Shows like Baby Daddy (June 2012) and The Fosters (June 2013) reflect the new American family of single fathers and lesbian interracial couples raising diverse groups of foster children. In 2006 the television incorporated the slogan “A New Kind of Family”, an initiative that first appeared to show more riskier family entertainment but now shows a broader range of family types.
ABC Family’s Baby Daddy premiered June 20th 2012 and since then has had two seasons and 16 episodes. New episodes debut every Wednesday at 8:30 during ABC Family’s “all new comedy Wednesday’s”. The series is surrounded around single dad; Ben Wheeler (Jean-Luc Bilodeau) as he and his two male roommates portrayed by Tahj Mowry and Derek Theler try to raise a baby with the help of Ben’s mother Bonnie Wheeler (Melissa Peterman) and best friend from childhood Riley (Chelsea Kane).
While the show is enclosed in the humor of 20 something men raising a baby, it says a lot more about the new facet of parents. Ben is stuck raising his daughter, which he did not know he had after the mother drops the baby in her own self discovering that she is not ready to raise a child on her own. Despite having conceived the baby in a one night stand and everyone around him saying that he couldn’t do it, Ben decides to take responsibility for his child. While there are a lot of deadbeat fathers out there, the new generation of unplanned pregnancies has really been stepping up to take care of their offspring.
The Fosters, one of ABC Family’s newest summer hits, gives a look inside the home of a not so typical foster family ran by a lesbian interracial couple. The series produced by Jennifer Lopez’s production company Nuyorican Productions follows the lives of Lena Adams (Sherri Saum) and Stef Foster (Teri Polo) as they raise five children one biological and the other four adopted. The first sets of adopted children are Latina twins portrayed by Cierra Ramirez and Jake T. Austin.
In this very diverse household audiences are invited to several different communities and learn the various ways they are viewed by both those inside and outside their communities. The lesbian couple faces issues of their children being taunted about growing up in household of two mothers.
The African-American mother who is also biracial deals with being ridiculed by her own mother and accused of having opportunities that darker women do not have, while she tries to throw a Quinceañera for her Latina daughter who has lived outside of her own culture all her life.
ABC Family is to be applauded for portraying the intricate lives of such diverse families. In an age where money and ratings are a top priority it is refreshing to see a major television network represent the changing dimensions of the American family. I support ABC Family’s original series because there are few networks that have tried to break the mold and show a world of more than what is projected to work on American audiences.