The funniest BBC sitcom in years, My Family focuses on the lives of a typical London family. Typical obviously meaning "completely barmy", as it always does in this context.

Ben Harper (Robert Lindsay) is an early to mid 40s dentist with a strong pessimistic attitude and no tolerance of idiocy/beaurocracy/Conservatism in all its forms. He is proud of his families haberdasher heritage, yet not quite so proud of his contribution to said family.

Susan (Zoe Wanamaker), on the other hand, is a deeply devious, neurotic, manipulating cow, with a desire to know everything about (and control) her families doings and an acid tongue that would make Ann Robinson slightly worried. She can also be incredibly uptight, and she pisses Ben off greatly with her attempts to be oh-so-liberal and yet keep her family on the right track (despite that fact that, far from ever being on the right track, the family derailed with the birth of Nick).

The children are no better-demanding money all the time while at the same time treating their parents with unending contempt-so much so that Ben wishes they would just bugger off for the rest of his life. Michael (Gabriel Thomson) is a know-it-all, big-C Conservative smartarse who, through some act of God, is more popular than the rest of the bunch by quite some way. Despite the difference in political beliefs, he's the most popular with Ben by far.

Janie (Daniela Denby-Ashe) is an airheaded slut who, again through some miracle, managed to get into college, and got knocked up at age 19 (and doesn't want Susan to have anything to do with the baby, understandably). The real star of the show, however, is Nick.

Nick Harper (Kris Marshall) is a deeply, deeply mad person, who moved out of the Harper house yet still keeps coming back (to steal food, cutlery and booze). His job is ever changing, as due to his general dumbness he can't hold one down. He comes up with some of the best lines in the series, and adds some slight surreality to what is usually a very normal, albeit funny, show.

The show succeeds on many levels, mainly because of its attitude towards Conservatives (on being informed that Michael doesn't disappear round a girlfriends house for illicit drugs, only illicit sex, Ben remarks that on that count he's a true Conservative-a cheap shot, but a funny one) and because of its excellent writing. The show didn't pick up much acclaim from the critics-quite the opposite-but the show has an extremely strong following nonetheless, and was BAFTA-nominated.

The show is made by DLT Entertainment and Rude Boy Productions for the BBC, and has a website (like every sodding BBC programme, no matter how pointless) at www.bbc.co.uk/myfamily.

Cast of Thousands, Chapter 1

Jessica Pullman
Social Studies Period 4
Ms. Woods
10/8/02

My Family

We are a pretty normal family with two parents and one kid (girl) and one cat (tabby). We live in a house together and do normal family stuff like go on vacations and to the library and grocery shopping.

Everybody's family is different, even the "normal" ones. Some families you only like their dad and some families the mom is nicer. Some families have a lot of pets and some have a lot of rules. There are three big things that are different about my family:

1. It has two moms.

2. One of my moms is really a lot of different people so really it has a bunch of different moms.

3. It has me in it!

Most families with two moms have trouble deciding what the moms are going to be called. Some families decide they should just both be Mom, or Mommy, or one of each. Some of them use their names, like Mommy Beth and Mommy Mabel, or just have their kids call them by their first names. (Mabel and Beth.)

In our family it was easy. They both liked "Mom" because it sounded so normal so they picked Mom for my regular one-person mom and Moms for my mom who is lots of people. When I was litle I added my own name for both of them which was Momomms. I wanted to say Mom-or-moms but it was too hard to say fast. Sometimes I call them "my one mom" and "my many moms."

The fancy explanation for my many moms is that "my mom has MPD" which is multiple personality disorder. But Moms says that is like saying "My two mothers have homosexuality," because it's not a disease that needs to be fixed, it's just a word for what people are. Like lesbian or gay. So instead of saying "I am a homosexual with MPD" she says "I am multiple and lesbian." And then we get to go to the Gay Pride Picnic every year and stuff!

Plus our family gets to be bigger than it looks. I get lots of moms, and friends who play with me. Some people in her system are even like my sisters.

It confuses people sometimes. They see that a kid my age is there instead of a mom and they think Moms is weird for acting like a kid or that I'm lucky to have a mom who will play with me. Sometimes I call people in there by different names because they have their own names, like Kitten, who is little and bouncy, or Jack, who taught me how to ride a bike, and that makes people REALLY confused. But I think it's more important to treat them like themselves and be who I am with them than to worry about what other people think. Even though that's hard sometimes.

I guess most people would think that it would be really different and hard to have two moms and no dad. I know it's supposed to be totally scary and I'm supposed to get made fun of so much for it, but we live in Davis.

It's not like I've never heard kids calling each other "lesbo" or "fag." But I had pretty much the same friends in my class all through elementary school so by the time they were old enough to think it was weird they knew all about it already and were totally used to it.

So I have a pretty ordinary life. My mom takes me on big shopping trips in Sacramento, or around the bookstores downtown, and lets me help her build the furniture that she sells sometimes. Kitten and I play with makeup and dress-up games and dolls. Kelly is the everyday person that I call Moms, and she makes special holiday food (even though Mom does most of the cooking) and worries about me and helps out with my Girl Scout troop and makes sure I'm okay. Dorian is another mom who's more laid-back. She is a really good guitar player and she is going to teach me how to play. She even writes her own songs. Uncle Jack doesn't visit very much but he taught me how to ride a bike and he is very nice to be around. Gail is older than me but I'm catching up to her! I think I am pretty lucky to actually be able to catch up to my big sister. Tommy is four and he likes fire trucks and Moms says I am so good with him that I should get to start babysitting soon even though she doesn't know how she'll explain how I got all my experience!

That is the people I see most of the time in my family and what it is like to be in my family. I hope it seems as nice to you as it does to me.

Next: Chocolate Chip Pancakes, where the story really begins

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