At the risk of totally destroying one of my children's expectations of life I think it is time we address the "Cleaver Family Syndrome". I have one child who honestly believes this is a way of life, that there really are families out there who live like the Cleaver's and anything less than the Cleaver lifestyle is a horrible, miserable childhood and the reason for everything wrong in her life. This child also has a tendency to see the world in black and white, missing all the nuances of color that make us who we are as people. Never realizing the reason that show had so many reruns is because they were so boring that coming up with new episodes must have been close to impossible. All the real stuff in life was censored out. My other three children prefer to live in a reality show world based on Snooki.
But were the Cleaver's really that boring? I mean, did we ever really see them behind the closed doors of their house when cameras weren't around? Did we ever see how they reacted when drunk Uncle John came to visit at midnight because he lost his car keys and needed a ride home, did we get to see how June reacted when she found out that Ward was having an affair with one of her friends, did we get to see June's reaction when she saw the skid marks in the boys underwear on laundry day, did we ever see June come down with an illness that left the running of the household to Ward and the boys, do we really know that Ward didn't have a problem bouncing checks and leaving June to figure out how to handle it, did either of the boys need braces but there just wasn't enough money to get them leaving them feeling like failures as parents, did Ward have childish temper tantrums when angry, did Wally make up horrible stories about his parents behind their backs, did Beaver shoplift at the corner store? So many things we didn't get to see! I personally think these people were way to happy and must have had a meth lab in that detached garage of theirs. It's the only explanation I can come up with for those huge silly grins they had all the time. It would also explain why the more colorful Eddie Haskell continued to hang around with boring Wally.
Show of hands!
Ah June, poor June. How many of your mothers actually wore pearls, puffy dresses and high heels to cook and clean the house? The fact that June did worries me, makes me question her sanity. How many of your mother's prepared a perfect 3 course meal each and every day, three times a day (KFC and McDonald's don't count)? How many of your mother's never frowned or cried (if your mother was on high doses of Valium or Xanax you don't qualify to answer this one)? How many of your mother's met your Dad at the door with the newspaper (it doesn't count if she was going to knock him in the head with it because she was mad at him)?
Moving on to Ward, silly Ward. When your father came home from work was the first place he stopped the bar in the living room for a drink (stopping at the local bar on the way home and getting sloshed doesn't count), although I can thoroughly understand his need to do so living with the ever perfect June. Seriously, if you broke out the window of a neighbors house did your father look at you and smilingly say "your going to have to pay for that with your allowance but at least you learned a valuable lesson" (yeah, mine wouldn't either)? Did your father eat dinner every night in a suit and tie (Sunday coming home from church doesn't count)?
Wally, cute Wally. His only problem in life seemed to be finding the right date and getting Eddie and Beaver out of trouble. Now tell me how many of you had a brother that was so eternally sweet that you never had a fight (I don't count the very few mild word disagreements between Wally and Beaver as a true sibling fight)? How many of you had a brother that never went out with his buddies and got drunk? How many of you had a brother that went to your parents and said "Mom, Dad, I'm worried about The Beav, he seems a little sad today, maybe we should do something to cheer him up? Wally, Wally, Wally even June couldn't possibly believe you are that perfect!
Beaver, cute, not very intelligent. Who the hell runs away from home and climbs a water tower to hide (doesn't count if you were up there to do graffiti)? How many times have you picked a drunken bum up of the street and brought him home to have dinner with the family (your uncle doesn't count)? Better yet, how many of you had parents that would have welcomed that drunken bum with open arms when you brought him home (unless it was Grandpa, of course)? How many of you would have welcomed your little brother trying to "fix" your love life (granted Wally did need help, I'm just not convinced Beaver was the right one for the job)? Oh yeah and who the hell climbs up a huge sign and goes to sleep in a giant coffee cup causing the whole town to search for them? Would you not assume looking at it from the ground that the coffee cup was most likely flat like all other signs? Like I said, not very intelligent (but then again maybe he was since the giant coffee cup was not flat after all and apparently a good place to nap).
Eddie, the normal one. Although Eddie was made out to look like the rotten egg on the show he was the most normal one on the show. Eddie is pretty much every teenage boy I have ever known. That should have been a clue to all those suffering from Cleaver Family Syndrome as to just how abnormal the rest of the Cleavers were.
Everyone wants that perfect Cleaver family, the problem is we are all living, breathing human beings that actually think for ourselves, and we make mistakes, no scriptwriters hanging out in the living room to script that perfect life. Unlike the Cleavers we need money to survive and sometimes there just isn't enough to go around. In the real world not everyone in the family has the exact same perfect personality and for that reason we are going to clash from time to time. There is no scriptwriter to go back and erase what we said to hurt someone's feelings and make the world all cheery again in 2 seconds, it is up to us to make things right again. It is also up to us to forgive when it is our feelings that have been hurt.
The real truth behind the Cleaver Family Syndrome is that anyone can be good for 30 minutes once a week, but you can't base your perception of the world or families in general on that 30 minutes. It may be that perfect world your looking for but it isn't even close to the real world we live in.