I sat in a meeting with my two production partners a week ago. As we discussed the dynamics of the family relationship that we are developing for the upcoming series that we’ve dubbed “Happiness”, I felt to emphasis the significance of what we are doing. As the meeting concluded, I simply observed that in today’s media, there is nothing more important that we could be doing than to depict a real family.
Over the past couple weeks, I’ve come to some conclusions with respects to relationships and depictions of family life. I rather suspect that my partners had been praying for this, as we as a team are much more in harmony with direction that we are taking the project. Perhaps, one of the most important observations that has been made is how truly dynamic and vibrant family life is, or can be.
The depiction of mother as a vibrant central figure in any family is essential for any proper depiction of family life. The June Cleaver depiction of mother only begins to scratch the surface of a mother’s real role in the family. It is curious that mother is almost never depicted in a positive light in media. Many times she is void and absent; when present she is an obstacle — almost never is mom the glue and substance of family relationships. (Even as I am writing this post, my wife is tromping around the house with baby in arms, playing monster with the other boys, growling at them as they sneak up from behind a corner for her to “get them”. )
From a recent email:
Have you ever noticed how cartoon characters mimic the behaviors and actions of little children? The most engaging and sometimes defining attributes about cartoon characters are in actuality the attributes of little children. This said, the children of this family especially the younger ones need to be zany, outrageous, endearing, over-the-top, absolute, happy, loud, rambunctious, emotional, bi-polar, angry, sad, sincere, defeated, triumphant, jubilant, temperamental, energetic, delightful, vengeful, spontaneous, beautiful little children. This is a true depiction of children exploring and learning in a home environment.
I’ve not given much attention to the role of father, yet. We’ll do well to address this at some point in the preproduction process as well. A proper depiction of father is as pivotal to the successful depiction of wholesome family life as is that of mother, yet out of necessity, is not as frequent. However, where ever father is found during the day, and what he does with his day’s work is as important to the family’s well being as is mother’s more constant presence.
When the welfare of the family is made to be the focal point of the mother and father’s attentions, the family is made to become important. This is what we are aiming to depict, and this is the direction in which we are heading.