Television: Ultimate Soap Opera

In many ways An American Family is a soap opera. The father, William Loud, 50, is a handsome, successful businessman in flossy Santa Barbara, Calif. The mother, Pat, 45, is equally handsome, with a touch of sophistication her husband lacks. Their five children—Lance, 20; Kevin, 18; Grant, 17; Delilah, 16; and Michele, 14—are bright, good-looking and almost unanimously articulate.

Since no soap opera is complete without anguish, the Loud family has its troubles. Eldest son Lance has migrated to New York to join the gay community. As the twelve episodes of Family unfold on the TV screen, Bill's business runs into serious...

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