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Old 11-29-2012, 06:35 PM
 
399 posts, read 866,852 times
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Has anybody seen this, or actually watched it lived when it aired in 1973? What were/are your impressions of the show?

I was flipping through the channels when I caught a glimpse of it on PBS. I began watching it, and it seems so mundane yet so fascinating--so much more realistic and calmer than current reality shows. After I did some research about it, it interested me how the program itself was quite novel in its day. Apparently the producers were inspired from some anthropological series.

It's not even the different clothing, hair styles, music, or cars that impressed me, but rather the attitudes and way of life. Subtle things like Pat's smoking in restaurants, or affluence in the 1970's compared to now, or Lance's coming out and time in France, impressed upon me. I thought about the characters too: both parents were born in the 1920s, so they were influenced by the Great Depression and WW2; their children's youth for the most part benefited from America's prosperous times. This made me wonder how you become a product of the times, and how it reflects when watching a documentary.

One final comment, as I was watching the show, PBS interrupted it with some comments about the documentary while asking for funding. They mentioned that in the show's airing, most family portrayals in the media were that from the 1950's and 60's; as a result, the airing of the documentary shed new light on realistic American families with problems that were far more pervasive than thought. What are your opinions as to this?
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:37 PM
 
2,094 posts, read 3,254,509 times
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PBS recently aired a doc about the series but not the whole series. There was also a movie based on Am Fam called Cinema Verite.The original is very HTF-I look forward to the day when I get to see the whole thing.
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:49 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,503 posts, read 47,627,914 times
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I remember it well. The mother became somewhat of a media darling with invitations to lots of parties and TV shows. It was very "in" to know her and have her at your event.

This was the first reality show. it was fascinating. We all wondered if somebody could really act as if no cameras were around.

TV shows prior to this were very June Cleaver and Ozzie and Harriett. Very confusing to those of us who did not live in this kind of family (who did?) Watching those shows made me feel like I was the only kid in the world with unhappy parents and lots of tension. Very unhealthy yet we seem to have gone in such a drastic opposite direction. I'm wondering now if kids watch Housewives series and think this is typical American family behavior.

The 1973 show was the first time homosexuality within a typical American family was mentioned. At least prior to that show I was led to think this was some sort of rare and horrible curse which only fell upon the lowest of the low. You have to remember that it wasn't that long ago homosexuality and even asthma were all blamed on weak fathers and overbearing mothers!
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:49 PM
Status: "Joy cometh in the morning" (set 21 days ago)
 
Location: The New England part of Ohio
20,805 posts, read 26,089,586 times
Reputation: 55995
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aerio View Post
Has anybody seen this, or actually watched it lived when it aired in 1973? What were/are your impressions of the show?

I was flipping through the channels when I caught a glimpse of it on PBS. I began watching it, and it seems so mundane yet so fascinating--so much more realistic and calmer than current reality shows. After I did some research about it, it interested me how the program itself was quite novel in its day. Apparently the producers were inspired from some anthropological series.

It's not even the different clothing, hair styles, music, or cars that impressed me, but rather the attitudes and way of life. Subtle things like Pat's smoking in restaurants, or affluence in the 1970's compared to now, or Lance's coming out and time in France, impressed upon me. I thought about the characters too: both parents were born in the 1920s, so they were influenced by the Great Depression and WW2; their children's youth for the most part benefited from America's prosperous times. This made me wonder how you become a product of the times, and how it reflects when watching a documentary.

One final comment, as I was watching the show, PBS interrupted it with some comments about the documentary while asking for funding. They mentioned that in the show's airing, most family portrayals in the media were that from the 1950's and 60's; as a result, the airing of the documentary shed new light on realistic American families with problems that were far more pervasive than thought. What are your opinions as to this?

I watched it too, when it first aired. I was in Junior High School at the time and I absolutely loved it at the time, and I wish PBS would make it available on DVD.In no way would I categorize it with today's "reality shows", but the producers were far from squeaky clean.

My parents were about ten years younger than the Loud family. We lived a very similar life on the East Coast. Many kids by today's standards, attractive parents. affluent, a well appointed home with an in ground pool and a houseful of friends.

