Think Your Fam's Dysfunctional? These Clans Have You Beat For Sure

Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
You can love your family and also understand that, objectively speaking, they are a total shit show. (Take it from someone who knows. I cannot recall a holiday in recent memory where someone didn't end up weeping in a locked bathroom. It's kind of a tradition, at this point.)

But, no matter what level of dysfunction your family displays when they're all cooped up together, there is comfort to be found in the fact that there is always another clan that is more of a mess than yours could ever be. Even if that family isn't technically real.

We've pulled together a collection of the most dysfunctional familiar clans from TV and the movies. And I have to say: I felt a lot better after doing it. Because this year, when I barricade myself in the water closet for a brief sob fest after my cousin says something snide, I'll do it remembering that there are plenty of fucked up families I'm lucky not to belong to. Happy holidays, folks.

More Entertainment Stories:
We Are Living For These Photos Of Hollywood's Golden Age
Don't Write Off This Lady Gaga Song As A Basic Bitch Anthem
How Romeo + Juliet Almost Ruined My Middle School Social Life
1 of 31
Photo: Dreamworks/REX/Shutterstock.
The Burnham clan from American Beauty

Mom and dad's domestic breakdown culminates in dad almost deflowering daughter's bitchy best friend? Yeah. Yikes.
2 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
Selena & Catherine Meyer from Veep

File this family under: When your mom is a scheming political up-and-comer and couldn't care less about how that impacts your life. The most stable member of this clan is actually Gary, who isn't even a blood relative — just the resident-in-Chapstick-carrier.
3 of 31
Photo: Orion/Paramount/REX/Shutterstock.
The Addams Family from the movie & series of the same name

Imagine having an eight-foot butler who looks a helluva lot like Frankenstein packing your lunch every day, because your mom and dad are too busy making out and grandma has to tend the cauldron. But at least they all seem to really enjoy one another's company?
4 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
The Rayburns from Bloodline

All I'm saying is that there's something fishy going on at that wharf. That's an open water joke. But seriously: This show could also be called Murderous Siblings and nothing about the plot would have to change.
5 of 31
Photo: Photofest.
Little Edie & Big Edie from Grey Gardens

In addition to becoming an art-house must-see movie, Grey Gardens also cataloged the very strange relationship between a mother and daughter cooped up in a ramshackle Hamptons mansion. Whatever issues you have with your own mom will pale in comparison — I promise.
6 of 31
The Burroughs pseudo-fictional family from Running With Scissors

What happens when you decide to send your only son to live with a psychiatrist obsessed with reading signs in his own feces? This memoir-turned-movie does. It's a wonder that real-life writer Augusten Burroughs survived his own childhood (mostly) unscathed.
7 of 31
Photo: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock.
The Byrnes & the Fockers from Meet the Parents

When your father-in-law is a former C.I.A. operative and might be trying to kill you, and your own dad is on major hippy-dippy mode, things can get weird — fast.
8 of 31
Photo: Photofest.
The Altman clan from This Is Where I Leave You

All I'm saying is that secrets blow their lid when your dad dies and you're forced to sit Shiva with your semi-estranged siblings for a couple days.
9 of 31
Photo: David Lee/20th Century Fox/REX/Shutterstock.
The Hoover gang from Little Miss Sunshine

Instant recipe for family madness: Pack everybody in a VW van for 800 miles. Throw in some depression issues and financial woes. Bam: You've got a heartwarming dramedy about togetherness.
10 of 31
Photo: Miramax/REX/Shutterstock.
The Coplins from Flirting With Disaster

If I could recommend any movie to watch with your family over the holidays this year, it would be this one. Mel and Nancy Coplin have a new baby, but they can't decide what to name him until Mel finds his birth parents. So the couple sets out with a social worker across the country to track Mel's bio-family down — except, of course, it's not an easy trip.
11 of 31
Photo: Photofest.
The McCallisters from Home Alone

I'm just pointing out that I probably would have called Child Protective Services on Kevin's mom because I'm uncool like that.
12 of 31
Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX/Shutterstock.
The Crandell kids from Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead

Would you leave your kids home with a strange old woman while you jetted off to Australia for two months? And if that strange old woman died, would your kids decide not to call and tell you what happened and instead try and prove that they don't need a mom or a babysitter?

