When we think about the working class, it's sometimes easiest to point to blue collar workers. But in today's reality (and every reality if you're from the average middle class), working isn't an option, it's an obligation.
Here are some shows that celebrated the working class in different ways in television history.
What are some of your favorite shows that featured and illustrated the working people of the United States (and around the world)?
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The Mary Tyler Moore Show was one of the first series to successfully focus on a single, unmarried woman in the workplace. Mary Richards was educated, ambitious and the heart of the newsroom. She had a great relationship with her boss, but he still didn't hesitate to suspend her when she made the wrong move. Mary and her coworkers understood the importance of their jobs and worked as hard at work as they played outside.
All In the Family
Archie and Edith Bunker are deeply in love and happily married, but not to the naked eye. After WWII, Archie got work down at the dock. By the time we get to know him, he's a foreman. It doesn't make him any happier. With a negative opinion on anything and anybody, Archie will voice it loudly and to anyone willing to listen, including those he dislikes. A bigot, and an ist and an ish (anything goes), Archie plants himself in his chair after dinner to watch TV and lets everyone cater to him. And after him, all the couch driven shows will follow.
Sanford and Son
This NBC sitcom featured a father and son, Fred and Lamont Sanford, who shared ownership in a junkyard. Fred, a bigoted and cantankerous man with a disdain for hard work, was offset by his charming, kind and business savvy son, Lamont. Their genuine love for each other kept the business afloat and the laughs coming.
Another man quick to growl and with an affection for get-rich quick schemes was bus driver, Ralph Kramden. He worked hard, but when he got home, he spent his time with the wife he adored and his neighbors with whom he hoped to find a way out of Brooklyn.
Roseanne is one of many shows featuring a lower class family who laughs together and lounges together. Their well-worn couch is the focal point of the room and right in front of the TV, where the family shares a good portion of their time, just like we do. Both Roseanne and her husband, Dan, work hard to feed the kids, and when the kids are old enough, they, too, will get jobs to help keep the family afloat. Many episodes feature how Roseanne comes up with ways to expand her window to pay the bills without them becoming past due.
Laverne and Shirley
Laverne and Shirley worked harder than any girls in Detroit. At the bottle processing plant during the day at a restaurant at night, they earned their playtime like no others. And like many others on this list, that play time included bowling, dating, and bowling. Lots of bowling.
Wait! There's more Shows Celebrating The Ever-Evolving Working Class! Just click "Next" below: