Monday, 10 November 2008

What is normal?

The Wilkins family, 1974, From Reading.

I have been following the recent series, 'The Family' on  C4 wednesdays, although rather haphazardly and in the wrong order on the online  C4 player.

It sparked my interest because I can recall the first series upon which this one is seemingly based. Way back in 1974 it introduced  us to the Wilkins family and it was considered  groundbreaking at the time. It was probably the first fly on the wall documentary as it was refered to then or now as a reality programme. I was also interested as the family in this series live in Canterbury, my old home town before we upped sticks and moved north in 1996.

Both are hardworking and families in the traditional sense, with a mix of teenage and young adult children. 
What amazed me is that even though we have moved through nearly three and half decades, the behaviours,attitudes,  arguments and family dynamics were so strikingly similar!

I was also amazed to find myself saying  and admittedly so out loud,  variations on the phrase,

 'So we/they/he/she/us/I/ am/are normal then!?'  emphasised with much relief.

For instance;
Mum and Dad bickering over the kids - we are normal!
Mum muttering to herself that Dad was a soft touch with the kids and she was the 'bad guy' -so that's normal!
Mum sighing heavily A LOT! - So I'm normal then!
The kitchen a mess when Mum came home and she moaned on and on - That's normal then!
The dishwasher was always stacked badly/uneconomically/dirty washing on the floor etccccccc- that's normal then!
Dad slept on the couch a lot (during the day!)- He's normal then!
Dad?Mum complained he's tired/misundertood/hard done by, very often- He's normal then?
Daughters (16+) room looked like a landfill site - She's normal!
Son is 14 (same) lovable and unpredictably aloof- Its not me, he's normal!
Daughter and Mother clash in a range of hormonal rages- We are normal!
Mum shouted alot/ Kids mostly ignored her - Normal?
Parents chasing kids for evidence of homework - Way normal!
Son is mostly found in his darkened room hunched over  homework/laptop/phone/Empire magazine & Mother concerned about future spinal/social problems- This is normal!?
Sometimes like this evening, I am in our bedroom on my laptop, husband is in living room working on his business laptop, son is in his room playing his guitar (attempting Tubular bells), daughter has been napping in bed (its 7pm) and is now doing her homework, we are all apart, but together. This is normal!

The Hughes family 2008, from Canterbury, Kent

I am reassured! So I'm normal then? Ummmm.......


  1. A similar show on American TV (perhaps the idea was "stolen" from you folks?) was called "An American Family". It starred the Loud Family from Santa Barbara, California. The eldest son, Lance Loud, was openly gay (shocking, at the time.) It is considered a milestone in American TV history, for better or for worse :-)

  2. I have missed this but must catch up. I need to find out if we are normal too ;)

  3. I was going to say what suldog said about the Loud Family..I think the show caused them to get a divorce..perfectly normal then...

  4. Take it from me - yes, you're normal!

    And I'd like to answer the comment you posted on my blog about 15 minutes ago ....

    If you don't mind, leave me another comment with your email address - and then remove the comment as soon as it's posted.

    That way, no one else can see your email address except me - and I'll send you the answer.

  5. I think you are as normal as they come. But you're right to ask; what is normal? Does anyone really know? We all perceive the world in different way yet underneath our individual exteriors, we are one of the same.

    CJ xx

  6. I think as long as we are all breathing and upright, that is normal!!!

  7. Seems pretty normal to me, hon, but then I have selective memory.

  8. THanks for the comment on my blog. I think all of us with kids in the house regardless of the ages, ask ourselves the question "Is this normal?" all too frequently. I've never seen the Loud Family series mentioned here by Suldog and Rambling Woods but currently, we watch a program that follows the life of a young couple with a set of twins -age 6-7 and sextuplets, who are now 3 years old -quite an interesting show -"Jon and Kate plus Eight" and my 5-year-old granddaughter absolutely adores this program -even has a video of the show which she watches every night when she goes to bed!

  9. I have never seen The Loud family but saw commercials on it. From what you have said... yes indeed"Normal"

  10. The top photo is astoundingly gruesome.
    I know that is what we all looked like back then.......but Oh dear............
    Fashions change( thank heavens!) but the human heart doesn't.

  11. ps I noticed you mentioned me in David's McMahon's comments.
    You are very kind. Will add you to my blog roll.

  12. I remember the first one but haven't watched the present one. From what you say I guess we're all normal! :)


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