Just a quick review of ABC Family’s The Fosters below…
Yesterday, along with everyone else, I watched the series premiere of ABC Family’s The Fosters. The series has been gaining some buzz on account of Jennifer Lopez’s executive producer credit and that it has an interracial lesbian couple at its helm. In a sense, it’s admiring what The Fosters is doing here: not only are the moms lesbians, a given, but they’re also an interracial couple, and they have a son from one half of the couple’s previous marriage, plus adopted twin Hispanics, and foster a white daughter. And the entire time, no one really blinks an eye (well except for Callie).
It’s certainly unique and I think it’s important to show just how mixed American families are as of late. I love it, and the fact that everyone sort of takes it as the norm is even better. It’s still my philosophy that the media do have a responsibility to show us different cultures and realities. Already, people are yelling that there’s a liberal bias and agenda to the show, which… ugh.
All of that is really commendable. I was even shocked that it got greenlit — and it’s 2013.
The problem, instead, for me in the pilot is that I sort of feel like I’ve already seen this story — once we remove everyone’s ethnicities and sexual orientation. Callie is a bit jaded, but will eventually make progress. Mariana realizes her biological mom is not what she dreamed she would be. A guy falls for a girl, even though he has a girlfriend, and misses a big event for her. Weirdly, what I found the most compelling was that Mike wanted to be partnered with his ex-wife.
I know the argument to most minority underrepresentation arguments is that we should be given the same roles and storylines as our mainstream counterparts, but I don’t think the demographics should beget forgiveness for redundancy — as much as it kills me to actually say that. Then again, family dramas have never really been my thing. So maybe it’s just me.
Regardless, I think The Fosters can definitely find its audience in people who are looking for family dramas that are actually daring. The genre has been on a downswing since the 1990s, with perhaps only Parenthood the only viable option these days. The Fosters is the best representation of our melting pot today, being one of the few shows where various different families can sit down, watch it together, and point themselves out onscreen. And the television landscape desperately needs that.