “talks” with the girls which fortunately for the audience, but unfortunately for the daughters, many times resulted in loving yet awkward situations.

Unlike Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver, Full House took the viewer to not only the location of the home, but frequently included the television station which Danny was employed at, the schools and day care centers which centered around the children of the show, the miscellaneous employment locations of Uncle Jesse and Joey, as well as the random parks and other fun places Danny and the other adults took the children to.

Also unlike the 1950s sitcom the show was taken out of the small, all white neighborhoods context and was placed in San Francisco, a city of many ethnicities and numerous cultures. Many friends of both the adults and the children were frequently minorities, including co-workers of Becky and Danny and Michelle’s best friend, Teddy.

The daughters, D.J., Stephanie, and Michelle were the heart of the show. Actresses Candace Cameron Bure, Jodie Sweetin, Mary Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen portrayed the daughters for the entire duration of the show. The topics which the girls brought before the comical and unprecedented set of parental units, had evolved to coincide with the times. These topic included guns, drugs and teen sex. Often times the single father parenting came to light as the girls dealt with these topics. One memorable quote for Danny Tanner to his daughters was “HEY. I don’t yell, I guide” (Internet).  These three girls had little to no feminine influence, until Becky Donaldson, Danny’s morning co-host, began dating Jesse. Their dating eventually led to the couple’s marriage. Once married, the couple did not move out of the Tanner household. Rather they reconstructed the attic into a small apartment, where they lived and eventually raised their family. With being the only woman of the household, Becky began shifting the total male influence of the show to a more feminine atmosphere for the girls as they grew and entered the adolescent stage of their lives. Not only having close relationships with the three Tanner girls, but Jessie and Becky continued the close relationship with their own children. Separating the Katsopolis family from the Tanner family became the first sense of a traditional nuclear family in comparison to the families of the 1950s. However, this small nuclear family was only a segment of the larger extended, non-traditional family of the Tanner household.

Full House began a popular trend of showing single parent families and the struggles that came with the position, thus aiding the issuance of the “Era of Friends”.

friends

Courtesy of imdb.com

Friends

The renowned sitcom, Friends (1994-2004), was a break through for popular television (Brooks 377). The show was comprised of six adults, all close friends, who completely broke the traditional concept of the television family. Compared to the families of Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver, only two of these friends were blood related. The remaining friends were a compilation of friends and roommates who slowly became a clique of close best friends. Though very little blood relation, and all being close in age, they seemed to have adapted the traditional roles of the traditional family.

At this time, the mid-1990s, divorce, marriage and lifestyles were redefining themselves. Compared to the 1970s, 10% fewer individuals would marry. In 1994, only 61% of the population would be married. Of the remaining 39% unmarried individuals, 9% were divorced, unlike the 3% divorced in 1970, only 7% would be widowed, improving from the 9% in 1970, and 23% of individuals would never marry, compared to the 1970s, where at that time, 23% of individuals would never marry. In addition, the average age of those individuals marrying had increased from 21.3 years old to 25.6 years old (Census). With marriage under such scrutiny and “reform”, the relation it created with the American people was to be expected. By joining a group of friends and creating a family role for each of them, Friends began tackling the social issues and stereotypes of America.

Chandler Bing, portrayed by Matthew Perry, had a tendency to inherit the father figure of the show (Brooks 378). He was often times the calmer friend of the group, and more responsible of the men within the sitcom. He was also the individual with the steadiest income, though it was a frequent joke about his employment as an executive, specializing in statistical analysis and data reconfiguration, a job which none of the friends understood. Later he did chance his employment and moved to advertising and public relations, continuing the more popular idea of changing careers later in life.

Monica Geller Bing, portrayed by Courtney Cox Arquette, was the palpable mother of the sitcom (Brooks 378). She was also employed, and over the sitcom’s ten seasons held positions in several restaurants as a waitress or chef. However she more than welcomed the responsibilities of the traditional mother in addition to her job. Cleaning, cooking and organizing were her passions in life. Even after marriage, the “wifely” duties and responsibilities took precedence over the relationship many times. In the series finale of the sitcom, Monica cries over how well she led the transformation of her friends into clean and organized people, who would never place a glass on a table without a coaster.

