Family Redefined: Meet “THE FOSTERS”

Good Thursday Morning, to you! Almost the weekend, any exciting plans on your part? Is it just me, or does this week seem to have gone by relatively quickly? Of course, I could be imagining things! Anyhow, as I mentioned yesterday, over the past month and half (almost two, at this point), I’ve become particularly taken and enthralled with the new ABC Family TV series, “The Fosters.” It is one of the most intelligent, honest and real television programs I’ve seen in awhile, plus the acting in my opinion, is top-knotch. However, before I delve into my perspective on the show, I’d like to share with you my breakfast picks this AM; it’s one I am particularly excited to share with you!

Breakfast (Thursday, July 25, 2013):

1 container Yoplait Light White Chocolate Strawberry (Initially, when I purchased this flavor of yogurt, I was excited because of the name of the yogurt flavor, but didn’t really expect it to taste as it sounded. Well, I’m proud to report after consuming it, it definitely held true to it’s flavor name! I couldn’t believe how much it actually tasted like white chocolate mixed with strawberry! The flavor wasn’t overpowering, but it was satisfying and creamy. I highly recommend it, if you haven’t tried it yet.)

1 cup Barbara’s Bakery Peanut Butter/Chocolate Puffins (NEW FLAVOR! Yes, this flavor has been on the market for about a year or so, or maybe slightly more, but never have I purchased it, until a couple weeks ago! Today, I tried it for the first time and was pleased! The chocolate Puffins taste reminiscent of a dark chocolate and combines well with the peanut butter Puffins scattered throughout. It’s a satisfying balance of both flavors and one I thoroughly enjoyed, mixed with the yogurt. It can be challenging to find this flavor of Puffins in the grocery store, but if you have difficulty, I encourage you, don’t give up! I was able to find these on the shelves at Wegmans, but if you don’t have a Wegmans by you, keep looking, I think you’ll find it!)

1 cup Special K Red Berries (This morning, I polished off the box and it didn’t quite fill the cup, so I topped it off with a little Special K Multigrain Flakes; Special K love all around!)

1 Banana (It seems I’m having a good week with the bananas. Today, I maintained my good banana fortune, as this one followed suit and was ideally sweet and flavorful!)

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Back to today’s musing: ABC Family’s “The Fosters.” Before I share with you my perspective and take on the program, I figured I would fill you in on some of the overall basics (i.e. air time, network, cast/crew, etc), so that you are familiar with what and who I’ll be discussing, if you aren’t already familiar:

Premiere Date: Monday, June 3, 2013

TV Network: ABC Family

Date and Time: Mondays at 9pm, EST

Created By: Jennifer Lopez and Simon Fields as Co-Executive Producers; Lopez’s Production Company – Nuyorican Productions; Peter Paige and Brad Bredeweg as Co-Creators and Writers.

Main Characters (there are several recurring supporting characters which I have not listed below):

  • Callie Jacob (Maia Mitchell): Older sister to Jude Jacob, newest addition to the Foster family with Jude.
  • Mariana Foster (Cierra Ramirez): Formerly of ABC Family’s, “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,sister to Jesus Foster.
  • Jesus Foster (Jake T. Austin): Brother to Mariana Foster.
  • Brandon Foster (David Lambert): Son of divorced couple Stef Foster and Mike Foster.
  • Stef Foster (Teri Polo): Formerly of the “Meet the Parents” fame (Ben Stiller’s wife); Police Officer; biological mother of Brandon, ex-wife of Mike Foster, romantic partner to Lena Adams, foster/adoptive mother to Jesus, Mariana, Callie and Jude.
  • Lena Adams (Sherri Saum): Charter school principal; Foster/adoptive parent of Jesus, Mariana, Callie, Jude and Brandon; romantic partner to Stef Foster.
  • Mike Foster (Danny Nucci): A Police Officer, Stef’s ex-husband, biological father of Brandon Foster.

