The two faces of ABC Family

My name is Jen. I am 40 years old, and I watch ABC Family. Regularly. My husband might even say religiously.

They hooked me with Greek, and I’ve been coming back for non-age-appropriate entertainment ever since.

The thing that is weird about ABC Family is that they seem to be two networks. There is the socially responsible network that lives the mission “A new kind of family.” Show that fulfill this mission include Switched at Birth, Bunheads, and The Fosters. I also think that is what they were trying to accomplish with the painfully bad but still addictive Secret Life of the American Teenager.

I love how these shows give us insight into people and worlds we wouldn’t normally experience, but that are grounded in reality. I feel like I know a ton more about deaf culture because of Switched at Birth. The show navigates the deaf and hearing worlds and shows the positive and negative in each.

The Fosters, which I almost didn’t watch when I first heard Jennifer Lopez was attached, is proof that families can be created in many different ways and that parents can love children deeply no matter how they came together. I love the mix of biological, adopted, and foster children, and I love that the family has two moms. How amazing for kids who have two moms (or two dads) to see a family like theirs that isn’t treated as an anomaly or played for comic effect.

And Bunheads. My beloved Bunheads. Beyond the obvious comparisons with Gilmore Girls, one of my favorite shows of all time, it also brings real teenagers to the forefront. These girls have actual teenage problems, dress like actual teenagers, and navigate actual teenage situations.

And then there are the other shows. Pretty Little Liars, The Lying Game, and The Fosters, which seem to glorify parents and teens doing bad things. These shows are in distinct contrast to the other three dramas I mentioned. I know that Pretty Little Liars is the channel’s ratings winner, and I do watch it. After however many seasons it’s been on, I want to find out who the eff A is just as much as the next person.

The Lying Game started out fun, but it has twisted into kind of a mess.

And Twisted didn’t grab me when they ran that sneak preview a few months back, and my summer viewing lens was no more forgiving of its flaws and annoyances.

What do you think. Does ABC Family’s split personality bug you? Or do you even notice?

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  1. I’ve got this problem with The CW. I watch way more of its line-up than I’d really like to admit to.

    As for ABCFamily, I used to have this problem, dating back to the days of Kyle XY and The Middleman. I gradually fell out of the habit though and the only thing left that I really keep track of is Bunheads.


    Jennifer Roland Reply:

    If it weren’t for ABC Family and the CW, I would have very little to watch on TV. I have such a weakness for teen-targeted drama. It is probably a sickness.


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