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The Truth About the Blended Family That TV Doesn’t Tell You About

Posted by Kimberly on October 23, 2007

In 1969, America was presented with the first television version of what has become known as the “blended family”; better known as The Brady Bunch.  Almost forty years later in 2007, the American public is wondering why one out of two marriages fail.

It’s simple.  Since 1969, television sitcom producers have been selling us on the idea of the blended family.   Whether it be by widowhood or divorce, producers have convinced us that blended a family comes with relative ease and, in the end, everyone is part of one big happy family.

Look at, for example, CBS’ popular sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine.  While this show is hilarious in context, quite frankly there are very few exes who sit around and discuss new relationships with one another or even reminisce about the past with their new significant others present.   In real life, it would be a 30 minute episode of nothing more than a cat fight with the guy standing back wondering how the heck he was going to get out of this mess; or, in many other cases, the guy jumps in defending his new girl while verbally blasting his ex-wife about child support, alimony and whatever else comes to mind.  (These roles are also often reversed with the guys fighting and the gal playing the role of thinker, defender and insult blaster.)

One of the better portrayals is the WB’s now cancelled sitcom Reba, wherein viewers were subjected to the repeated battles of blending an ex-wife and the new wife.   However, in the end, they managed to make it work.  

Being divorced and remarried myself to man also divorced, I can say with certainty that life just doesn’t happen as portrayed on television.  With divorce, child support, alimony, and visitation issues swirling around you, life with the exes is seldom (read never) a 30 minute barrel of laughs.

Just take a look at the message boards at such sites as DivorceSource.com and DivorceNet.  It’s clear that the situations in the aforementioned television shows are the exception versus the rule.

When I decided to remarry, I never expected it to be simple; and I was correct in my assumptions.   Yet it never ceases to amaze me the number of people I hear say, “Why can’t it be like Reba?”  Too often I find myself replying, “You’re kidding me, right?”  Only to see from their expression that they were not. 

If you are divorced and thinking of remarrying, realize that not everyone is going to be friends and problems will not be resolved in thirty minutes; not even, in most cases, thirty days.   The term “blended family” provides the false assumption that, eventually, everything will fit together with no indication of what was the foundation and what was added. 

No, the term “blended family” is a farce.   Families created from divorce are more like “taped families” or “glued families”; you’re stuck together but you can still see the cracks.


One Response to “The Truth About the Blended Family That TV Doesn’t Tell You About”

  1. Soul Sistah said

    Excellent points.

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