Real-Life Partridge Family Too Wholesome for TV

Filed under: In The News, Amazing Kids, Amazing Parents, New In Pop Culture

SheaLaurel band

Credit: ShaeLaurel.com


They're like a real-life Partridge family.

Well, except there are four kids instead of five. Plus, the father is still alive.

Oh, and they can actually play their own instruments.

Other than that, the similarities are amazing. They are, anyway, if you're looking for an angle to plug a new reality show. There's only one problem: Andrew and Janet Witchger and their four kids are too wholesome for television.

Yep, this would-be Partridge family out-wholesomed the TV Patridge family.

Producers have tried, CNN reports, to base a reality show on the Witchgers and their traveling family band, yet two years of tapes are gathering dust.

"They were looking for people who fight and don't like each other and they wanted all this internal conflict, and that's just not us," 17-year-old Kathryn Witchger tells CNN.

A show seemed like a good idea at the time.



Like the musical Partridge family from the 1970s sitcom, the Witchgers travel in a bus. Their journey started in 2001, when Andrew quit his job as a church music director. He and Janet sold their home, got in their bus and just kept going.

ShaeLaurel, the family's Irish folk music group, plays more than 250 shows a year in elementary schools, county fairs and Renaissance festivals across more than 35 states.

"Some people do look at us and think we're really strange," Andrew Witchger tells CNN. "But we're reminded every time we visit somebody that if we were in a house we wouldn't see each other as much. That's how families get disconnected, because it's pretty much inherent that the bigger the house, the bigger the divide."

The Witchger kids -- Christian, 16, Kathryn, 17, Jessica, 19, and Andy, 21 -- are homeschooled. Well, bus-schooled.

They assign themselves homework and give themselves grades, teaching themselves. School is not easy, they tell CNN.

"Believe it or not, we're pretty tough on ourselves," Jessica tells the network. "We're hard-core teachers."

Despite two years of effort by a television crew to show the seamy underbelly of the family Witchger, CNN reports too many family confessionals ended with smiling kids and parents saying, "It was really fun."

"Yeah, if we didn't like each other, we would totally live in a house," Kathyrn tells CNN. She's smiling, of course.

Remember how the Partridges used to say, "C'mon, get happy"? The side of the Witchgers' bus reads: "Keep Smiling."

Related: Mel B. Spices Things Up With Her 'Scary' New Reality Show

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.