The Fosters on ABC Family, is a family based—teen drama that has had four successful seasons, and counting. But, it is not just another teen drama, there are quite a few things about this show that are unique and that stand out. One of those things, is the fact that the two main characters of the show Stef and Lena, are a lesbian couple, who are married and raising their children. Stef was married to a man, Mike, had a son with him, and divorced him once she met Lena and fell in love with her. That is one example of a topic that other shows may not necessarily focus on, and in this show especially, the role of gay pride is very prominent.
The other “issue” that is focused on in this show, is the foster care system. All of the children that Stef and Lena have (with the exception of one,) are adopted and went through the foster care system at one point. They have twins Mariana and Jesus, who were living in their home as foster children at the age of six, and were formally adopted by them at eleven years old. Now, before they were foster children of Stef and Lena, they were in the foster care system because their birth mother was a drug addict, and their birth father was a convicted sex offender. The twins show an example of what some real issues children may face in the foster care system before they are lucky enough to get adopted.
The other two children that they adopt are biological brother and sister, Callie and Jude. That is how the show began, and for the first season, it was centered around if they would now want to adopt these two after they fostered them for quite some time. Callie struggles with dealing with being a troubled teen being placed in and out of juvy because of the failed foster homes she was previously in. Overall, the Fosters family (Stef, Lena, Callie, Jude, Mariana, and Jesus,) are all just trying to live with normal teenage problems but with somewhat different circumstances because of where they come from.
Stef and Lena have shown time and time again to be nothing but accepting parents. Jude recently came out as a gay character and they accepted him with open arms (obviously,) but they have also accepted anything that the children have faced in their school lives, and with their friendships.
So why has this show been so successful for the past four seasons? One probably because everyone loves a good ole’ team drama that really keeps you on your toes every week. However, its success probably goes much deeper than that. It has a lot to do with the fact that the writers of this show were not afraid to take a leap of faith and write about the “controversial” issues that families face today.
Gay marriage is the most obvious one (although much more accepted now,) but aside from that, the issue that is the foster care system.
In one of the lines of the show, Callie says the words “the system is broken,” and unfortunately if you are not experiencing it or know someone who is apart of it, it is hard to see that that is pretty true. It is hard for children to get adopted (which they show with Callie’s troubling adoption,) and it is also hard when children go from one bad foster home to the next (which they also show with each of the children before they live with the Fosters themselves.)
These real life issues and experiences happen every day, and when a television show can get on board and put that on a screen, on a network that families tune into every week, it is bound to make a stand.