“AN AMERICAN FAMILY”— The First Reality Show

“An American Family”

The First Reality Show

Amos Lassen

The year 1973 brought us the first ever reality show, “An American Family”. Once a week we tuned into the Loud family and watched, among other things, a divorce and a coming-out story. Looking back at the show now, we see that it is still fascinating and relevant. I remember the controversy that surrounded the show, especially since I was already living away from the United States but friends kept me posted with weekly summaries. We eventually got the show in the Middle East and I had the chance to see for myself. The Loud family was severely criticized by the public as they came across as cold and unsympathetic although I don’t see that. This is what the American family was once like. The Louds shared the same fears the same joys and the same desires as other families and more than anything else, at this time in America, many families suffered from the inability to communicate.

It seems to me this was a sincere attempt to follow a family of ordinary people. The audience seemed fixated on the homosexuality of Lance, the oldest son. However, he did not dominate the series. We can classify the series as a cultural and sociological look at one American family.

Now that “An American Family” is available on DVD. We can all see it and at our own pace. As time passes the past becomes more fascination and there is a definite fascination with the Loud family.


Leave a Reply