Is it just me or are all dysfunctional families a major interest in today's hypocritical and non forgiving society. Many may say that that isn't true, but believe me, when everyone's laughing at Homer, for giving his son Bart a twenty dollar bill after failing a math test, or when Marge leaves Maggie in a shopping cart and totally forgets about her. It definitely makes a person think twice. It seems that the major T.V. networks are trying to support these funny, dramatic, and simplistic sitcoms about dysfunctional families. These several qualities help to differentiate between other ordinary T.V. shows and their prime time sitcoms. .
Fox has probably been the most successful with dysfunctional family sitcoms. Their first hit with "Married with Children" (a sitcom about two parents going thru the trifles of parenthood, while there children are ironically more mature than they are, giving a dramatic twist to it all). Drama absolutely plays an important role in all sitcoms, without it there would be no interest. The elements of drama are quite simple, there is basically a plot, a theme, some suspense, the pyramidal pattern (rising action, climax, falling action etc.), and a theme.
In an episode of "Malcolm in the Middle" called "Family Reunion", the setting takes place in his home where he discovers he must go along with his parents to his dreaded grandfather's house. A brief exposition shows a flashback to his grandfathers house, where he is treated like an outcast of the family, there he must try to get the attention of his rich grandfather so that he can get a cut of the family money. While his Mother, Lois, is constantly being patronized by the snooty female in-laws that are trying to make her life as miserable as possible. Meanwhile, Malcolm's father is trying to patch up what remains of a relationship between himself and his self-centered dad, while Francis is busy giving attention to his girlfriend.