Whether they were orphaned or removed from an abusive home, there are many TV characters we love who spent time in foster care as part of their backstory. Sometimes, this experience is treated with a comedic touch, but more often than not, the foster care background has tragic undertones. Here are some beloved TV characters who were raised in the foster care system.
Erin, "The Office"
Erin may be a relatively recent addition to the line-up of "The Office," but we love her offbeat antics. Despite her sunny disposition now, we are given hints that she wasn't always happy when she was young and in a foster home. When she finds out that Andy and Angela were once engaged, she has a pretty major freakout, and hides in her hair, saying that in the foster home, her hair was her room.
Ryan, "The O.C."
Especially in the show's first season, being sent into foster care was depicted as being Ryan's worst nightmare, so much so that he'd rather run away. After being physically abused, it was hard for him to develop healthy relationships.
The Boys of "Sons of Tucson"
The whole premise of "Sons of Tucson" is that a group of young kids (all brothers) hire a random guy to pretend to be their father, in order to prevent the kids from going into foster care. They'd rather stay together in their own home than be sent into whatever home Child Services declared fit.
Something similar is discussed in an first season episode of Showtime's "Shameless," when Carl isn't doing well in school. In a short semi-flashback, we see snapshots of the Gallagher kids with foster families they had been assigned to in the past.
Dr. Brennan, "Bones"
After her parents went missing, Brennan got put in foster care. The experience was traumatic: she was once locked in the trunk of a car for two days because she broke a plate. In the Season 3 episode, "The Baby in the Bough," we learn Brennan is a registered foster parent, in order to protect her brother's stepdaughters in case anything should happen to him.
Okay, let's end things on a happier note. In an all-too-rare example of a happy foster family situation on TV, the character of Ricky on "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" is fostered out to a family. However, his experience is very positive: his foster parents are loving and caring, and he even calls them mom and dad.