My Wife and Kids is a family sitcom blended in with serious drama because serious and realistic issues and presented. It is based on an American-Afro family following the customs of western style families. Even though the stereotypical view of a family in sitcoms is white, average middle class people consisting of 2 parents and a bunch of kids. My Wife and Kids are exactly that, just with the difference of skin colour which allows black Americans to relate to.
This is a family sitcom which present issues that makes up an average family facing everyday family problems, very similar to what every family faces in reality. This may be the reason which attracts viewers attention, because of ideological pleasure mixed partly with aesthetic pleasure. However, these issues presented is resolved through family values like love honesty and trust. Because Americans and Australians have similar values, the values represented in the sitcom can reveal much about the values we viewers see as important.


Family is the heart of this sitcom, because situations are always resolved through family. Its like they are the perfect family, and all these dominant ideologies and stereotypical views are thrown in to make things more realistic, it is as if family love and values and drummed into the soul of these characters.

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This show has a small cast, like many sitcoms. There is the comical and amusing Michael who likes to believe he is the man of the house. He deeply loves his family, loyal and protective, no matter what their faults are. He has values that are very similar to any other loving father in the world. It is the values he has that are violated by his children, which causes the main issue in the show, and it usually goes on to Michael trying to teach his children a lesson. Because Michaels values are those of the dominant ideology, viewers agree and therefore dont feel any wrongness in Michaels actions to show discipline to his children. He is presented this way because his priorities, values and beliefs are all accepted as dominant ideologies.


Then there is Jay, the working mum, who is headstrong and respects Michaels decisions only if she agrees with him else would stand up against him. She is a loving mother and her marriage is excellent, where values in a relationship fit in perfectly. Viewers, especially women, can easily relate to her because she is the ideal mother that is generally accepted. She, obviously a woman, works, allowed to voice out her opinions, and stand up against her husband challenges all the stereotypical views of women, which means, society readily accepting the ways of women and criticising the stereotypical view of women a long time ago.


As eldest of the 3 children, instead of being the wisest, ironically, Junior is the most stupid. He is constantly ridiculed by his family and taken advantaged of by his friends. This supplies humour to viewers through slapsticks and puns relating to Junior. Stupid he may be, family values can force Junior to stand up to what he believes is right, like loyalty to his sister Claire in situations. Even though Junior is presented as the very stupid kid in the family, he is liked and believed acceptable because he shows some rather admirable values in rare cases, like explained before, the big brother protect baby sister kind of thing, where viewers believe its right because loyalty among family is one of the dominant ideologies presented.


Claire, being the middle kid, is presented as the obvious and exaggerated version of a stereotypical female daughter with typical problems like boys, sex and clothes which can attract female teenagers facing her problems. Some episodes show that Claire is fiercely proud of her parents, especially her dad, when problems are confronted. Many teenagers face issues like pregnancy today, scared of what would happen in the future, scared of facing their parents, so this show this encourages teenagers to talk to their parents even though they may be angry, but still loving.


Katie is what you would call daddys little angel where issues with Claire and Junior just doesnt happen with Katie. Shes innocent, cute, sweet and doesnt give mummy and daddy any headaches. Shes there for amusement, making comments that make viewers laugh because what she curiously asks or says is so innocent, and without realising theres an impact to she says. Katie is presented as the harmless baby in the family, oblivious to certain issues presented.


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These 2 shows are both average middle class families. Even though one family is dark skinned, where as the other is white, both of them follow the traditions of the western culture. Everyday icons in scenes, like TV, beer, couch, nice kitchen, family dinner tables etc are actually visual codes to give viewers a sense of familiarity that this is your everyday average house with average families, presenting the stereotypical American/Australian family households.
With both sitcoms as families, The Simpsons is targeted on a more wider range of audiences, where as My Wife and Kids are targeted on 14yrs and up because the characters have issues that are more suited to people these ages, and Katie is more of a distraction. The Simpsons is cartoon, which attracts very young viewers and teenagers, and the issues dealt with in Homer can be related to more mature audiences.


Social issues, or more specifically relating to the episodes we taped, sex and school pressure is one of the most common and frequent issues dealt with in todays society. What teenager hasnt felt the demands of school or the connection of issues relating to sex? In these 2 cases, family values resolve the issues. In this episode, it starts straight away with Clair and Tony being forthright about sex. Being honest and talking about it to Michael and Jay even though its such a personal subject. Because this sitcom can be influential as it deals with just real issues, it can encourage teenage viewers to approach their parents as well when dealing with such controversial topics within the family. As expected with any protective parents, they downright say no. As if Tony and Claire expected it, they shrugged of their answer and planned to do it anyway. Michael and Jay were frantic, trying to find a way to stop them. They agreed to be rational, and decided to talk to them about sex, and try to scare them off with stories of AIDS and STD. Even though this is only a sitcom, the story explores issues relating to sex, making it more thorough and realistic, so relevant info isnt ignored. With their goal to scare them, ironically, it actually encourages them. Even if the show was resolved in pure coincidental luck due to religious beliefs concerning the bible, trust, which is a family value, is also involved as well as respect, which is also another value. Tony had gathered it was a sign from God, telling him not to do it and to RESPECT Jay and Michaels decision. So it was all resolved through some luck as well as the urge to respect Claires parents decisions.


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So to conclude what we have just said, between these 2 families, family values are highly valued within each family member, no matter how different they are. Even with someone like Homer, stupid he may be, he still has admirable values that show when it is called upon, like loyalty. There is love, trust, honesty, loyalty, forgiveness, discipline all involved in My Wife and Kids as well as The Simpsons. Both these shows have a broad based comedy and a successful formula, which has influential messages that are conveyed through to viewers.
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Even though these family values seem more apparent in My Wife and Kids, because one, its not animated for starters, and the issues that goes on can be easily related to viewers like the working mum, and the typical female teenager, The Simpsons can somehow be even more realistic than My Wife and Kids because this animated sitcom can convey a variety of stronger messengers taking the advantage of the knowledge that it takes a cartoon to be able to tell us messages we dont want to face because we are willing to accept that a cartoon can manipulate fact. It takes a cartoon to show us for example that non-animated, respected media of actuality can also manipulate the truth and manipulate the viewers. So Simpsons can be more realistic in ways My Wife and Kids cant show us.