An American Family (1973– )

TV Series  |   |  Documentary, Music, Reality-TV
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This was the original "Real World". The show was a weekly documentary which followed the real life travails of the Loud family, a mixed up cluster of suburbanites. The show picked up lots ... See full summary »

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Series cast summary:
Patricia Loud ...
 Herself (12 episodes, 1973)
Bill Loud ...
 Himself (12 episodes, 1973)
Lance Loud ...
 Himself (12 episodes, 1973)
Kevin Loud ...
 Himself (12 episodes, 1973)
Grant Loud ...
 Himself (12 episodes, 1973)
Delilah Loud ...
 Herself (12 episodes, 1973)
Michelle Loud ...
 Herself (12 episodes, 1973)


This was the original "Real World". The show was a weekly documentary which followed the real life travails of the Loud family, a mixed up cluster of suburbanites. The show picked up lots of interesting footage, including an on-camera divorce demand from wife Pat to her husband, and the coming-out of one of the children who was gay. Written by Anthony Ventarola <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Official Sites:



Release Date:

11 January 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Loud Family  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

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Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #19.129 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

A blast from the past
7 January 2003 | by (Chicago, Illinois, USA) – See all my reviews

While channel-surfing last night I came across what appeared to be an old, fuzzy color film of a drag queen review on Public TV last night. Intrigued, I looked it up and discovered it was an episode of the old pioneering reality series "An American Family," something I had completely forgotten for the last 30 years. This was the episode where Pat Loud goes to New York to visit with her son Lance, who was openly gay and living beyond his means at the Chelsea Hotel amongst other arty young gay men. This must have been pretty shocking stuff for the early 1970s. I really knew nothing about Lance, but listening to his very young self rambling incoherently about what he wanted out of life, I felt a bit sad for him, and on searching the Internet the next day I found out that he had died from complications of AIDS in 2001. He lived a colorful life that was not without success (punk band front man, journalist), but back then in the 1970s he looked to me like one sad, confused kid.

I still recall the media hype surrounding this series, and watching the premier back in 1973 when it first aired. What struck me most about this California family then was their considerable affluence, so foreign to my own life experience. I remember seeing a report, aired some time after the series had run, in which Corporate executive Bill Loud (the father) complained about the effect it had on the life of his family, and how his co-workers regarded him. That "Lance in New York" episode certainly must have given those old-fashioned corporate guys a good chuckle. But the report also spoke to the vehement class hatred which the series had unexpectedly stirred up. Letters sent to the Loud family contained threatening statements like "you'd better watch out for your kids," and so on. I can, in fact, vividly recall the Loud siblings being introduced one by one in that premier episode, and the shout of disdain my mother issued when the youngest son was shown noisily practicing his trombone in his bedroom. Why that disdain for such an innocent activity? Well, if you've spent your entire life living in cramped urban apartments, you know that you can't let your child learn the friggin' trombone at home (assuming you can buy the damned thing for him in the first place), unless you want to risk eviction. Envy? Yeah, sure, but sometimes it gets the better of you. Class hatred in this country seems likely be exacerbated in the next few years by both the major political parties. Some things never change.

This New York episode was certainly a fascinating time capsule of the late hippie era. I wonder if you can still climb to the top of a fountain in the park (as someone was shown doing in this episode) without getting arrested in what is still pretty much Giuliani's New York?

16 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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