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The Fosters Season 1


I remember laughing out loud when I first heard that Jennifer Lopez was producing a TV pilot, and I also remember rolling my eyes when ABC Family picked it up. ABC Family is the prodigal network, always making inexplicable choices (axing Bunheads and airing The 700 Club, to name a few), but it always tries just hard enough that I can eventually forgive it.

Plus it's summer, and let’s be honest, we're all more forgiving in the summer.

I first tuned in to The Fosters hoping for a gigli—err, giggle—but I found something slightly more soulful. As the show wrapped its first season last night, I surprisingly found myself still watching and, perhaps more surprisingly, being impressed. The "new kind of family" framework is cloyingly insistent, but it's still rare enough on television to be refreshing: an interracial lesbian couple (a police officer and a vice principal) mothering the officer’s biological son, their adopted Latino twins, and a pair of foster siblings, one of them fresh out of juvie. The family groups went nuclear, but in a way, so did The Fosters.

At its heart, The Fosters is a family values show. From credits to credits, it wants to tout the strength, comfort, and necessity of family. It's definitely cluttered; the family spent ten episodes negotiating their blended family in addition to pregnancy, rape, drugs, alcoholism, and illegal immigration. But I still kept watching. The two moms, (whose relationship, by the way, is extraordinarily acted by Teri Polo and Sherri Suam), meet every problem with a light touch and a kind of irresistible panache. More than that, their five teenagers occasionally manage to complexify stereotypes and relationships, resulting in genuinely watchable television. The show isn't perfect, but it is compelling. It doesn’t have the grittiness of a true drama, and it doesn’t have the humor of Modern Family, but the central family FEELS like a modern family. And in this one, the women work. I like that.


For all of its flaws, The Fosters feels homey. More than that, it manages to be straight-up frank about a lot of things most family dramas never even address, let alone present in an honest fashion. In the pilot, Stef checked in with her biological son Brandon about condoms, explaining that it’s her job “to protect and serve.” A handful of episodes later, she bought the morning-after pill for her son Jesus's girlfriend Lexi, even though her extremely Catholic parents wouldn’t and didn’t approve. Later, we watched as Lexi absorbed the news of her own undocumented immigration status without too much fanfare. Like that sort of thing happens every day in this country. Which, consequently, it does.

And perhaps in the most honest storyline of all, we bore witness to foster daughter Callie’s struggle with the decision to testify in a case against her former foster brother and rapist, and we saw him go free because of Callie’s checkered past (juvie). She didn’t get her justice because, well, most women in her position usually don’t. We watched Stef deal with her father’s homophobia and her own internalized version of it, and we sat uncomfortably as Lena and her darker-skinned mother had a candid discussion about what it means to be biracial in America. We looked on as Stef and Lena fearlessly navigated the perils and pitfalls of a multicultural family at Mariana’s quinceañera, gracefully allowing her to dance the traditional father-daughter dance with Stef’s ex-husband instead.

The point, I suppose, is that we—or at least I—kept watching.

In an early Fosters promotional clip I checked out (because J. Lo!), one of the show's producers explained that The Fosters is based on “a very simple belief: that we’re really, fundamentally, all the same.” In many ways, that kind of thinking demonstrates how powerless the show could become, but it also explains how, in its ten episodes The Fosters managed to leverage its honesty, humor, and acting into a wonderful new show. The Fosters has already been picked up for 10 more episodes, and I will be watching them. Maybe ABC Family still has a little Jenny from the block left in it.


Did you stick with The Fosters' first run of episodes? What do you think of the show?

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Also, for the people who do enjoy the show and want to see more, if you haven't heard, the show was not only renewed for a second half of this season, but for a whole second season as well. (That means, if the next season is like this one, we have 30 more episodes for sure! As long as ABC Family doesn't cancel it, which is unlikely because of the ratings and support it has been getting.)
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Opinions are opinions, but I have to say this: I love The Fosters and I will always love The Fosters. I think they push the romance between Callie and Brandon a little too far, but most people love it, so that's fine. Besides, teenagers do date and kiss. It's real.

But to the people saying "the actress who plays Callie" (she has a name by the way, and it's Maia Mitchell) can't act, there are a lot of things you probably weren't even aware of. She's Australian. Would you know that based off of her character? No, because she's freaking amazing at hiding her accent. She's also 20, portraying a 16 year old girl. That's pretty dang impressive if you ask me, because I honestly thought she was 16 when I saw the first episode. Not only those two things, but I don't know how she plays such a believable hurt girl, because every interview I've seen, she talks about how good of a life she's had. She doesn't show much emotion? She shows the emotion she's supposed to; she isn't supposed to smile and laugh all the time, or burst into tears. She was in a bad situation for most of her life. She's built up a wall, she's guarded now, because she's lost everything she's had except her little brother. She yelled at Mariana when she thought she read her journal. She looked mad enough to cry. She looked hurt when Jude yelled at her, calling her selfish and everything; she looked upset during the whole wedding, like she was faking a smile. She looked so scared when she was leaving juvie and didn't really have anywhere to go. I don't see how anyone could watch all ten episodes thoroughly and say Maia Mitchell is a bad actress. And if you have watched all ten episodes and say that, why did you if you hate it so bad?

