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The 5 Most Realistic TV Show Families of All Time

#2. The TGIF Lineup Was All About the Otherness of Neighbors

Warner Bros. Television

What You Remember:

From 1989 to 2000, ABC blessed Friday nights with more comedy than we've been able to process in the decades since. Full House! Family Matters! Step by Step! The Other Shows! The TGIF lineup was the last dying breath of family sitcoms that targeted families who had nothing better to do on Friday night than watch TV together before the Internet offered way better alternatives.

Dan Dalton/Caiaimage/Getty Images
Little-known fact: In the past, every family had only one loveseat.

If you remember anything of the shows of TGIF (Thank Goodness It's Funny/Friday/Fannies), it's probably that they all centered on insanely functional families, and that scrunchies were the tits back in the '90s.

Warner Bros. Television
'90s hair: hurricane in the front, side horn on the top.

You might also remember that several of the shows featured a weirdo neighbor who charged his or her way into storylines and scenes like a bull in a china shop. Specifically, you might remember Cody from Step by Step, Kimmy from Full House, Roger from Sister, Sister, and Urkel from The Urkel Show.

What You Forgot:

Each of these shows went out of its way to verbally assault the characters who didn't belong in the household, even though they were children. In the TGIF world, neighbors were outsiders deserving of ridicule and disdain. In fact, all the oceans in the world couldn't hold the rage Danny Tanner had for his daughter's best friend, Kimmy Gibbler.

Warner Bros. Television

Then there's poor Steve Urkel, the lonely, hypernerdy child whose parents have rejected him so hard that he has no choice but to scrounge the Winslows' home for food and companionship.

The adults of the biggest TGIF staples treated their kid neighbors like subhuman monsters, delivering interactions that have just about zero counterparts in the real world. If Kimmy Gibbler's parents knew how the men of the Tanner household treated their daughter, they would have locked their daughter up tight. Grown men should know better than to verbally spar with their daughter's friends.

On the other hand, while the trope of the wacky neighbor has been around forever, the TGIF lineup was only exaggerating something that we all are thinking deep down: People who don't live in our own house are different. Their clothes smell different because they use different detergent. They do their meatloaf wrong. When you sleep over, their house noises are freaky. Do you remember the excitement of getting permission for a sleepover, only to be completely weirded out by your friend's house and wanting to go home in the middle of the night?

Our own families get on our nerves, but at least they smell right. Maybe "right" isn't the best word. Familiar. They smell familiar. And our neighbors, no matter how nice and normal and great they are, aren't us. They're them. Obviously, this doesn't explain the popularity of Steve Urkel or why that character became the breakout star of Family Matters, but I have a feeling that explanation is never coming.

#1. The Whites from Breaking Bad Nailed Family Secrets

Sony Pictures Television

What You Remember:

All of it. It's all still in our hearts. For those of us still processing the life-changing behemoth that was Breaking Bad, our minds are stuck on Walt, Skyler, Hank, Jesse, and Badger. Which is fair, because those five were easily, hands down, without question, the most interesting characters on the show. Poor Walt Jr., forever relegated to the breakfast table and in the dark about just about everything going on around him.

Sony Pictures Television

What You Forgot:

Hell yeah, Walt Jr. was clueless about his parents and their meth-making, money-laundering ways. And that oblivious, painfully vacant look in his eyes is the exact one you would get if it occurred to you that maybe your own parents haven't been as clean living and honest as you once thought. Here's a fun experiment: Picture your own parents 20 years younger and having fun on a Friday night. Did a version of this pop into your head:

Marcelo Santos/Stone/Getty Images

Did you only erase a few grays and visually plop your parents down in front of the TV, but on a way '90sier couch? Deep down, we know that learning painful family secrets is actually the third worst thing that can happen to us, right after dying and slipping out of the seat on the loop of a roller coaster. Whether we're talking about our parents or our in-laws or our kids, we'd love it if everyone spent the rest of their lives in a rigid box that matches our ideals and expectations. If you're a millennial and your grandparents are baby boomers, there's an amazing chance your parents' parents did drugs in the past. Just snorted their way through the '70s willy-nilly. Are you going to go out of your way to find the evidence? NO. Are you going to pretend I never made the above statement and also that no one in your family has had sex ... ever?

And if you think about it, the difference between finding your relatives' seedy pasts compelling or horrifying is distance. If your great-grandfather was a gangster who worked for Al Capone and murdered people point blank, it's a cool party story. If your dad is a gangster affiliated with a Mexican drug cartel, you might want to keep that information on the down low. It's not only scary, but embarrassing in decent circles. That's why we try to avoid family secrets when the family in question is close to us. We just don't want to know.


Kristi is an editor and writer for Cracked. You can find more from her on Twitter.

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