An American Family Essay

Submitted By nancy1228
Words: 414
Pages: 2

An American Family, a social experiment that unintentionally spawned the entire genre of reality television and challenged ideas about what the average family was supposed to be. This was the original”Real World”. The show was a weekly documentary which followed the real life of a Santa Barbara couple with five teenagers who allowed a film crew into their home for seven months. The show picked up lots of interesting footage, including an on-camera divorce demand from wife pat to her husband, and the coming- out of one the children who was gay. An American family can arguably be a model for American culture or possibly a gauge in the temperature of what American culture looks like. In American Family there is a scene where one of the young men is talking about California and how he feels about it. Just the use of his language or the words in which he chooses gives the audience an idea of the language that was used during that time period. Another example of this is when the family visits the art gallery.
An American Family challenged traditional forms of documentaries and violated viewer’s expectations of what a documentary was supposed to be about. The way in which this show is shot and edited also gives is more of a narrative feel than a documentary style. the way the it is broken into different episodes especially the time period of the 1970’s would make it seem more of a narrative as during that time there weren’t many shows to compare its different, documentary style to. The show is