Every now and again, a new show comes along and reflects the changes being made in society. They may seem controversial at first, but they can also be considered trailblazers and trend-setters. Freeform champions diversity with its hit drama The Fosters executive produced by Jennifer Lopez.
The story follows the Foster family, a cop and a school administrator, raising a multi-ethnic household that includes one biological and four adopted children. The couple faces unique challenges as they are lesbians. Debuting in 2013, the progressive series has been pushing the envelope ever since. While quietly hiding under the radar, this hidden gem is worth the discovery.
Winner of two GLAAD Media Awards, @Fosters not only garners a lot of critical acclaim, it also represents an often ignored community. There aren’t that many dramas headlined by a gay or lesbian family with children. Often enough, the LGBT minority is usually reflected in a co-starring role or comedic relief. With Freeform’s drama, the emphasis is on ‘family’. Plain and simple.
@Fosters also receives a lot of acclaim from its audience, receiving good ratings for the specialty channel, as well as winning a Teen Choice Award for Breakout Drama and earning a nomination for Best Drama every season since. The stars were also nominated for Best Male and Best Female performances.
Talking about the show’s conception, creator Bradley Bredeweg said, “We realized that there was a kind of vacuum when it came to stories about women raising families. So we set off in that direction. Many of our own friends are moms raising biological kids. Some of them have fostered and adopted. Suddenly, we realized that we had a story here that hadn’t been told on television before.”
By focusing on a position of authority, the series automatically makes its mark by shining the spotlight on your typical cop family. While a lot of shows demonstrate what the life of police is like, they don’t often highlight a female officer, let alone a lesbian one. Stef Foster (Teri Polo) is married to Lena Adams (Sherri Saum), who is a vice principal. Together they raise a rather large family, consisting of Stef’s biological son, adopted twins and two foster children who they saved from an abusive situation.
The show is set in a San Diego suburb, but also spends a lot of time at the Community Charter School where Lena works and the kids attend classes. Stef’s partner on the beat is also her ex-husband and father of her child. The series shows how the dynamics shift in the complex relationships in the family. Since most of the children are in their teenage years, the couple have a lot raging hormones and confusing emotions to deal with.
For some viewers, it will quickly be apparent that a LGBT couple faces the exact same troubles they do. Hopefully, a show like #Fosters helps the audience at home get a little closer to a community they may not have any experience with. The connection formed as viewers overcome the obstacles alongside the characters is invaluable. As with any good drama, the more the audience spends time with them, the more they feel their struggle and relate their own lives to those on screen. There are also some unique hurdles to clear, like Stef’s son falling for his foster sister.
While there are some easy comparisons to make to the mainstream hit Modern Family, that award winning series is more focused on the comedy and the morals aren’t as valued as they are with Freeform’s #Fosters. A better comparison would be a less cheesy, less wholesome version of the preachy hit 7th Heaven. The drama here is a bit more hard hitting with a focus on realism. A family show at its core, a positive message is the underlying focus.
When it comes to family dramas, there are slim pickings. The award winning The Fosters is smart enough for adults, even though it’s aimed at the young adult audience. The series has an impressive overall 8.1 rating at IMDB and is certified ‘Fresh’ with 91% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Who is your favorite Foster? What was your favorite episode of The Fosters? What kind of LGBT conflict would you like to see represented next?
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