Tracy and I had a sordid relationship with The Fosters, which is to say, we don’t really love it at all. I mean, Tracy actually ranked the show’s passion index using the sponges of sadness. So when I tackled watching The Fosters finale, I did so with a drink in my hand and the baseball game score on tap.
Freeform is Changing
One of the things I noticed at WonderCon, and with all the new shows on Freeform, is that they’re headed in a new direction. They’re stepping further and further away from the motif of ‘family’ and more boldly into an oft-forgotten target audience: 20-somethings. This feeling I had was reinforced by the ABC/Freeform/Disney upfronts, where they stated outright that they were focusing on Millennials.
With that in mind, The Fosters is a sort of janky fit. And more so, the planned spin-off of Good Trouble, staring Callie and Mariana, made me question the compatibility of the genial world of the Foster Adams family and the gritty noir of things like Cloak & Dagger.
At seven minutes in, Mariana busted out with calling someone a “bag of dicks,” I burst out laughing, and realized that they were bridging the gap. Similar to how Grown-ish also dips a toe into the adult world while people are still children, The Fosters is pushing their kids forward.
The Fosters isn’t Changing
Some things have changed. Characters have progressed five years, Judicorn is now in college, the moms have a new foster kid (who is adorable), and Callie is a successful graduate. There are of course moments of drama, but for the most part it’s all still family oriented. It’s safe, it’s simple, and it’s alright. The thing is, that’s actually what made The Fosters interesting at first. Married lesbians who were simple and normal, even if their kids were absolutely insane. They helped normalize the idea that family is family.
When The Fosters started, Freeform was still known as ABC Family, and their tagline was “A New Kind of Family.” Now as Freeform, “A Little Forward,” they’re very much taking that to heart and showing us a path forward.
A New Kind of Forward
That’s really what The Fosters finale is. It’s a finale, a closing of the door, and it’s a new sort of family in a new kind of way. This is the end of the simple shows on Freeform. And it’s a good ending to this part of the journey. Indeed, we belonged here, just a little bit, for five seasons. Now it’s time to let go.
Tomorrow night begins the first of three episodes that closes out The Fosters and gives us an opportunity to say goodbye to our (let’s be honest) boring family. Next up? Some Good Trouble with my most and least favorite of the kids. I hope they remember it’s not where they came from.
Watch The Fosters finale Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at 8pm ET/7pm CT on Freeform. It’s good to say goodbye.