Joey Tribbiani, portrayed by Matt LeBlanc, easily undertook the role of the child (Brooks 378). Though living in his own apartment, he relied on Monica’s refrigerator for food and often times her couch for comfort. He was slow in learning and catching onto anything, as in the time when he attempted to learn French. The end result was the character being utterly confused and suggested as mentally incapable. In addition to being a slow learner, Joey Tribbiani often times found himself in trouble, such as the Thanksgiving in which he unwittingly got his head stuck inside the turkey, Monica was saving for dinner later that day. His choice of employment was acting, making his forgetfulness and often lazy attitude contradict the necessary attributes he needed to actively pursue his career.

Rachel Green, portrayed by the popular Jennifer Aniston, also assumed the role of the child (Brooks 378). Her “adult-childhood” however was different than Joey Tribbiani’s. Rachel Green moved out of her wealthy parents’ home and financial stability in the pilot episode of the sitcom, after leaving her fiancé at the alter. She had no concept of responsibility and accountability, with her only marketable skill being shopping at Bloomingdales. Over the course of the following ten years, Rachel would grow and learn to live on her own, retain a job, and eventually raise a child. By the end of the series, Rachel Green had jobs offers from the top clothing retailers in the world, which led the plot of the series finale and her moving to France.

Ross Gellar, portrayed by David Schwimmer, and Phoebe Buffay, portrayed by Lisa Kudrow, assumed the roles of the extended family members (Brooks 378). Financially stable and responsible, both individuals lived by themselves as well as lead distinctively separate lives in addition to the lives of the “core” family members. Many times situations and events in the lives of these two were stories and tales the two individuals relayed to the rest of the “family”, rather than experiencing the actual events in the sitcom. Nevertheless, these two characters continued to carry a sense of extended family into the family/ group of friends. The unusual nature of this relationship is Ross being Monica’s true brother, acts more as an advisory third party many times, rather than her brother. However his sense of protection for his younger sister, is still present, as in when he found out about Monica and Chandler, and making sure Chandler knew never to hurt his baby sister.

The interaction between the characters was both comical and loving, as many of the sitcoms of the 1990s. However, the atmosphere of New York City enticed the fast pace of the show and the continual active atmosphere of the events which went on during the episodes. There was never a dull moment, with events such as movie stars shooting a film nearby, trips to the beach, adventures on mass transportation, and interactions with eccentric strangers on almost an episodic basis.

Similar to all television shows and the sitcoms of the 1950s, much of the show was set in only a few places. For the sitcom Friends, it was one of three primary locations; Monica’s apartment, Joey’s apartment or the coffee café. However, unlike the sitcoms of the 1950s, Friends frequently went from one end of New York City to the other, and many times across the country, and for a wedding across the Atlantic. The show often visited all six friends at their places of employment, including Ralph Lauren Headquarters, NYC’s history museum, and several theaters and television studios.

Not only was the show ground breaking by the individuals and the roles each character undertook, but the topics and presentation of the topics were ground breaking.

It was typical to have conversations on sex, pornography, incest, transvestites, and impotence. For an example the following is the conversation when one of the friends asked the group if they’d have to choose between either sex or food;

Monica: Sex!
Chandler: Seriously. Answer faster.
Monica: I’m sorry, sweetie. When I said “sex” I wasn’t thinking of sex with you.
Chandler: It’s like a big hug.
Phoebe: Ross, how about you? Sex or food?
Ross: Sex!
Phoebe: What about sex or dinosaurs?
Ross: My God, it’s like Sophie’s Choice.
Phoebe: Joey, if you had to give up sex or food, which would you pick?
Joey: I don’t know it’s too hard.
Rachel: Come on, you have to answer.
Joey: Okay… sex…No, food…No, uh, sex…No… food… I want both! I want girls on bread!
(Internet)

Conversations also included topics to aid in the story lines of Chandler and his transgender father, Phoebe and her surrogate pregnancy with her brother’s children, and the off again on again, two weddings and a child relationship of Rachael and Ross. Issues brought forth by the ground breaking sitcom Friends brought to the table were never considered options during the 1950s.

There were issue similarities between the sitcoms of the 1950s and Friends however as well. One popular issue was pets. In the 1950s, the children would bring in dogs and cats and once in a while turtles as pets to beg the parents to allow them to keep them. Friends covered this issue as well, though adding a new twist to the traditional scenario. Ross brought home a capuchin monkey which loved and terrorized the family of friends.

