Just who is this wholesome family anyway?

Unlike shows like I Love Lucy and Leave It to Beaver, it hasn’t become a cult favorite in endless rounds of syndicated reruns. However, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, which ended its run in 1966, has survived in another form: It’s mentioned in seemingly every newspaper and magazine article that discusses the shifting composition of the American family. The latest example comes this week in a New York Times story that analyzes some Census data and declares that “probably for the first time, more American women are living without a husband than with one.” Inevitably, a demographer is quoted comparing real-life marriage to the Ozzie and Harriet idealization of it. It’s as if every article about life in the military were obliged to include a reference to Sgt. Bilko. We’ve reached the point where PBS ought, as a public service, to air a year of Ozzie and Harriet reruns so people who never saw the show (by now, surely, a majority of Americans) can see what all those articles are talking about.

—Posted by Mark Dolliver