The Fosters is an American show about family and teen drama. Unlike many other shows, it offers a vast range of representation, it recounts the usual teen drama, but it also tells it from different prospectives. It is not everyday that you see a show telling family drama from the eyes of adopted children and homosexual foster parents. The show depicts all the drama of the foster system, but also the drama of foster kids being just that: kids, normal teenagers.
I just started this show a couple of weeks ago, I binge-watched the first two seasons and I’m now in the middle of the third one. I absolutely love it, there are all the clichés about teen drama – and there definitely is a lot of drama – but everything feels fresh and realistic, because the characters are not all white straight people living with their biological parents.
There are young loves, troubled relationships, broken hearts, family issues, all the things we’ve seen on TV many times already, but there also are portrayed the foster system’s many flaws, the adopted children’s trust issues and their doubts even well into an adoption, the foster parents’ abuse of the children, and the fight the good ones have to draw on in order to finally make those children family.
Every topic is handled with care and different point of views are offered to the audience. Religion clashes with the Fosters’ lack of belief in God and sometimes religion loses, sometimes there is no loser at all. In the matter of whether to label yourself or refuse to and simply be who you are, both opinions are explained and neither prevails on the other.
Stef and Lena’s relationship is treated like any other, they have their issues and their arguments, but their sexual orientation doesn’t matter at all in any of that, it doesn’t make them good parents or bad parents, the question is not even acceptable. At the same time it is also shown how they sometimes have to deal with people who are not okay with their relationship, and never does the series suggest that it’s okay to discriminate.
The struggle of adopted, LGBT, non-white skinned characters against discrimination is shown, but so is the support that should naturally come from family.
Everyone is accepted on the show, discrimination is portrayed, but it is not the cause of all the drama. What keeps causing problems and arguments is not discrimination, it is life, clashes of personalities, teenage years bumping around, unfair laws and systems, human mistakes.
The Fosters gives so much representation without showing off, without priding themselves with it, without using it as a marketing move, it fights discrimination in the best way it can: portraying it on the screen and making its characters strong enough to fight it. It offers the representation of life, not of LGBT community or adopted children or any category, but representation of persons.
And maybe it is not the perfect TV show – honestly I kinda have had enough of Callie’s love drama – but it is a great representation for life and it is realistic.
Now I’ll just briefly introduce you to the main characters:
Stef is a policewoman, she has a partner, Lena, and three kids at the beginning of the show. She would do anything to protect her children and family.
Lena is a sweet and wise woman, she’s a loving mother to her adopted kids, she works as vice-principal in her children’s school and is very passionate about her job and her family.
Callie and Jude have been in six different foster-homes, they’ve been through a lot and they may finally find a family in the Fosters. Callie’s great at helping others, even if it means she’s going to get hurt, and she should probably think more about helping herself sometimes; she has trust issues and a big heart. Jude is a sweet and special kid, he’s sensible and he’s not ashamed of showing who he is, he loves his sister very much and suffers with her through the drama of her life.
Mariana and Jesus are the Fosters twins, they’ve been adopted by Stef and Lena at the age of five and have grown up with them. Mariana just wants to be accepted in school and blend in with everyone else, she will find that normal is overrated. Jesus cares a lot about his sister and always looks out for her, he’s always ready to put himself on the line for his family.
Brandon is Stef’s biological son, he has three parents, he grew up with Stef and Lena since he was a young child but his father is still a constant in his life. Piano is his passion and he will have a troubled relationship with it as the seasons proceed.
Mike is Brandon’s father and Stef’s ex-husband, he struggles with his relationship with his son for a while, but he’s always part of the others’ lives.