7 Dysfunctional Television Families You Would Want To Live With Never

Dysfunctional Television Families

Dysfunctional television families are popular shows on television. They provide entertainment and drama. While some families are more dysfunctional than others, all of them have issues. Some are lazy, others are spiteful, and still others are just plain ignorant. But one thing these television families have in common is that they are entertaining for many reasons. Here are 7 of the most dysfunctional families on television.

7 of the Most Dysfunctional Television Families

HBO / Vanity Fair

1. The Lannisters - Game of Thrones

The Lannisters’ dysfunction goes way back. Where do I start? Jaime and his twin sister, Cersei Lannister, are very “close.” They have an incestuous relationship and have three children who they attribute to Cersei’s husband. Like the other members of their family, they will do anything to keep their secrets concealed. All manner of criminal behavior occurs in this family.

Their younger brother Tyrion has a very toxic relationship with their father Tywin, who despises his son because he’s a dwarf and his wife died giving birth to him. Game of Thrones is probably the most dysfunctional of all the shows listed here. The Lannisters are out there, and their extended family, allies, and enemies do not disappoint with their own dysfunction. 


2. The Bluths - Arrested Development

The Bluths are proof that even wealthy families can be dysfunctional. Well, they used to be wealthy. They lost their fortune but continue to act as if though they haven’t. The patriarch George Bluth Sr. is a real estate developer arrested for his corrupt practices. 

George continues to manipulate and try to control his family from prison. His wife and mother of their children, Lucille, is a manipulative problem drinker who is very critical of her family. Their son Michael, the normal one, tries to hold the family together. But the undermining behavior, borderline mental health issues, poor communication issues, and codependency of his family members makes it a challenging job.


3. The Archers - Archer

Archer is not your child’s cartoon. It’s an animated sitcom that centers on an international intelligence agency. The main character, Sterling Archer, is a narcissist who constantly seeks his mother Malory’s approval. She left him alone to be raised by their butler when he was a child while she worked as a spy. To say that Archer has mommy issues is an understatement.

Malory Archer is emotionally abusive to Sterling. She is very critical of him and everyone else. Malory and Sterling send sly comments and negative energy to each other all the time. They take joy in unsettling one another. Both of the Archers abuse alcohol and have difficulty maintaining relationships. The remaining members of the agency also lead dysfunctional lives, which makes for entertaining television. 


4. The St. Patricks - Power

Power showcases James “Ghost” St. Patrick, who is a high-ranking drug dealer who owns a nightclub. He’s cheating on his wife Tasha, his partner in crime who’s also cheating. Tasha helped Ghost build his illegal empire. Now, Ghost wants to go legitimate, and it is creating tension between him and Tasha and their partner Tommy.

Though Tasha and Ghost tried to shield their children from a life of crime, it still affects them. An enemy of her father kills their daughter Raina. Her twin brother Tariq enters the criminal life to spite his father and avenge his sister. Tariq later kills his father, and his mother takes the blame and is sentenced to prison. That’s just the St. Patrick family. Power has so many dysfunctional family elements in the other characters, you could conduct a research study about them.


5. The Lyons - Empire

Empire follows the lives and calculated moves of the Lyon family. Though the family is highly successful and wealthy, they are dysfunctional and toxic in many ways, starting with the tumultuous relationship between the mother and father Cookie and Lucious Lyons. The two fell in love as teenagers growing up in a tough neighborhood. This is where their dysfunction begins. Both Cookie and Lucious have issues with their mothers who were physically or mentally absent.

Lucious sold drugs to make ends meet and finance his music career. Cookie gets caught with drugs, takes the blame, and spends 17 years in prison for Lucious. Lucious goes on to build Empire Records and raise their three sons, who all have issues. The eldest son suffers from bipolar disorder, the youngest is spoiled and sleeps with his father’s fiancee, and the middle son is confused about where his loyalty lies with his family. With many dramatic moments and lots of delightful music, Empire will certainly entertain you.


6. The Gallaghers - Shameless

One sign of a dysfunctional family is when a parent has substance abuse problems. In Shameless, father of six, Frank Gallagher, is a drug addict and an alcoholic. He’s always drunk and at the bar, drinking away the little money his family has. Frank comes from a dysfunctional home and resents his mother, Peggy, who is abusive. Frank is a schemer who collects disability and will take advantage of and manipulative others to get what he wants. 

Frank calls Children Protective Services on his daughter Fiona because she kicks him out of the house. The Gallagher children are placed in foster care, and Fiona wins full custody of them. The Gallagher children have inherited their father’s dysfunction. Ian suffers from bipolar disorder and Carl sells drugs and ends up going to juvenile jail. Lip is highly intelligent, but is reckless and over drinks, and Debbie is a troubled teen mother who makes impulsive decisions that negatively affect her life. Shameless really shows how devastating a parent’s addiction is to his family and the nasty effects of generational dysfunction.

7. The Drapers - Mad Men

Don Draper, patriarch, is not really Don Draper. Let the dysfunction begin! Don grew up with his prostitute alcoholic mother. He enlisted in the Korean War and stole a new identity to get an early release. He hid this from his wife and children. Don was married three times and was a true womanizer, having many mistresses throughout the show’s run.

Don is a workaholic and an alcoholic who doesn’t value his wife, Betty. Betty’s children don’t like her, and that, combined with Don’s constant cheating, contributes to her depression and mental health issues. Betty is often cruel and has an inappropriate relationship with a young neighbor. The Drapers look like a stable family to the outside world. But their home life leaves much to be desired and explains why they’re so many Mad Men, women, and children.

Dysfunctional families make for great television. They allow the viewers to step away from their own family problems. The issues dysfunctional television families experience on screen are often exaggerated for entertainment and make real dysfunctional families look loving and ideal.

But if you ever actually live with one of these TV families, beware: the dysfunction will be real. It’s a good thing it’s make believe. While they may not be ideal to live with, dysfunctional television families are interesting to watch.

As engaging and entertaining as dysfunctional television families are, this is a very real issue for many families. Many people are looking for help and a way out of unhealthy homes and relationships.

To learn more about changing your life for the better and letting go of the pain of your past, pick up a copy of my book Choosing to Stop the Madness: Overcoming Toxic Family Patterns. I describe how I ended cycles of abuse and unhealthy parenting in my adult life. I can show you how to do the same in yours.

I believe in using words to heal and absorb our pain. My journal Stop the Madness: Overcome Toxic Family Patterns Journal will help you reflect on your past and plan for your future. Pick up a copy today.

If you feel you need the help of a therapist to help you with issues such as relationships, stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and even weight loss, reach out to Online-Therapy.com for support.

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