8 TV & Movie Families That Make Dysfunctional Look Fun

Last week, I checked out the latest family dramedy out from Warner Bros. called “This Is Where I Leave You.” The movie is about a man’s life slowly unraveling and then he has to go home to sit shiva with his family after his dad’s death, and his family…is insane. As I watched, I was reminded of another fictional family, The Pritchetts of Modern Family, who I always compared to to my own, each on-screen persona exhibiting a major trait of one of my family members. My mami has always been the one to say exactly what she feels. My abuelos were very set in their ways and my tios and primos, they were LOUD. When I lived out of the state, the thought of going home to all that chaos would make me groan, but yet, I could not imagine a better family to be a part of. We may be loud, unconventional and even dysfunctional, but at the end of the day, we’re always there for each other the way a family should be. Sometimes life imitates art, but when it comes to family, Hollywood agrees, dysfunctional only makes the heart grow fonder. Here are 8 TV and Movie Families that make dysfunction look fun.

The Altmans: This Is Where I Leave You

Name a problem, and the Altmans probably have it. A dad’s last wish — check! A blunt mother with new boobs — check! A cheating ex wife — check! An unplanned pregnancy — check! But in even in the worst of circumstances, the Altmans know what it means to love unconditionally.


The Pritchetts: “Modern Family”

This is a family that exemplifies what it means to be a family in today’s society. Each family member is supported by all the members of the family, despite their differences. Think they’d adopt me? I can change my name to Lily!

The Bluths: “Arrested Development”

Self-centered, money hungry, narcissistic…and that’s the good qualities about the Bluth clan. But through all the chaos, the craziness….the jail time, this is one family that sticks together, even if they “have made a HUGE mistake.”

The Griswolds: National Lampoon Vacation

Poor Clark Griswold just wants to take his family on the best vacation ever…but every single adventure results in total and utter chaos. That doesn’t stop this family from coming together in the end and doing Vacation — Griswald style.

The Tenenbaums: The Royal Tenenbaums

A manipulative patriarch sets out to reconnect with his estranged family when he thinks he is dying. The kids are all grown up, and all a bit neurotic, but geniuses in their own rights– and they aren’t swayed very easily. Even in dark days, the Tenenbaums come together and make one hilarious reunion.

The Gilmores:Gilmore Girls”

In this story of a privileged, upper class teenager who gets pregnant and runs away to raise her daughter in a teeny town completely on her own, we get Lorelai and Rory Gilmore — perhaps the greatest mother-daughter duo of all time. They grow up together and navigate life and love — and they manage to do it all together.

The Fockers: Meet The Parents

When your mom is Babs and your dad is Tootsie and they name you Gaylord Focker, you know life ain’t going to be easy but it’s also always going to be a riot. The Fockers are the kind of family that will make you squirm and then bundle you up to lean on their shoulders. It’s dysFUNction at it’s finest.

The Connors: “Roseanne”

The Connors are not necessarily the ones that put dysfunction on the map, but they are definitely one of the most well known. With the very crude Roseanne at the head of this table, this family can laugh at itself and then de-pants you while high fiving each other into the sunset.

 Photo: Getty