(If you said "yes" to either of those questions, congratulations. You're an honorary Crandell.)
13 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
The Belchers from Bob's Burgers

Okay, okay — I wouldn't say this family is dysfunctional so much as that they are a fun family with a side of dysfunction. But when you're feeling like your brother is driving you nuts, just imagine what it would be like to be a Belcher kid.
14 of 31
Photo: Touchstone Pi/REX/Shutterstock.
The Tenenbaums from The Royal Tenenbaums

Two of these kids are secretly in love with each other and the other one insists on wearing matching sweatsuits with his own children. Not super normal, to say the least.
15 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of Amazon Prime.
The Pfeffermans from Transparent

No one is arguing that being part of this family wouldn't be awesome sometimes. But they definitely know how to bring the drama, and sometimes you just want to have a brunch sesh without someone bursting into tears.
16 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
The Smiths from American Dad

Meet the Smiths! They drink often and have a lewd alien living in the attic. Do you have a lewd alien living in the attack? No? Then you're already more normal than this crew.
17 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of AMC.
The Drapers from Mad Men

Was there anything worse than watching Don and Betty ruin their relationship, one episode at a time? I still think not. Those two were just narcissistic enough to make it work together.
18 of 31
Photo: Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock.
The Fishers from Six Feet Under

What happens when your dad dies and leaves you his mortuary business, and your mom starts to go increasingly insane? You and your two siblings are stuck trying to keep each other upright, despite the fact that all of you lack the emotional stability to take care of yourselves.
19 of 31
Photo: HBO/REX/Shutterstock.
The Sopranos from The Sopranos

TBH I always wanted to join this family. (Maybe it was the ample pasta meals?) But that whole married-to-the-mob thing definitely has its drawbacks.
20 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
The Lyons pride from Empire

Yep. I did make a lion joke above. Not sorry about it. Also not sorry about enjoying all the drama on this show, and rooting for Cookie to win out above all in the end.
21 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
The Griffins from Family Guy

A baby who is trying to take over the world and a buffoon dad who seems to sort of selectively love his kids (and always love them less than his talking dog?). Yeah, this is fun to watch on TV but not a family I think I'd want to be a part of IRL.
22 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of AMC.
The Whites from Breaking Bad

Terminally ill dad starts cooking and selling meth to take care of his family after his death, and then wife turns on him and becomes least-likable mom on TV? Check.
23 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
The Bluths from Arrested Development

The whole premise of this series is that the extended family, all three generations, are a bunch of knuckleheads. But at least there's never a dull moment?
24 of 31
Photo: Photofest.
The Henricksons from Big Love

Just putting it out there: That's a lot of wives.
25 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
Jax & Gemma from Sons of Anarchy

True story: This is the mother/son dynamic of my nightmares. There is definitely such a thing as too close, and these two always seem to be toeing that line.
26 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
The Lannisters from Game of Thrones

If you don't already know why, then I would suggest going back to season one and starting all over again.
27 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of FX.
The Reynolds fam from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Honestly, I cannot think of a more dysfunctional family than Sweet Dee, Dennis, and Frank, unless it's Sweet Dee, Dennis, Frank, and Charlie, who may or may not be Frank's son, and thereby Sweet Dee and Dennis's half-step-brother. Yep. It's complicated.
28 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of Fox.
The Simpsons from The Simpsons

Imagine if your family was stuck in time for almost 30 years and nothing ever changed. Do you think you would all go crazy?
29 of 31
Photo: Courtesy of Showtime.
The Gallagher Family from Shameless

I actually feel like this show is a testament to how families take care of one another. But you have to admit that six kids — left to completely fend for themselves, while their deadbeat dad randomly shows up and makes a mess of the lives — is kind of a messed up situation.
30 of 31
Photo: Photofest.
The Gilmores from Gilmore Girls

Codependency can be a beautiful thing. But it can also drive you completely insane.
31 of 31
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of celebrity news, fun takes on pop culture, and trending stories on the Refinery29 Entertainment Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!

More from Pop Culture


R29 Original Series