Monday 5 December 2016

All families are unique, in their own weird ways

Despite its flaws, TV can provides us with an uncomfortable view into our own lives, writes John Masterson

John Masterton

Published 28/08/2011 | 05:00

I have always liked the cruel wit of George Burns. I am very fond of my family, as no doubt you are of yours, but when I read his quip that "happiness is having a large, loving, close-knit family in another country", I noticed I was nodding sagely. I certainly preferred his take to the many schmaltzy, sickly sweet quotes you come across that are best placed on coffee mugs.

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We get to know our own family very well. But we do not get under the skin of other families very deeply, even ones we see regularly. When we mix, it is in situations where there are more boundaries. Even on holidays with another family, there tends to be a little space.

We retreat to the comfort of our own brood to comment on the unbelievable things the others do, say or think. We communicate in our own shorthand behind closed doors and say unforgivable things.

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