Also, Jesus - who is played by Jake T. Austin, fyi - comes off like a normal teenage boy to me. (Just in case you didn't know, he's 18 playing a 15 year old.) If you watched him on Wizards Of Waverly Place, his character was entirely different. I've noticed that Jake carries out little quirks. When Jesus says something sarcastic, or is kidding, he'll often place his hand on his heart and grin. He's smart enough to play two characters so completely different that I can hardly tell it's the same actor; besides his looks. I thought he did pretty well acting like he had ADD and didn't take his meds; I thought he looked believably angry and sad.

I think all of the actors and actresses are wonderful and are portraying their characters how they're supposed to. I think the writing is excellent, and this show covers so much that other shows are not even brave enough to think about. When you decide to stop commenting on a review full of people who love the show with hate towards the cast and writers instead of just simply saying that you do not like it, then I will respect your opinion.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Have a nice day.
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OMG i love this show cant wait for next season
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I cannot imagine I loved this show but I did. I would have put up a finale review myself but probably not as good as yours. It is a family show but it is really a new kind of family. It does live up to its name and it does deal with many issues that many shows don't. It is honest too which is wonderful. I will be tuning in to season 2 as well ! I must say this one ABC got it right !
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It sounds interesting, but a little disappointed that Bunheads had to make way for Lopez's project. Not sure I like the big money ness of it all.
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At first, I thought Teri Polo and Sherri Suam were wrong for the part, two straight women trying to be lipstick lesbians. Boy, was I wrong, they did a great job and grew into their parts as the show warmed my heart. Just because people are gay and lesbians does not mean they don't want the best for their children. Just because gay and lesbians have children doesn't mean they are crack addicts and the dumbest on the face of the earth. We have gay and lesbians in the Senate. Please people get out of the box and look in with an open mind. Teri Polo did a great job standing up to her father and her mother. I work a black tuxedo and pink tie with a pink vest to my wedding because I wanted to be comfortable, that is life! Sherri Suam had a beautiful dress on the necklace was a little too much, but over all they were both beautiful. They are a family and I can't wait for January that is really what life is all about. Like I said get out of the box and look in for change. The song at the end was perfect. I will watch this season over and over, just as my partner watches her Harry Potters over and over. I will enjoy watching our daughter grow and learn in her private school, just as Sherri Suam and Teri Polo believe in education for their kids. J Lo don't screw up next season please, you are on a roll and keep it going, great job.
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I love your commentary, succinct and all encompassing. I didn't begin watching The Fosters until episode six and then had to go back and watch from the beginning. I thoroughly enjoy the show and not only because they talked about the forbidden skin color issue with Lena and her mother, which by the way is never talked about even on black television shows. It touched me because I tried to have that conversation once with my own mother and she just didn't understand what I was talking about because she grew up in a time and place where everyone looked like her so she never felt like something other than. This is a terrific show and I can only hope Family continues to produce quality television.
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I'm so bummed about Bunheads, I might check this out. Sounds like Parenthood (which I adore).
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Also bummed about Bunheads
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I really love this show! i want to comment on some things that people have been commenting on! First off @riot you said that with Callie things seem forced. have you ever thought about the past someone like that has had and personally i think that the character is like that because she is acting on the past she has had with not trusting anything in her life and nothing ever being permanent! I have also heard that Lina and Steph don't have a good connection? really... i think they have an amazing connection.. it is very much like a real lesbian couples relationship, they have a bond that can't be broken. i feel that all of the actors have played there part well.. each with a different and extreme personality... from marianna's princess personality to callie's just out of juvie personality, and jude who is doing an extraordinary job. there are things in this show that some people will pick up on and some people won't because they don't know enough about the situation. so i would give it a chance. and when your watching take a step back and realize that they are playing the characters to the best of the personality of someone that has gone through these things! i love this show because it reminds me of what the world is today! and i like that someone finally has put it out there in a realistic way! not played up to much but just like it is! Give it a chance!
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I know a lot about the foster system and grew up with foster children who moved around a lot, and had it a tough life. My parents are religious, but have beliefs like Lexi's parents. It was kind of a church thing where they many members took in Foster kids, and some adopted them. But yeah I'm familiar with kids like Callie.

