The Bluths ( Art Streiber / TM and Copyright © 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved / Courtesy Everett …
Family Day is nearly upon us, so what better time to reflect on television's greatest households than a rundown of the greatest fictional TV families? Sure, Feb. 18 is (apparently) reserved for spending quality time with those you love best, but who says those people aren't also actors in syndicated series. This Family Day, you can have it all.
From the families of yesteryear to the "Modern" families of today, here are our 10 favourite.
1. The Bluths -- "Arrested Development"
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more dysfunctional, outlandish, and negligent family in real life or on television -- but the Kardashians sure come close. Thankfully, the Bluths return to TV via Netflix this year, so we can begin a new chapter of counting Lucille's drinks, and how many pairs of cut-offs Tobias wears.
2. The Crawleys -- "Downton Abbey"
Where the Bluths are outlandishly dysfunctional, the Crawleys prefer a subtle, classier approach. However, while suburban parents of today may still want to see their kids married, they -- unlike the Crawleys -- won't pawn off their daughters to cousins (Matthew Crawley) or prevent them from marrying chauffeurs (Branson). But at least there's grandma: if not for the quips of the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith), the Crawleys would undoubtedly spend their whole lives without a reality check.
3. The Conners -- "Roseanne"
Roseanne Barr created TV perfection via the fictional Connors, who showed the importance of hard work, communication, understanding, and above all, acceptance. Despite money problems and teen daughter drama, Roseanne's clan still stuck together, while Barr herself broke barriers for women in television. Also, Darlene (Melissa Gilbert) obviously ruled.
4. The Dunphys/Pritchetts -- "Modern Family"
Let's face it: wacky hijinks aside, The Dunphys gave face to realistic family units. (That, and we figured that if we didn't list them, we'd be banned from The Modern Family Awards The Emmys for life.
5. The Huxtables -- "The Cosby Show"
If the idea of having Claire (Phylicia Rashad) and Cliff (Bill Cosby) Huxtable as parents isn't a dream, then how about having someone like Denise (Lisa Bonet) as a big sister? Thanks to well-rounded children, understanding adults, and Denise's wardrobe, too-perfect families like the Bradys were put to shame -- especially since "The Cosby Show" is both adult and kid-friendly.
6. The Simpsons -- "The Simpsons"
It would hardly be a "best family" list without the presence of Homer, Marge, Lisa, Bart, and Maggie -- particularly since the animated clan have found themselves on more adventures than most families experience throughout several generations. However, no matter how busy they are, they always make time for what's important: TV. Or at the very least, sitting on the couch long enough for the series' opening credits.
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5. The Whites -- "Breaking Bad"
"Best" doesn't always mean "family you want to be a part of," and in the case of Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and friends, "best" absolutely means "family you can't stop watching." It takes a big man to sell meth to provide for his family, but quite a small man to put that same family in danger when his ego eclipses his original plan. But as long as he's home in time for breakfast with Walter Jr. (RJ Mitte), right?
The Gilmores: Lorelai and Rory (The CW / Courtesy Everett Collection)
4. The Gilmores -- "The Gilmore Girls"
Mother-daughter bonds are important, and thanks to Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel) Gilmore, audiences understood that. True, their relationship often crossed into overshare territory thanks to date and relationship details, but they had each other's backs when the going got tough -- one witty quip after another.
3. The Cohens -- "The O.C."
Teens of the aughts wanted nothing more than a Cohen lifestyle, in which a mother's excessive wealth allowed for utmost privilege, and a father's humour allowed for sarcasm and an interest in indie music. Seth Cohen (Adam Brody), you had it all.
2. The Keatons -- "Family Ties"
It's rare to find a real middle-class family working to raise their children as responsible members of society, let alone one on television, but thank you, Keatons. While their kids went through the trials and tribulations of teen-hood (like battling a brief speed addiction -- yes you, Alex (Michael J. Fox)), Steven (Michael Gross) and Elyse (Meredith Baxter-Birney) still kept trying, ending up with some very well-rounded kids in the end.
1. The Taylors -- "Home Improvement"
The Taylors were a pretty standard TV family until Jill (Patricia Richardson) opted out of housewife life and pursued her dream of becoming a psychologist. From there, Jill and Tim (Tim Allen) began parenting on equal ground, all with the help of the backyard-dwelling Wilson. We do think so, Tim.