16 Relatable TV Shows About Working Class Families (PHOTOS)

Rebecca Deczynski | Dec 2, 2015 TV
16 Relatable TV Shows About Working Class Families (PHOTOS)

As much as we turn to our TV for escapism, sometimes we just need to watch something that reminds us that we don't have it so bad. Shows that feature families trying to make ends meet help us relate to our favorite fictional characters, with their everyday hardships and struggles.


These 16 shows give a realistic view of how hard it is to achieve the American dream, and inspire us by shining the light on hardworking and resilient families.


Image via Warner Home Video

  • All in the Family (1971-1979)


    This Emmy Award-winning series gave viewers a peek into the lives of the blue-collar Bunker family. The sitcom was among the first to openly discuss many important topics such as racism, religion, and sex. In one episode, Mike gets $500 in inheritance money from his uncle, and he decides to donate half of that to George McGovern's presidential campaign—and he's forced to work nights to make up for his decision.

  • Married With Children (1987-1997)


    If you've ever thought your family was dysfunctional, then chances are the Bundy family made you feel a whole lot more normal. Shoe salesman Al Bundy was the patriarch, while Peggy Bundy was one dissatisfied housewife. But there were plenty of secrets in this family—especially when Al won $1,200 in the lottery but didn't want to fork it over to the rest of the family.

  • Roseanne (1988-1997)


    This long-running series focused on a working class family that we could all relate to in one way or another. They may not have had fancy clothes and cars, but Roseanne kept everyone laughing, in part by poking fun at herself and her "lower class" ways (remember the time she wanted to keep the Christmas decorations up all year but the neighbors accused of her of being trashy?)

  • The Wonder Years (1988-1993)


    Although this show was popular in the late '80s and '90s, it actually told the story of a suburban, middle class teenage boy growing up in the turbulent late '60s and early '70s. The family works hard to make ends meet, but they get lucky when Jack Arnold gets a promotion to help buy the family a new stove—even if that means missing Thanksgiving.

    More from The Stir: 9 Binge-Worthy TV Shows to Watch After The Kids Are Asleep (VIDEOS)

  • The Simpsons (1989-)


    Image via 20th Century Fox

    Everyone's favorite animated family represents the average American middle class. Homer works in the local power plant and Marge manages to take care of Lisa, Bart, and Maggie, in this show we simply don't tire of watching. Think of the long hours Homer puts in at the power plant, with his "Do It For Her" collage of Maggie at his workspace keeping him going.

  • Blossom (1990-1995)


    Image via Shout Factory

    In this beloved '90s sitcom, Mayim Bialik plays an affable teenage girl who's trying to deal with all of the stresses and struggles of adolescence while living with her father and two older brothers, after her mother leaves the family to focus on her career.

  • Clarissa Explains It All (1991-1994)


    Image via Nickelodeon

    As spunky teen Clarissa, Melissa Joan Hart explained just about all the ins-and-outs of adolescence in suburban Ohio in this heartwarming Nickelodeon show focused on a middle class family. In one episode, Clarissa starts selling Christmas cards in July so she can save up to buy a car.

  • Freaks & Geeks (1999-2000)


    Image via Shout Factory

    Paul Feig's shortly-lived series about high schoolers in 1979 may have been nostalgic, but it wasn't too rose-colored. The Michigan-based Weir family was the picture of the average suburban American family—for better or worse. Patriarch Harold Weir ran the town's sports shop.

    More from The Stir: 16 Movies That Shed a Bad Light on Working Moms (PHOTOS)

  • Gilmore Girls (2000-2007)


    Image via Warner Home Video

    Rory Gilmore may be lucky that her wealthy grandparents fund her Chilton education, but other than that, she and her best friend mom, Lorelai, get by on a single income in cozy Stars Hollow. That means plenty of DIY and saving, so Lorelai can open her own inn.

  • Malcolm in the Middle (2000-2006)


    This funny sitcom shows the struggles of boy genius Malcolm as he interacts with his goofy dad, his hardworking mother, and the rest of his family in their suburban home. Unfortunately for Malcolm, in one episode his father and brothers intercept a scholarship check addressed to him and spend the money.

  • The George Lopez Show (2002-2007)


    Image via Warner Home Video

    Funny man George Lopez plays the part of a manufacturing plant manager in this family-driven comedy about working class life in Los Angeles.

  • Everybody Hates Chris (2005-2009)


    Image via Paramount

    Based on Chris Rock's childhood, this sitcom tells the story of the comedian growing up in Brooklyn, while his parents both work to make ends meet. Not only does his father work two jobs, but his mom also works part-time while taking care of the family.

    More from The Stir: What 10 'Dowdy' TV Actors Look Like In Real Life (PHOTOS)

  • The Suite Life of Zach & Cody (2005-2008)


    Image via Disney Channel

    Twins Zach and Cody may have been living large in the luxurious Tipton Hotel, but they weren't millionaires like heiress Paris Tipton. The brothers simply lived with their mom—an employee of the hotel—and they made the most of their living situation.

  • The Middle (2009- present)


    Image via Warner Home Video

    The Hecks are just your average Indiana family, and while their trials and tribulations may be a lot more amusing than your own, they're still one of the most relatable families on TV. Mom Frankie loses her job twice in the series, but eventually finished dental assistant school and regains employment.

  • Raising Hope (2010-2014)


    Image via Fox

    When Jimmy unexpectedly becomes a single parent after impregnating a felon, he has to learn how to make ends meet while also balancing family life. He works as an assistant for his grandfather's lawn care business.

  • Parenthood (2010-2015)


    Image via Universal

    This heartwarming series shows that different members of the Braverman family all experienced different strokes of luck in life, but it may be Sarah Braverman (played by Lauren Graham) who most shows the resilience of a parent trying to make ends meet.

    More from The Stir: 17 Favorite Movies That Celebrated Single Moms (PHOTOS)


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