ABC (ended 1980)


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Show Summary

The trials and tribulations, joyous occasions and heartbreaking moments of the Lawrence family: lawyer father Doug; housewife, student, and musician Kate; married (and quickly divorced) daughter student soon to be lawyer Nancy; teenage son Willie; and just-hitting-puberty daughter Buddy. In this critically acclaimed series, we watched various Lawrences fight, fall in love, become ill, graduate school, begin new jobs and, most of all, love each other. This show was ground breaking in its content, which include child and spousal abuse, teenage drinking, terminal illness, adoption, and marital affairs.
Sada Thompson

Sada Thompson

Kate Skinner Lawrence

James Broderick

James Broderick

Doug Lawrence

Gary Frank

Gary Frank

Willie Lawrence

Kristy McNichol

Kristy McNichol

Letitia "Buddy" Lawrence

Meredith Baxter Birney

Meredith Baxter Birney

Nancy Lawrence (Seasons 2-5)

Quinn Cummings

Quinn Cummings

Annie Cooper (Seasons 4-5)

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  • Most reviews of "Family" on this forum wander why the series was so touching as well as open. I have a tip of the answer...

    While the characters might look ordinary upper-classers, the truth is what made them special was the fact that they were actually pretty freaky. High-eyebrowed Sada Thompson's constant expression of awe, the oldie father, the generation gap between their children, and last but not least, Buddy's mind-blogging look bordering lesbianism where mesmerizing for a kid like me.

    The pace of the show was slow, and one thanked it. The protected community they lived in was a relieving bubble within the dark downward trend of the late 70´s, when darker meant better.

    I remember the first time in my life I learnt of Virginia Woolf, was through "Family": It was a book of Woolf's correspondance that Kate was reading in bed in one of the episodes. I guess I was 11 back then, and imprints of such an early age for some reason have a longlasting effect.

    Long live our childhood memories!moreless
  • An excellent example of some of the fine television which was a part of the 1970s. "Family" was a real show about real people and there was something in it to strike a chord with everyone.moreless

    Doug and Kate Lawrence (James Broderick and Sada Thompson) and their three children, Nancy, (Meredith Baxter)Willie (Gary Frank) and Buddy -real name Leticia -(Kristy McNichol) were a family with which most people could easily identify. The Lawrences were normal people, leading normal lives and dealing with realistic and important issues. The show was never over the top or melodramatic and that was one of the reasons it was so watchable and so popular with audiences during its 4-year run from 1976 - 1980.

    There were moments of light-hearted comedy of course, but mostly, the show was a drama which never strayed into the unbelievable and ridiculous. The things the Lawrences went through on a regular basis were always things that could (and do) happen to anyone. Marriage, divorce, teen crushes, menopause and many other events, written with sensitivity and realism by the writers made "Family" one of the best shows of the era and one that could be watched over and over without one ever getting sick of it.moreless
  • An "upper middle class" family in Pasadena, California (Doug and Kate Lawrence, and their children Nancy, Willie and Buddy) - their lives, trials, joys, sorrows, etc.

    I began watching this show when I was in high school. At that time, it was a real eye-opener for me, showing me more of the issues "out in the world" that I may or may not face in the future. The characters were real and multi-dimensional. They had flaws and strengths. They had the ability to bring joy and to irritate! But the actors all worked together to bring us a moving story each week. My favorite was Sada Thompson, who had so many layers, that each week could bring surprises from her. Very endearing was her ability to bring subtle humor to many situations. A truly talented actress that the American public at large was fortunate to see, after her successes on the Broadway stage.moreless
  • Broke new ground in the 70's for dealing with real people Issues. This popular drama was Aaron Spellings's favorite of all his productions. Outstanding writing and cast.

    This show was very popular in its day, though today it has been nearly forgotten. It stirred up real emotions in dealing with real life issues that few programs of its day dealt with. Problems of teenage alcoholism, child abuse and other similar themes. Those issues were taboo for television at one time. This program opened the floodgates for other programs to explore the drama behind people's personal struggles and growth issues. Kristy McNichol won two Emmy's for her tomboy role and was a key to the success of the program.moreless
  • Family drama.

    I occasionally go through my parents' DVD collection, and from time to time I come across some really interesting shows. Such as "Family." This is a drama from the seventies. It took me a while to get past the clothes, the cars and the slang, but once I did, I found myself getting wrapped up in the characters. The show centers on the Lawrences, an upper middle class family living in a California suburb. I identified most with the teenaged son, Willie. In many of the first-season episodes (the only season my folks own), he catches hell from his father Doug, mostly for wanting to make his own decisions about his life. There's the wife, Kate, an openminded, sympathetic woman who doesn't shy away from confrontations with her husband over their kids. The marriage of the older daughter, Nancy, is slowly unraveling, and the younger daughter, Buddy, is just coming into adolescence. They face death, divorce, blindness, homosexuality, burglary and alcoholism, but none of it ever felt like soap opera to me. My mom says she is ashamed to admit that she loved "Family" as a kid. I don't know why. This is a good drama, with some very good acting.moreless

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