Do you know the real reason you love to watch the Duggars and Kate Plus Eight? It's because you miss The Waltons! That's right, your reality TV obsession is actually a desperate attempt to cling to a staple of your youth -- the big family TV show with all the drama, love, and chaos we all wished we had at home (not to mention the cute brothers) without all that weird reality TV scariness. This morning, the seven Walton kids and Ma Walton reunited on the Today show to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the TV show (skip right over how old that makes you feel), and it was a touching look back at the lovable family. The Waltons always managed to make the best out of the worst. Sigh. If only my house were more like that.

Of course, they weren't the only ones! In that era of television, there were also the Bradfords, the Bradys, and the Partridges. But which big TV family show did it best?

That depends on the topic.

Best Together Time: No one did mealtime better than the Waltons. And hello, bedtime? Tell me when you are fighting to put your kids to sleep, you don’t sometimes wish it was as easy as hearing a chorus of "Good Night"s as they shut out their own lights and go to sleep without any fuss. Goodnight John-Boy indeed!

Best Older Brother: There was no greater brother than Keith Partridge. He was always nice to his younger siblings and he had cute friends for Laurie to date. Sure, he got a little testy if you got in the way of one of his dates, but in the end, he was always a loving, velveteen shoulder to cry on. My older brother was just not this understanding. He still isn't.

Most Realistic: Bad things happened to the Bradford kid on Eight Is Enough. Their mom died, they had trouble in school, they fought. Eight kids at different ages have different problems all at once and the chaos of that was pretty real. Plus, let’s face it, in life, as on Eight Is Enough, there is a pretty sister and a smart sister and a whiny sister and a flighty sister.

Most Understanding Parents: Mike and Carol Brady were just so comforting in their approach. When they were grounding you, they sat down to do it. For people with six kids, they always made time to explain and hear your side of the story. And they had groovy hair. When my dad got a perm, it scarred me for life. Not so for the Brady kids.

The big TV families of yesteryear were so much more fun to watch all around. Unlike today's scary, big, and usually odd TV families (there's something to say for fiction), they will always be the kind of families you wish would adopt you. What's one more kid (adult) in the family, right?

Which big family was your favorite and why?


Image via Amazon.com