The Nuclear Family Goes Boom!

LOOSELY KNIT CLANS WILL BECOME THE NORM AS SINGLE PARENTS, CONFUSED KIDS AND MORE OLDSTERS COMPETE FOR LOVE AND SUPPORT

When cartoon-show creators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera strained their imaginations (ever so slightly) to picture the family of the future, it was a pretty simple exercise. Take your basic nuclear family: the modern, shop-happy housewife, the corporate-drone dad, two rambunctious kids and a dog; house them in a spacy-looking split-level; power their car with atomic energy; equip their home with a robot maid; and, whammo, you had it -- a space-age Cleaver family named The Jetsons.

In an age of working mothers, single parents and gay matrimony, George Jetson and his clan already seem quaint even to the baby boomers...

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