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Top 20 TV Families

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The Huxtables, The Cosby Show

From that very first episode, Cliff Huxtable took a refreshingly no-nonsense approach to parenting. Remember when Theo announced he didn't need good grades because he didn't need to go to college? Remember what his dad said? "That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard in my life! No wonder you get Ds in everything... I'm your father. I brought you in this world and I can take you out."

 

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The Simpsons, The Simpsons

The fact that this family has been on the air longer than any other in history says something, doesn't it? No matter how many dumb mistakes Homer makes, or how many problems Bart causes at school, each and every week, America's favorite yellow family always ends up back on the couch together.
 



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The Tanners, Full House

At the height of ABC's TGIF comedy block, the Tanners ruled. Full House, a tooth-achingly sweet series, revolved around single dad Danny Tanner, his best friend Joey, his musician brother-in-law Jesse and Danny's three daughters, DJ, Stephanie and Michelle. Immortalized forever: Jesse's hair care and Michelle's catchphrase, "You got it, dude!"



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The Sopranos, The Sopranos

The Sopranos showcased two families: Dad Tony's organized crime compadres and his own domestic unit. Under the watchful eye of bored housewife Carmela, Tony's kids Meadow and A.J. had a relatively normal, privileged upbringing — including homework, chores, groundings and regular funerals for their dad's slain co-workers. Oh wait, that last part probably wasn’t so normal.



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The Partridges, The Partridge Family

They were long overshadowed by the Bradys, but it's anyone's guess why — the Partridges were way cooler. The family band toured together, turned out pop hits together and, let's be honest, David "I Think I Love You" Cassidy was way dreamier than Greg Brady.



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The Fishers, Six Feet Under

For a show that began each episode with a usually gruesome death, Six Feet Under showed us a family that, despite their various emotional handicaps, actually embraced life. Ruth, the widowed matriarch, struggled to find herself, Brothers Nate and David squabbled over the family mortuary while their angsty sister Claire navigated the cruelty of art school. Their relationships were similarly tortured.



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The Bluths, Arrested Development

Somehow, TV's most selfish, dark and dysfunctional funny family managed to last three full seasons on network TV. Why? The backbiting antics of The Bluths were beloved by a small-but-rabid fanbase. Even now, years after its cancellation, many persist in asking creator Mitch Hurwitz about the possibility of bringing the Bluths to the big screen.



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The Keatons, Family Ties

Did President Reagan have a mouthpiece in Alex P. Keaton? Not really, but Family Ties' eager young Republican (Michael J. Fox) and his former-hippie parents milked their soft political divide for smart, family-friendly laughs.



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The Bunkers, All in the Family

Norman Lear's groundbreaking sitcom introduced us to the "lovable bigot" that is Archie Bunker, his "dingbat" wife, Edith, and their liberal daughter and son-in-law as it explored a litany of hot-button issues, including homosexuality and racial prejudice. Fun fact: The series, which spawned Maude, The Jeffersons and Archie Bunker's Place, was the first show in which all of its lead actors won Emmys. (The Golden Girls and Will & Grace are the others.)



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The Bradys, The Brady Bunch

The story of a lady, a Brady and their bunch was not the first show to focus on a blended family, but it arrived at a time when divorces and remarriages were on the rise in the United States. The classic sitcom lasted only five seasons, but a plethora of spin-offs, films, sequels and specials followed, featuring many original cast members. Just don’t mention Cousin Oliver.



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The Conners, Roseanne

The Conners were a fully realized — and not idealized — working-class family. The Peabody Award-winning series tackled taboo topics, from teenage pregnancy to domestic violence, and at the center of it all was star Roseanne Barr's cutting, often hilarious commentary on the real problems of real people.



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The Seavers, Growing Pains

In a reflection of the times, this '80s sitcom featured a reversal of roles for the Seaver parents, with mom Maggie returning to work as a reporter &mdash using her maiden name, natch — and psychiatrist dad Jason staying at home to look after their children, mischievous Mike, brainiac Carol and little brother Ben. In its later years, the series introduced a fourth child, Chrissy, whose age was advanced to 6 after two seasons, and Luke Brower, a homeless teen taken in by the Seavers and played by future A-lister Leonardo DiCaprio.



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The Waltons, The Waltons

John and Olivia Walton, their seven children, and John's parents live together in Depression-era rural Virginia. Their close-knit family weathered financial hardship, illness, and World War II. Eldest son "John Boy," an aspiring journalist and novelist, served as the story’s narrator.



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The Walkers, Brothers & Sisters

How does a family survive after learning the patriarch was a lifelong philanderer whose affair even produced an illegitimate child? By drinking lots of wine, of course! Yes, the drama in the Walker houshold does lean toward the soapy now and again, but those family dinners and hilariously complex conference calls always remind us the love this clan has for one another.



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The Cleavers, Leave It to Beaver

The Cleavers set the standard for the idealized American suburban family. Because the show was told from The Beaver's point of view, it provided an interesting look at parenting as June and Ward often debated the best way to handle Wally and the Beav's screw-ups.



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The Jacksons/Drummonds, Diff'rent Strokes

Breaking racial barriers, the NBC sitcom starred the late Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges as orphaned African-American siblings who are adopted by Mr. Drummond, a wealthy white widower. Though Coleman's catchphrase “What'choo talkin' 'bout, Willis?” became the series' most enduring pop culture legacy, Strokes epitomized the '80s trend of "very special episodes," examining such issues as drug use, racism and child molestation.



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The Ewings, Dallas

Poor Miss Ellie. She was such a sweet Texan matriarch, who had little more to do than sit around and watch as her two sons, J.R. and Bobby, tangled with the orneriest characters of the oil business, including their own wives. J.R.’s alcoholic wife Sue Ellen never met a scheme in which she didn’t partake and Bobby's wife, Pam, despite her innate sweetness, would do anything to protect her family.



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The Barones, Everybody Loves Raymond

This family's special brand of dysfunction turned comedy gold into Emmy gold, twice winning best comedy series. From brother Robert's jealousy over Ray's perfect life to Marie's constant henpecking of Debra to Frank's loudmouthed disdain for just about everything, the Barones made it OK to laugh at your own loved ones.



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The Pritchetts, Modern Family

Playing the patriarch of one iconic TV family is never enough. Married... with Children alum Ed O'Neill is now back on our screens as Jay Pritchett, the head of the Pritchett clan, which features his May-December marriage, daughter Claire's typical American family and son Mitchell, who adopted a Vietnamese baby with his partner. Shot mockumentary-style, the breakout hit gave ABC its first Emmy in the comedy series race in 22 years and has us saying "LOL," not "WTF" (Why the face?).



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The Jeffersons, The Jeffersons

A spin-off of All in the Family, the sitcom focused on George and Louise Jefferson, who left working-class Queens to "move on up to the East Side" of Manhattan. Dry-cleaning mogul George was essentially a black Archie Bunker who was never afraid to tell it like it is. The series lasted 11 seasons, becoming the longest-running U.S. show of any genre to feature a predominantly African-American cast.




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