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To start, “The Fosters” can be described as a controversial television program replacing the also controversial, “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” a staple on the ABC Family network for a number of years, airing Mondays at 9pm EST (season finale – August 5). The new TV series features a lesbian couple, together for 10 years (i.e. Lena Adams, Charter School Principal and Stef Foster, a Police Officer who works alongside her ex-husband, whom she had a teenage son with). The show offers a sense of realism and a genuine quality, which I feel many people today, can relate to, on certain levels. The topics are often raw and exposed; issues are confronted and addressed, many of which typically are not, especially on a television network such as ABC Family. However, through the years, first with “Greek,” then with “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” and now, with “The Fosters,” the ABC Family Network is without question or contemplation holding true to its tagline – “A new kind of family.

When I think about it, “The Fosters,” is truly an accurate depiction of what a modern family might actually be, today. It depicting an alternative to what one might label as a “traditional family,” with two parents – a mother (female) and a father (male) and children. This television program raises the bar and proudly depicts two women as long-term romantic partners, establishing a family and lifestyle, with children, both biological (for Stef) and adopted (or fostered) for both. The mothers, Lena and Stef, are affectionate and loving not only with each other, but their children, as they frequently maintain open lines of communication and hold conversations with each child/teenager, no matter how difficult or uncomfortable it may initially be. The topics on the program are as controversial and unique as the composition of the family, but to me, all of the above is quite refreshing and eye-opening to see. It’s not always easy or desired to see a “traditional” family on-screen, as all around us the world is consistently changing, evolving and adapting. Family is no longer a word, phrase or relationship prompting one to conjure an image solely of a male/female partners and their children. Rather, family is now a figurative term, or at least to me it is. A family can be a group of friends, or partners, no matter their gender. To me, what defines a family are the connections they establish and whether they feel they can trust, rely on, and support one another.

This television program exposes and airs out the issues and topics other shows and television networks appear fearful of discussing and airing. They are issues that often might cause people to turn away or turn a blind eye, out of discomfort or fear. However, “The Fosters,” is truly raising the bar and in turn, making people talk. It poses questions and reveals truths that are far beyond what other television programs have done in the past. If you’re not familiar with the program, or have never seen an episode, you might be wondering what types of “issues” or situations,” I am referring to. These issues include: rape, homosexuality, illegal immigration, racism, and a host of others. They are not “tip-toed” around, rather they are discussed in their plain, shear form; there are no “band-aids” placed over these instances or words.

Of course, “The Fosters,may not be for everyone; this is a truth I’ve come to realize. It is truly a show of “the changing times,” to say the least and plainly put. Some show situations/topics are heavy, emotionally-charged and can be difficult or uncomfortable to watch, or perhaps for some individuals they simply don’t want to have watch what they might have personally experienced. In my opinion, television can often be used as a form of escapism, a chance for people to indulge in lives and experiences dissimilar from theirs, or a chance for them to watch something on-screen which they know is completely unrealistic. If that is the type of television one might be searching for, then naturally, this may not be the television program for them and that’s okay.  In saying this, I felt it was important for me to at least comment on my thoughts on “The Fosters,” in that I often resort to television both for escapism and for my mind to be stimulated, or at least to have generated thoughts within my mind. Looking at “The Fosters,” it is evident that television as we know it is changing. Sometime soon, all I am speaking of may appear fairly commonplace. Perhaps the “traditional family,image we conjure will no longer be so traditional after all. The new traditional may be that which is truly anyone (gender-irrelevant, blood-related, adopted, foster-parented or not).

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For me, personally, I have to applaud executive producer Jennifer Lopez and the team at ABC Family for having the bravery, courage and moxie to air and write a show as intelligent and honest as, “The Fosters.” It is a breath of fresh air and quite honestly, about time someone and something has stepped forward to televise a program such as this.

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QUESTION: Have you ever watched “The Fosters?” What is your personal definition of “family?”

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One thought on “Family Redefined: Meet “THE FOSTERS”

  1. I absolutely love this post! I have to agree with you on The Fosters. I think it’s one of my favorite new shows on tv. I think the acting is great and I love that they took a risk with the storyline. I don’t think there is a perfect picture of a family. I think the show does a great job of showing how the definition of a family is changing with the times.

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