How well do you know your family sitcoms?

No matter what you call it, "the telly," "the boob tube," "the idiot box," or simply "the TV," the television has played a major role in American households for over half a century. Through the magic of television, families have had front row seats to moon landings, presidential inaugurations, royal weddings, and Olympic competitions. And thanks to the situation comedy, families have been able to poke a bit of fun at family life through the adventures of TV families.

Over the years, the family sitcom has proven to be the great equalizer and has consistently been able to bring parents and children together to share a brief half hour of laughter. Those fictional families have become part of our cultural heritage, and thanks to the reissuing of sitcoms of decades past on DVD, today's parents can share their favorite childhood programs with their own children. But first, let's see just how well you know your sitcom families.

1. The Simpsons

"The Simpsons" is the longest running sitcom, animated show, and scripted prime-time series in history, though the characters haven't aged a day since their 1987 debut. The family dog has been at the family's side through more than 500 episodes. Where did the Simpsons find Santa’s Little Helper?

Waiting on death row at the Springfield Animal Rescue League

Slinking around behind the racetrack

Hanging around the Springfield Retirement Castle

Begging for food outside the Burns mansion

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About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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