Sunday, February 19, 2017

Top 10 Fictional Families

This can be somewhat considered as a sequel to my series on fictional ensembles.  For while I was making those four lists, I consciously avoided including any families, since I thought they deserve a list of their own.  This is that list.

Just as families are the most basic unit of society, families are also the most basic ensembles in fiction.  Thus, there are dozens and dozens of notable fictional families.  For this list, to narrow the pool down, only literal families (i.e. kin of each other, or at least functioning in accordance with the traditional definition) are considered, while thematic families (e.g. the Bat-Family, Vongola Famiglia) aren’t.  Moreover, priorities are given to those that are the most “nuclear” or “immediate” (per the words’ definition in relation to the context of family).

Honoroble Mentions:  The Sons (Dragon Ball Z), The Griffins (Family Guy), The Sungcals (Pugad Baboy), The Thornberrys (The Wild Thornberrys), The March Family (Little Women), The Munsters (The Munsters)

I rewatched The Stupids last year.  I chuckled but barely laughed.  It was hard for me to imagine that, as a kid, I thought it was immensely hilarious and worth rewatching several times (which I did).  Nevertheless, I let them have the tenth spot over the Munsters due to the reason that there was a time that I really believed their name-embodying behavior is the funniest thing ever.

The current main continuity Peter Parker a.k.a. Spider-Man has been unmarried since the godawful “One More Day” retcon.  Of course, there are a couple of alternate realities in the Marvel Universe wherein Spider-Man has a family (the most popular one is probably in MC2 a.k.a. Earth-982, where Pete and MJ have a daughter named Mayday Parker, who grew up to become Spider-Girl).

The latest Parker family is my most favorite.

First introduced as one of the fragmented realities that consisted Battleworld during Secret Wars, the universe of Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows features Pete and MJ married and having a daughter named Annie May, who inherited her father’s spider powers.  In addition, this version of MJ has a power suit reversed engineered by Pete that mimics Spidey’s powers.  Thus, both wife (who names herself “Spinneret”) and daughter (named by Pete, part jokingly, as “Spiderling”) stubbornly insist of assisting Pete whenever he goes web-slinging as a superhero, much to his initial opposition.  But the whole dynamic is extremely delightful, making Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows as my second favorite Spider title at the present (first is Spider-Man/Deadpool).

Meanwhile, over at DC, Superman is also maintaining a family.

The current Superman in DC’s main continuity, “The New 52 Universe”, is not the New 52 Superman at all but the pre-New 52 Superman.  He and his wife, the pre-New 52 Lois Lane, are able to conceive a son, Jon, during the multiversal mega-event Convergence.  In its aftermath, they enter the “beginning” of the New 52 Universe, where they live secretly for nine years.  But after the death of New 52 Superman, pre-New 52 Superman takes his place.  Jon discovers his origin, which eventually leads to him to become the new Superboy, be mentored by his father, and develop a friendly rivalry with Damien Wayne (current Robin, and Batman’s biological son).  Meanwhile, pre-New 52 Lois decides to live the life of New 52 Lois Lane, who has also recently met her demise.

All these things make their family complex and fascinating, and a significant reason why reading Superman comics are extremely exciting right now.

This is a no-brainer for anyone who has watched the classic musical film The Sound of Music (which is a fictional portrayal of the real-life von Trapp family).

The charm of the Flintstones as a family is how their anachronistic “Stone Age” everyday lives – including their interactions with their next-door neighbors/bestfriends, the Rubbles – serve as both a parody and commentary of modern society (particularly that of a 20th century context, when the animated series initially ran).  The ongoing comic book series from DC brilliantly brings the concept to the next level.

The Jetsons basically offers the same thing that The Flintstones does – only, instead of a Stone Age family, the focus is on a Space Age family.  As a kid, I liked the Jetsons family a bit more than the Flintstones because I was more fascinated with the futuristic setting they’re in.

I haven’t watched the original The Addams Family TV series, but I did watch the animated series and the live-action movies as a kid.  And I quite enjoyed them – even now, I still do whenever I rewatch them.  I simply love the idea of a satirical macabre, monster-themed family.  (And my fondness for this family was what also led me to enjoy a similarly conceptualized fictional family: the Munsters).

The Swiss Family Robinson was one of the novels that I enjoyed reading over and over again when I was a kid and a teen (I usually read it back-to-back with Robinson Crusoe).  There’s just something specially endearing about a shipwrecked family having adventures and building a great domestic life for themselves in a strange desert island (where there’s a geographically impossible variety of plant and animal species), while Christian values are learned along the way.

As the titular family of the longest-running TV series of all time (and still ongoing!), which also happens to be one of my most favorite animated series ever, the Simpsons deserve a high spot in this list.   During the show’s peak, this family was able to make me laugh harder than all the other comedic families in this list put together.

The Incredibles is considered by many (me included) as the best Fantastic Four movie ever made so far.  Though that’s technically incorrect, they completely captured the essence of Fantastic Four: a family first, a superhero team second.  On the other hand, the three live-action adaptations of FF so far (with the latest one ending up being one of the worst comic book movies ever made) have all failed in giving justice to the material.

The appeal of the Parrs/Incredibles may not be necessarily derived from a formula originally theirs.  But they have definitely perfected it – effectively making them the best family in fiction in my book.

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