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Social Workers Speak Fall TV Picks

A new television season is here. So took a look at the fall lineup to see what programs social workers may tune into.

They are:

Photo courtesy of CBS.

Mike & Molly  (Premieres Sept. 20 at 9:30 p.m. Eastern on CBS): This sitcom follows the romance of overweight policeman Mike (Billy Gardell) and school teacher Molly (Melissa McCarthy).

Why social workers might like it: Social workers often help clients live healthier lifestyles. Mike & Molly offers a more realistic take on overweight people. It will be interesting to see what social workers have to say about this program.


Raising Hope (Premieres September 21 at 9 p.m. Eastern on Fox): This comedy follows four generations of a working class family struggling to live together under one roof and make ends meet.

Why social workers might like it: Americans are struggling in this tough economy but many television programs focus on the rich and famous. Raising Hope may offer a more realistic picture of what many Americans are experiencing. Plus it features veteran comedic actress Cloris Leachman (Remember her manic portrayal of Frau Blucher in “Young Frankenstein”?)

No Ordinary Family (Premieres September 28 at 8 p.m. Eastern on ABC): A family gains super human powers after their plane crashes in toxic waters.

Why social workers might like it: The premise is a bit far-fetched but could allow the writers to explore real-life issues that social workers help families overcome.


My Generation (Premieres September 23 at 8 p.m. Eastern on ABC): This fictional docu-drama follows the lives of nine Austin High School students over 10 years.

Why social workers might like it:  The teenage and early adult years are some of most stressful times in a person’s life. And social workers often deal with clients in this age group and may relate to the some of the issues My Generation addresses.

Outlaw (Premieres September 15 at 10 p.m. Eastern on NBC): Jimmy Smits stars as a Supreme Court Justice who resigns from the bench and becomes an advocate for justice on issues including gay marriage and the death penalty.

Why social workers might like it: Any program that pairs a topnotch actor such as Jimmy Smits with serious social issues is sure to attract social workers.


School Pride (Premieres October 15 at 8 p.m. Eastern on NBC): In this show a team goes to troubled schools and gives them extreme makeovers by installing fancy new electronic equipment or even exterminating rats.

Why social workers might like it: School social workers work every day in schools, helping students get the services and counseling they need to thrive and learn. And they often have to do this job amidst budget cuts and the threat of layoffs.

TV Watching Tip: If you don’t have time to view a new show or do not have a digital video recorder you can often catch full episodes on the network TV Web sites or Web sites such as Television shows can also be download from iTunes.

QUESTION: Social workers, what new fall television programs do you plan to watch this fall? And are any social workers interested in reviewing these and other shows for, the Web site designed to get social workers talking about and influencing how they and issues they care about are portrayed in media?

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  1. not a new show, but am mesmerized by the “Hoarders” show, on A&E? Makes me want to ask all the questions about how this person came to be like this? What triggered this behavior? and to dispel the myth that these people are just “dirty” or “crazy”. Seriously, these people have been traumatized in some way.

  2. also love “modern family”, a friendly poke at a variety of family situations, that are the “new” families of America.

  3. My new FAV is “Parenthood.” With Bonnie Bedelia and Craig T. Nelson starring about an extended family consisting of 14 members covering three generations. Excellently acted, brilliant dialogue and fabulous dynamic interactions. The topics covered range from parenting, sibling rivalry, sexuality, recreational drugs, racial tension, infidelity, loyalty, family values,etc. It’s funny, serious, genuine, conflictual, sad, heart warming and evokes many other feelings. I put it up on the same level as “Six feet Under” for its brilliant writing, acting and important social value. In my opinion, you could teach an entire class on dynamics of family of origin from this wonderful series. Netflix it if you haven’t seen it yet, and catch up on Season 1 – Season 2 just started this past week and its on NBC,so no premium channels necessary.
    Kathy Gurland, LCSW

  4. I also enjoyed “Parenthood” and agree with Kathy. It reminds me of two other shows that were eventually discontinued; “Judging Amy”, and “Picket Fences”, both wonderful examples of family dynamics, social issues, marital and relationship interactions, sibling rivalries, and all the other issues that social workers confront.
    I haven’t seen any of the new shows of the season but do plan to watch some.

  5. I try not watch my favorite shows with a clinical eye because when I do I drive my husband crazy. Even Hoarders. I also enjoy that show but each time I watch I always wonder about the timeframe of the progress. Hoarding is related to OCD which takes a lot of congitive behavioral modification to overcome those impluses. It is not 2 sessions with a professional and your good to go. But then again, TV is fiction. Even reality TV.

  6. 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom are two of my favorites. The issues that these kids are dealing with remind me a lot of the kids that I work with. I like watching a version of teen pregnancy that I’m not expected to intervene in and fix!

    Oh, and while it’s not directly social work related, Glee really does it for me. For one thing, it just brightens up what is often a rather depressing week. For another, the cast is incredibly diverse, and I think they’ve dealt with gay teens better than any other mainstream show I’ve seen.

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