Sinister Hands and Full Nests: 14 Types of Family Dysfunction

What makes a family "unconventional"? From the Bluths to the Belchers, we examine the taxonomy of family dysfunction in pop culture.
  1. The Sinister Hand
    Identifiable traits: Manipulation; paranoia; deceit; hiding large sums of money Example: The Bluth family, Arrested Development See also: The Sopranos
  2. So Thaaaaat’s How It Is In That Family
    Traits: Incest; more incest; stuff that skirts the borders of incest Example: The Lannisters, Game Of Thrones See also: Flowers In The Attic, True Detective
  3. Inherit Vice
    Traits: A criminal empire as family business Example: The Corleones, The Godfather See also: Austin Powers (Dr. Evil & Scott Evil), Harry Potter (The Malfoys)
  4. Full Nest Syndrome
    Identifiable traits: Grown children never leave the house (and often actually bring other people into the household) Example: The Huxtables, The Cosby Show See also: Full House
  5. Negative Property/Family Values
    Identifiable traits: Unsupervised kids (and lots of ’em); inappropriate nudity; rusting cars and broken toilets in front yard Example: The Gallaghers, Shameless See also: Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Royle Family
  6. The Etch-A-Sketch family
    Identifiable traits: Short memories; inability to learn or change; occasional asides about never learning or changing Example: The Simpsons See also: Family Guy
  7. The family that slays together stays together
    Traits: Murder; insanity; insane murders Example: The Sawyers, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series See also: The Cabin In The Woods, House Of 1000 Corpses
  8. The Non-Orphaned Orphan
    Identifiable traits: A child is raised by non-parental family members despite having one or more perfectly good parents Example: The Banks-Smith clan, The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air See also: King Of The Hill
  9. Hangin’ By A Thread
    Identifiable traits: Distinctly middle-class; the sheer discomfort of watching a family barely function as a unit Example: The Patakis, Hey Arnold! See also: The Amazing World Of Gumball
  10. The Single, Superheroic Patriarch
    Identifiable traits: Extreme trust by way of dangerous feats of heroism, sheer egotism Example: The Mallards, Darkwing Duck See also: Batman and Robin
  11. They’re Altogether Ooky
    Traits: Weirdness; morbidity; a cheery closeness; some monsterism Example: The Addams Family See also: The Munsters
  12. The Impromptu Parents
    Identifiable traits: Suddenly finding themselves taking care of a young ward, being really awkward at it Example: Baloo, Kit Cloudkicker, Rebecca Cunningham, and Molly Cunningham, TaleSpin See also: Steven Universe
  13. The Cheerful Self-Saboteurs
    Identifiable traits: Overexuberance, incompetence, short-term attention span Example: The Belchers, Bob’s Burgers See also: Raising Hope
  14. Bloodline Of The Gods
    Traits: Immortality; immense power; control over the mortal realm; petty infighting Example: The Endless in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman See also: Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Norse mythology, as well as any fiction derived from or inspired by them.