So said Billy Gray, who played Bud on "Father Knows Best," quoted in this article that notes that Jane Wyatt, who played the mother on the show, has died.
The writer of the article, Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, comments:
"Father Knows Best" was just kind of background noise for me. I watched it occasionally, but if you're talking black-and-white shows about happy nuclear families, I preferred "Leave It to Beaver."...Are those idealized family shows ridiculous, harmful, or helpful? Don't we know how to extract what is useful from an unreal story? Every decade has its popular shows that are unreal in some way that reflects the insecurities and hopes of its time. But maybe Gray is right, and we extract the wrong things from those shows.
As a girl in the 1970s, watching this kind of show 20 years after they were made, I never felt inspired to pretend to be helpless or use my feminine wiles to attract men because of that or any show. That wasn't the world I lived in. Watching these shows was like flipping through an old photo album, but never having any desire to wear spats or leg o'mutton sleeves. Instead I took from "Father Knows Best" and its ilk a more basic plotline: That families, at their best, love each other no matter what, and stick together when the world is confusing and cold. In my own home, Father and Mother knew best together.
I watched "Father Knows Best" and "Leave It to Beaver" when they originally aired. Like Cooper, I too felt a much closer attraction to the "Leave It to Beaver" family. I wanted Ward and June for my parents, not Jim and Margaret. Who knows what subtle difference made the Cleavers more inviting?