When I say it seems forced, I'm not sure if it's just the actress or the fact that I just don't see her chemistry with anyone. Which is why she comes off as selfish when it comes to Jude. And with Brandon is where I wasing it seemed really forced between them. It seemed a tiny bit more believable with Wyatt but not much and his acting was better. I can see Jude having an attachment to Stef, Lena, and being there but Callie connections are seriously lacking. I'm not saying there are none, but she seems to be lacking a personality. If you described c
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I watched it but am not sure I really like it. The concept seemed nice, but it's hard to watch.
My favorite character was probably Jude. Least favorite, almost everyone else except the moms. I'm not sure if it's the actress or not but I cannot stand Callie, everything feels really forced with her. I feel the same about Brandon. I'm on the fence about Jesus. Mariana, is eh. She's hard to like because of how selfish she's come off but I feel like the actress is doing well at portraying her. I guess a lot of things with the kids just feel super forced. Brandon/Callie feels forced, I can see why people shipped them but not why the two characters would take those steps after just being announced they were going to be adopted. Callie really is selfish and Jude was right.
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Trust me, it's the actress. She has the same stupid look on her face 99% of the time.... =.=
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Hire a bunch of afterschool special writers and give them a Politically Correct checklist to work from. It's amazing to me that anyone would watch this nonsense. Only on ABC Family.
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I watched it since the pilot and I like it. It reminds me a tiny bit of 7th Heaven the Camden family (lol @ reverend camden for playing the reverend father of lena here...).
The Camdens were a big family and sometimes took in strangers (Robbie) and got closer so they kind of added someone to their family in that way. The Fosters they just legally adopt them but the thing is the same. Callie was a complete stranger when Lena decided to take her in. Now she's family.

It's a modern version of the Camdens ^^

I think the show has potential.
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It's incredibly hard to prove any rape occurred beyond a reasonable doubt for a jury. Our system relies on the fundamental principle of "Innocent Until Proven Guilty." It's not perfect (innocent people go to jail all the time; thank god for the innocence project), but it's the principle by which our system SHOULD work. Though again, rape law isn't perfect (male victims, of which there are a lot, are thoroughly marginalized), but it's worth working on.

Anyway, I'm quite glad you had such a positive experience with the show; my sister loves it as well. Perhaps I'll wind up giving it a shot one of these days.
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@sunnysfunny
Then I call BS on you ever reading any article about this show. Every single article I have read and every television interview I have seen has done nothing BUT comment on how great the chemistry is between these two ladies. Seriously, just Google it. You will see how wrong your comment is.
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I actually love the fact that Steph&Lina's relationship is very much toned down. That's not to say they don't have chemistry. It's just a different kind of chemistry, something you can actually see in real life, outside of TV.
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I quite like this show, and was starting to wonder if TV.com was going to post reviews of it at any point. It has it's problems, like any show finding it's footing and figuring out what it's going to be, but I think that if ABC family sticks with it we will wind up with a show that is a refreshingly normal look at a more conventional family than current mainstream media would have us all believe.
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It's Sherri Saum, and the channel is contractually obligated to run the 700 Club and all its bigotry. It's been that way since the first sale of CBN to other companies.
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"The two moms, (whose relationship, by the way, is extraordinarily acted by Teri Polo and Sherri Suam)"

Really? Every article I've read the writers stated that the two moms don't really have chemistry or don't act like they are in love,
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I can't say that I like this show just yet, because there are a few problems that annoy me to no end.

1. Callie - Seriously, the girl playing her simply can't act! Get her some acting lessons asap or just replace her, her acting is cringeworthy. I can't seem to care what happens to her at all, because this girl can't convey any sort of an emotion!!!!!!<<<<< (if I have to look at her face one more time trying to look *insert any emotion here*, I think I'll break my TV in half)

2. Jesus - Same thing as Callie, the actor is pretty much terrible. I could care less about him. No character development or anything....

3. Lena/Stef are always fighting; sometimes I wonder, why are they even together? 0_o

4. All characters are boring and one dimensional and the writing is all over the place...
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I wouldn't say always fighting. Real couples fight. If they never fought or argued then it wouldn't be believable at all. You can tell Stef and Lena love each other. During this time, the characters are going through a lot of stress with everything happening, and it's understandable that they take it out on each other. I'm glad they aren't lovey-dovey happy-go-lucky mushy-romantic all the time because just how believable would that be?

And when has "the girl playing Callie" (also known as Maia Mitchell) not showed emotion when she should have?
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I did enjoy this show,looking forward to what they do with it come next summer.
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I LOVE LOVE LOVE this show!
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Quite love this show! Not ABCFamily's choice to air 700 Club (that was a contract stipulation when Disney bought the channel from Pat Robertson), but failing to renew Bunheads is totally inexplicable. I refrained from root for The Fosters 'cause I feared its success would be a nail in Bunheads coffin.
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Yea, just like they have no choice but to have "Family" in the network name. Remember it was Fox Family before ABC.
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I think this show really has the potential to be really great I watched the Season 1 mid-finale on the edge of my seat! I love all the 'kid' characters especially Callie/Brandon I am so shipping them! I can't wait 4 January to see if Callie comes back if she & Brandon can be 2gehter and if the rest of the family can stick 2gether :) Bring on the rest of Season 1!!
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I did stick with it and I have to say that I like it. I don't know how it would do against the fall shows but it's a pretty good show and I'll keep watching.
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