CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Last week, one of the shows I wrote about after getting caught up on it was ABC Family's "Twisted." During the weekend, I got caught up on the channel's other new summer drama: "The Fosters."
The show centers on interracial lesbian couple Stef Foster (Teri Polo) and Lena Adams (Sherri Saum) and their teenage children: Brandon (David Lambert), Stef's biological son from a previous heterosexual marriage; Jesus (Jake T. Austin) and Mariana (Cierra Ramirez), foster twins they adopted, and Callie (Maia Mitchell) and Jude (Hayden Byerley), siblings they are fostering who were removed from an abusive household. Brandon's dad, Mike (Danny Nucci), is also still in the picture; he and Stef are partners on the police force.
It's an OK show. I don't like it nearly as much as "Switched at Birth," its predecessor on Monday nights and my favorite ABC Family show, or even "Twisted," but it's not bad. It's got an interesting family dynamic to draw you in and a bit of mystery as troubles from Callie's past surface.
Speaking of Callie, Maia Mitchell is one of the reasons I like the show. The Australian teen is engaging and definitely an actress to watch. (You can also see her in Disney Channel's "Teen Beach Movie," premiering at 8 p.m. Friday.)
The other, bigger reason I like it, though, is it depicts this family normally.
Yes, Lena and Stef are gay. Yes, they're an interracial family. Yes, Callie and Jude are foster children.
All of these things are there and part of the Fosters' story, but they're just that: part of it. They provide storylines, but they're not the only stories.
There's plenty of regular family and teenage drama, too, that viewers, no matter what their families look like, can relate to (sibling squabbles, room sharing, relationship troubles, fights with parents, etc.). By mingling the Fosters' unique stories with universal family spats and teen drama, the show makes them ordinary, not exotic, and that, to me, is a wonderful thing.