The characters of friends used family as an environment to discuss actual family issues, thus we begin to see the replacement of the relative with the friends as family, which the sitcom Cheers slowly began, Friends popularized, and then Will & Grace immortalized.

will-grace

Courtesy of imdb.com

Will & Grace

A sitcom which dared to challenge the status quo by splitting every rule and proper etiquette, broke onto the television scene in 1998 (Internet). Will & Grace starred Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Megan Mullally, and Sean Hayes as the frenzied and vivacious group of friends, Will Truman, Grace Adler, Karen Walker, and Jack McFarland (Internet). This show not only broke the mold for family, but as well, the social and cultural standards which had previously been set by even the sitcom Friends.

At this time, cases were being heard across the country for gay civil rights. Amongst the cases included the 1996 case of Romer vs. Evans This case was in reference to an amendment to the Colorado State Constitution preventing any city, town, or county of Colorado to take any type of legal etc., action to protect gay civil rights. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the amendment. And on March 4, 1998, the U.S. Supreme Court made a ruling in the case of Oncale vs. Sundowner Offshore Services, This ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court stated that all federal laws pertaining to sexual harassment also applied to same sex harassment situations (Wikipedia). With these and other important rulings, gay civil liberties were being examined and scrutinized in every possible situation. Thus, the possible explanation for the popularity of the sitcom Will & Grace.

To begin, we have Will Truman, the single gay man, who takes most of the responsibility for himself and his friends. His fatherly attitude often times calms, or to the least extent suggests reasons, the group of friends. Though cruising the gay bar and picking up guys was where he spent much of his time, he held a steady job with good income, and often times provided the father figure support for the group. One of the ground breaking issues Will brought to the sitcom and the family environment was closet homosexuality. Pretending to be straight, he began dating Grace in college. After meeting, who would be his best friend, Jack, Will breaks it off with Grace to explore his closeted sexuality.

Grace Adler, though at times eccentric, holds the feminine parental support for the group. Her ‘motherly’ influence parallels that of a young and learning mother. Unlike previous motherly images, Grace is a vibrant and many times self interested, ensuring her life happiness first before she attends to the others. Her lessons in learning to support a family of friends, help her grow and mature as an adult. After the rough year when Will broke it off to explore his sexuality, the two re-met and became best friends, in spite of their prior relationship.

Prior relationships, however are common ground for the pair of individuals who exude childishness. Jack and Karen are the best friends of Will and Grace. These two individuals, though adults, undertake childish roles. Simply by watching the way they act, the image of a child is easily seen. Their logic towards life and relationships often mirror their childish tendancies as well. Logic for Jack and Karen included alcohol and sex;

You say potato, I say vodka,” “Ladies and gentlemen, fresh from 45 minutes of butt-robics, I give you my ass,” “Lesson for today: Though the eyes are the window to the soul, the zipper is the window to the underwear,” and “Well, howdy, domestic pardner” (Internet).

Both Jack and Karen rarely have consistency in their lives and are flamboyant and cling to their waning youthfulness. For them, Karen’s incarcerated husband and Jack’s sexually charge and flamboyant son, from an “oops” relationship, are the most consistency they have in their lives, besides Will and Grace.

The parental units, found within Will and Grace, grounded their friends. Many times, within the show, it was joked that Will and Grace were married, “sexless lovers” (Internet). Jack and Karen were constantly on the verge of continual youthfulness. However, unlike parental units who simply gave advise, Will and Grace received advice and support as well, though many times unconventionally.

Jack: Will, you’re going to be a great dad because for the past 10 years you’ve been a great one to me.
Will: Wanna stop for ice cream?
Jack: Nah.
Will: Want to go to a bar and look at hot guys?
Jack: I love you daddy.
 (Internet)

For the duration of the series, the romantic relationships and friendship of the four friends was where the show found its core. Will and his romances, Grace and her white knights, and Jack and Karen, both with their boy toys. Most of the topics that this show brought to the American people helped these storylines along. Topics that were dealt with included homosexuality, same-sex marriage, same-sex parenting, and one night stands.

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Until next time,

Peace, Love and Pandas!

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