Parents' Guide to

My Three Sons

By Kari Croop, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

Classic single-parent family feels surprisingly modern.

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MY THREE SONS might be best known today for its familiar theme song. But it's also notable for being the first popular television show to break away from the two-parent household formula and reveal an all-new type of TV family -- one that stood in stark contrast to the working dad and housekeeping mom model idealized on then-popular programs like Leave It to Beaver. It also launched a future trend in TV programming toward more nontraditional families, from The Brady Bunch to Who's the Boss?

On Sons, men did the cooking, the cleaning, and the dishes. But they also did 100 percent of the parenting, at least until MacMurray's character re-married toward the end of the show's run. And to say that was a rare sight for the early 1960s is an understatement. Even today, you don't often see men on TV shouldering so many of the household chores, which makes Sons -- while obviously dated -- feel surprisingly modern.

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