The 14 Greatest Fictional Families In Pop Culture

Vicki Notaro looks at our favourite made-up fams.


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The Pritchett-Dunphys

The characters of Modern Family depict well, a modern family, and they do it with panache. There’s patriarch Jay and his glam second wife Gloria with her son Manny. Then there are Jay’s grown-up kids Claire and Mitchell, and their husbands and children. Mix them all up with your average family drama, and hilarious, relatable chaos ensues. It’s all funny because it’s true.

The Gilmores

Proving that families come in all shapes and sizes, Rory and Lorelai are a dynamic duo with supporting players related by blood and not. A single teen mother who ran out on wealth, privilege and comfort in order to raise her daughter the way she saw fit, there’s been sacrifice and heartache along the way, but they only came out stronger. Rory’s a lucky gal.

The Weasleys

This motley crew of loveable redheads get a lot of grief from other wizarding families for being kind, sound, not especially wealthy and well, ginger (boo!) but they are by far the greatest family of the Harry Potter franchise and the one I’d most like to be part of. Although I could do without Percy, to be fair.

The Taylors

Friday Night Lights is basically small-town America porn, where football is second only to one thing – family. Coach Taylor is the authoritative dzaddy we all kinda fancy, but we wouldn’t mess with his high-school sweetheart turned wife, Tami. They go through all the trials and tribulations of living that kind of Texas life, and it’s completely addictive.


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The Crawleys

Downton Abbey was one of ITV’s most popular dramas ever, and the fact that’s basically a period soap opera with lots of familial drama goes some way to explain that. It’s a tale as old as time – in early 20th century Britain, a formerly grand family have to marry off their daughters successfully in order to retain their country manor, lifestyle and reputation. Enter Cousin Matthew, who could be the answer to all their prayers… talk about keeping it in the family, wha’.

The Starks

Talking about drama, well, we know Game of Thrones is full of it. Ned Stark, the King of the North, is a rarity in Westeros society in that he married for love, adores his five children and is faithful to his wife. But when a power struggle ensues, casualties abound and the kids are left struggling to fight for their family’s birthright and legacy. If you haven’t binged it yet, now is the time, but be warned – it really does dip in quality towards the end.

The Roses

Schitt’s Creek’s Rose family have quite the trajectory, from extreme self-made wealth to embezzlement-related penury to dusting off their boots and rebuilding in their own special way. Dad Johnny is hardworking (once he remembers how), actress mother Moira is scrappy, and spoilt kids David and Alexis are a black sheep and former socialite, respectively. Take them from a mansion, plop them in a motel in the middle of nowhere, and you get one of the sweetest, funniest shows there was.


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The Browns

Look, we couldn’t do a family countdown without referencing one of our most successful exports of all time – Brendan O’Carroll’s Agnes Brown and her gas lot. Yes, the comedy isn’t for everyone, Yes, it is slightly odd that Brendan’s wife plays his daughter and he plays her ma. But you can’t argue with the facts – the show is hugely popular with so many spin-offs, and it makes my mother in law literally howl with laughter. Special shout out to the first family of Irish film – the Curleys of The Snapper.

The Addams

You’re singing the theme tune in your head, yes? Of course, you are. Game and Morticia Addams’ unruly, spooky brood is pretty iconic in pop culture, spanning comics, series, films and games, and at the heart of it all is their devotion to one another and their weirdness. Is it odd to covet a relationship as passionate as this couple has?!

The Sopranos

Okay, so the (sexy, don’t @ me) dad is in the mafia and kind of a murderer and mob boss, BUT he puts his immediate family before all else – even his crime family that he’s sworn an oath to. You can bet if anyone tried to lay a hand on Tony’s wife Carmela, son Anthony Junior or daughter Meadow, there’d be hell to pay. His mother, uncle and nephew? Hmm, not so much.

The Simpsons

The first family of television animation, there have been many since, but none quite like the yellow Springfield residents. Homer is the dopey but loving dad, Marge the disapproving yet strong mother and Bart, Lisa and Maggie the eccentric kids. I’d forgotten just how gas the series is, and if you fancy it, you can binge 30 seasons on Disney+!


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The Cohens

I don’t think there was a teenager alive in the Noughties that didn’t imagine being part of the OC’s least f*cked-up family unit. Gorgeous, wealthy parents who just got *it*, a stunningly sound son, and an intense foster teen that just kind of shows up and stays, allowing all the drama to take place. Plus, a slightly evil grandad and complicated step-cousin dynamics. A dream!

The Waldrons

Perhaps it’s the juxtaposition with Marianne’s frankly AWFUL, caricature-esque family of horrors, or perhaps because they were truly well written and performed, but Connell and Lorraine Waldrib are undoubtedly the fictional family stars of 2020. They can talk about anything from sex to social politics and are truly the most adorable teen mother and son duo I’ve ever seen on screen. Ye raised him well, Lorraine (sob!).

The Cranes

I’ve taken to watching Fraiser in the mornings, and it’s one of the most inventive sitcoms I’ve ever observed. A spin-off to the mega-successful bar comedy Cheers, it follows pompous psychiatrist Fraiser Crane as he moves back to Seattle from Boston after a divorce to live with his disabled father and be closer to his neurotic younger brother, Niles. The comedy is all in the dynamic of that trifecta; a butch, regular guy dad and two eccentric sons he struggles to understand. It’s actually really sweet.


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