Family Life and Television: Critical Essay

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The media portrays family life in different ways while sometimes showing what ideal families should look like, how parents should treat and relate with their children, and the behavior between spouses. Research is being widely carried out to capture the most detailed description of family life, family structure, and the diversity in which the media is portraying what a family is. The way in which media portrays family life and interactions depends on the way it is programmed. Most Tv series, comedies, movies, novels, and dramas try to feature family life in their plots and are the reason why studies are being undertaken to determine how they portray it. Currently, divorce rates are quite high, leaving children under the care and interaction of one of the parents. This paper focuses on the Tv series show called 'The Castle which was cast between 2009 to 2016. The main character, Richard Rick Castle, tries to balance family life and work. The most significant family for him in the series is his daughter Alexis and his mother, Martha Rodgers, who live with him. Castle is a divorced man whose first wife is Alexis' mother by the name Meredith. Alexi's mother features as a free-spirited actress who leaves the daughter in the sole custody of his father, Richard Castle. The three, i.e., Richard Castle, his daughter, and his mother, present a very unrealistic family situation as discussed in this paper.

Cases of unrealistic family and family relation portrayals in the series are very evident. First, Alexis is under the sole custody of his father since he divorced her mother, who happens to be his first wife. Her mother rarely visits her, nor is she concerned with her as their interaction is very minimal in the plot. Studies have shown a strong bond between mothers and their children, and how typically they spent more time together. As much as Castle's life balances between his career and fatherhood, Alexis' mother is shown to prefer her career more than parenting her child. The series creates an unrealistic character for Alexis' mother to build on the storyline of the series while denying the real-life situation. According to Cooper and Burke (2015), most parents are found to live happily by balancing career life and parenthood. Hardly mothers show less concern for their children, especially their daughters, leaving them in the sole custody of their fathers.

The Castle series sometimes presents Alexis as more responsible and mature than his father. In portraying her maturity in various instances, Alexis unveils Castle's immaturity. In some scenes, Alexis appears shouting at her father and exercising a lot of control over him. Gulli (2016) explains such occurrences as 'The Collapse of Parenting' and says that treating children as grownups hurts them. However, in the series, Alexis is shown to enjoy the maturity she is portraying before her father and continually does actions that force her father to search for her and seek an apology for issuing a corrective measure. Leeper (2011), mentions that children deserve punishments for their unruly behavior and not an apology as it happens in the series. Children rarely exercise command and power over their fathers, as the environment between them is strict and respectful (Maccoby, 2013). Also, Castle fails to shape his daughter's sexual relationship, and she is portrayed to dispose of her father's warnings about her relationships with her male friends. Maccoby (2013) also discusses how fathers ideally monitor and by all means, cut off bad companies of their children as they strive to let them focus on their career and intellectual aspects of their lives. Therefore, the way media enables children to exercise a lot of control and maturity over their fathers, and generally, parents are unrealistic as the media does through The Castle.

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Another notable family relation in the series is that between Richard Castle and his mother, Martha. The mother-son relationship between the two is fragile. In many instances, Castle also controls, acts more mature than his mother, and helps her make sexual life decisions. In one particular scene, Castle finds his mother trying to weigh about accepting a date or not with her childhood friend she meets again on social media. Without consulting his mother, Castle licks the 'accept' and goes on to convince her to go on the date which she does. Wilson and Koo (2010) reveal that there is less sexual communication between sons and their mothers. Moreover, Castle's mother barely lets Castle raise his daughter in his way, as most of the time, sides with her unhealthy behaviors in socializing. The kind of relationship shown in the series is therefore distorted, and studies have shown it as harmful.

The father figure in The Castle is portrayed as a man who does activities together with her daughter, including physical activities, fencing, gaming, and research projects. In most of the episodes, Alexis is featured playing a game with his father, like two age mates. Also, Richard is engaged in cooking for his mother and teenage daughter in many scenes. In reality, fathers hardly get involved in physical activities with their adolescent daughters. Instead, they spend much of their time pursuing academic and intellectual knowledge. Leeper (2011) explains this to be contributed to the need for fathers to prepare their children to meet life challenges. The games that Castle plays with her daughter make her see his father's immaturity and also lead to the use of 'unideal language' for their relationship setting. The Tv show exaggerates the role of parenting in the name of building the characters.

The father-daughter life in the series is, however, realistic in a variety of ways. First, Alexis portrays high positive self-esteem and self-image. Alexis is academically motivated, and intelligent, and has excellent social and interpersonal skills. She interacts well with Detective Beckett, who works with her father in the investigation of murder cases. Her intelligence is shown in the way she shares ideas concerning actions committed by the murderers they hunt. According to Zia, Malik, and Mansoon (2015), fathers who spent time with their daughters in their early and adolescence life tend to shape their confidence, self-image, and self-esteem toward achieving their goals. Self-esteem is built as fathers show become alert and sensitive toward the feelings of their daughters, listen to and show interest in their concerns as well as praise and approve of them. The castle is seen to take care of Alexis both psychological and physical needs. He supports her and spends time with her regardless of the dual role of a novel writer and assistance in solving murder cases. Nielsen (2010) discusses how well-fathered daughters show more life directiveness, self-reliance, and the development of a self-loving personality. Alexis' relationship and life with his father portray Nielse's (2010) findings. The father and daughter relationship in building her self-esteem through more interaction and support is realistic, as shown in the studies, as discussed by Nielson (2010). In real cases, reputable fathers shape distinctive personalities in their children.


In summary, the media portrays family life in both realistic and unrealistic cases, as discussed above. The role of single parenthood is exaggerated and takes on an unexpected direction. It is very impractical for sons to give opinions and control their mother's sexual life. Parents act as role models to their children and rarely reveal their immaturity before them, nor do children exercise maturity before their children. Also, parents always find ways of controlling their children's behavior, and vice versa is an unrealistic case that is mostly portrayed by the media. The Castle is an excellent example of the ways in which media provides unrealistic situations to build on the storyline. l

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Family Life and Television: Critical Essay. (2023, July 20). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 25, 2024, from
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