They were really the only TV Family that I ever identified with. Who was like my family and friends? The Brady Bunch? The Loud kids were cool. They were involved in the arts and music. They listened to real Rock music on the show - I remember David Bowie, The Kinks, The Velvet Underground and others. Music was the sound track to their lives, as it was for many baby boomers.

The were not pretending to live some 1950s teen aged life in the 1970s. No malt shops, dating, or going steady. People just hung out.

I think the portrayal was realistic for a family of that type at that time. They were not football players and girl scouts. The son's had long hair and they all dressed in interesting clothes. Their relationship with their parents was more relaxed - no "yes sir" and "No ma'am". A bit of contentiousness here and their about the usual teen aged issues such as "cars not buying their own gas" getting up too late, and summer jobs.

I think it portrayed a new type of family and parenting, that in a latter day permutation, prevails today.

I know that the Loud family had issues with the way that the program was edited, and I agree with their complaints. We will never know what part of family life made in on to the show, or wound up on the cutting room floor.

I also think that producer Craig Gilbert may have "encouraged: the Loud's divorce. Not that there were no problems, but I have read that this was the case.

Pat and Bill Loud remarried before their eldest son Lance passed away several years ago.

Last edited by sheena12; 11-29-2012 at 08:59 PM..
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:02 PM
Status: "Joy cometh in the morning" (set 21 days ago)
 
Location: The New England part of Ohio
20,805 posts, read 26,089,586 times
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I think that sadly, one of the reasons that it will never be released in it's entirety, is the music. PBS is not willing to fork over the royalty fees needed to release the show in it's entirety.

Did anyone get "Cinema Verite" or see it? I've heard mixed reviews.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:42 PM
 
738 posts, read 1,030,137 times
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I saw Cinema Verite this afternoon.

The actors seem to get along with the family so it may be somewhat truthful.

It sure was a big deal in 1973 (filmed in 71). It was everywhere. Magazines, newspapers, talkshows.
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Old 11-30-2012, 11:30 AM
Status: "We're all broken, that's how the light gets in." (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: Wonderland
55,811 posts, read 44,201,188 times
Reputation: 78951
"An American Family" is available on Netflix. It's not the full production but it is 120 minutes. It's in my queue now! Not available on Instant View.
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:50 PM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
12,222 posts, read 22,135,512 times
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I was intrigued because I was born in 1973. One poster said that homosexuality was mentioned. Was this the part? I mean as a gay male it did catch my eye lol

I found this clip on youtube



I also found this:



Then I found this:


Last edited by Josseppie; 11-30-2012 at 05:15 PM..
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:26 PM
Status: "Joy cometh in the morning" (set 21 days ago)
 
Location: The New England part of Ohio
20,805 posts, read 26,089,586 times
Reputation: 55995
Lance never really "came out" on the show. It was implied but there was never a moment when it was actually stated.Except in the earliest promo photographs, it would be very hard for anyone over the age of 13 to have watched "An American Family" , even in 1973, to have not known that Lance was Gay. He played it up - putting on nail polish with Michelle and eye shadow with Delilah. Mouthing the words to Etta James 1950s classic about elicit sex "Roll With Me Henry" which his brothers covered Who songs in the garage.

He move to the Chelsea Hotel in NYC was disturbing to his parents on a number of levels. When Pat visited Lance took her to a Transgender theater. Warhol actress Holly Woodlawn lived down the hall. I think the scene that he was involved with was frightening to Pat Loud on a number of levels.

I'm not sure that being Gay was the worst. I have a feeling the Louds knew this. I think it was drug use, and drugs were the ultimate cause of Lance's death in 2002.

The entire "An American Family" has not been released in it's entirety, Kathryn. just that slice and dice version. I and others who watched the show when it came out and came of age with the Louds, wish PBS would do something about this.
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:39 PM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
12,222 posts, read 22,135,512 times
Reputation: 4320
Thanks for that. From what I have seen the show looked very good. I would love to see it in its entirety.
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