Turn on your television now and you're bound to see a character going through a divorce or dealing with the never-ending demands of single parenthood.
It wasn't always that way, though. For a long time, the small screen was home to scores of strong nuclear families -- and the occasional widowed father (Andy Griffith on "The Andy Griffith Show," Fred MacMurray on "My Three Sons") -- but hardly any divorced characters.
Then, as if television writers finally caught up with the rest of America, divorcés slowly began to trickle onto our television screens. Hey, we can't all be June and Ward Cleaver, right?
Below are 15 of the most memorable divorced characters on television, including past picks who paved the way for some of our favorites on TV today.
Ross Geller on "Friends"
Ross Geller wasn't called "The Divorce Force" for nothing; the man just couldn't seem to stay married. Given that his ill-fated marriage to lesbian Carol ended and he divorced Emily because of his feelings for Rachel (who he <em>also</em> later divorced after they drunkenly wed in Las Vegas), the lovable paleontologist certainly had a hard time getting it together.
Dorothy Zbornak on "The Golden Girls"
On "The Golden Girls," Dorothy Zbornak was the voice of reason in a home of sassy AARP-aged ladies. One decision she regretted? Marrying her ex-husband, Stanley, who she called a "yutz" and couldn't seem to get out of her life. Stan first made an appearance on the show's first season when he attended the wedding of his and Dorothy's daughter, Kate, and obnoxiously hit on Blanche (see video). In a season six shocker, Dorothy fell for Stan again and he persuaded her to remarry him. Thankfully, Dorothy put the kibosh on the marriage when Stan asked her to sign a pre-nuptial agreement.
Vivian Bagley on "The Lucy Show"
Years after playing Lucy's lovable sidekick on "I Love Lucy," Vivian Vance shared screen time with Lucille Ball again on "The Lucy Show." In taking on the role of Vivian Bagley, Lucy's wisecracking roomie, Vance gave television one of its first portrayals of a divorced single mom.
Frasier On "Frasier"
Dr. Frasier Crane could dole out love advice all he wanted on his radio show, but in his own romantic life he was just as clueless as his callers. Whether fumbling through Seattle's single scene or dealing with his ice-queen ex-wife, Lilith, Kelsey Grammer's divorced doc was a character we couldn't help but love.
Jules Cobb on "Cougar Town"
Jules Cobb knows how to take post-divorce life in stride... with a giant red-wine glass she nicknames "Big Joe" firmly in hand. Instead of dwelling on the details of her divorce, Jules -- played by Courteney Cox -- concentrates on raising her teenage son and hanging out with her good friends, the wine-loving cul-de-sac crew.
Don Draper on "Mad Men"
Before marrying Megan, "Mad Men's" Don Draper dealt with his divorce from Betty by moving into a dumpy Greenwich Village apartment, drinking even more than usual and hiring a high-end call girl to slap him around. The post-divorce debauchery didn't last long though: Don unexpectedly proposed to Megan at the end of season four.
Louie on "Louie"
Louie C.K. captures single parenthood with so much authenticity on his FX comedy "Louie," that sometimes we don't know whether to laugh or cry. (We usually end up doing a combination of both.) Case in point? That scene in season two in which he drops off his daughters, Lily and Jane, at his ex-wife's house and has no clue what do with himself while they're gone. His solution? Binge eating a ton of ice cream and pizza.
Angela Bower on "Who's The Boss"
On "Who's The Boss?," Judith Light played Angela Bower, a career-driven, shoulder-pad wearing divorcee who hires single dad Tony Micelli (Tony Danza) as her live-in housekeeper. By series end, the two single parents ended up falling for each other. We weren't surprised -- what man could resist Angela's overblown '80s hair?
Lou Grant on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show"
Mary Tyler Moore's tough-as-nails boss Lou Grant was one of TV's first divorcés. When his troubled marriage ended, the gruff newspaper man (played by TV vet Ed Asner) reluctantly dove into the '70s dating scene, enduring a blind date with an octogenarian and one awkward night out with Mary Richards (played by Mary Tyler Moore).
Kirk Van Houten on "The Simpsons"
Kirk Van Hought may not be the proudest divorcé -- the sad demo of "Can I Borrow A Feeling" he recorded in an effort to win back his ex-wife reeks of desperation -- but you've got to admire his attempt to be a good dad to son Milhouse, even while the boy calls him "Weekend Dad."
Rhoda Morgenstern on "Rhoda"
In this spin-off of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," Rhoda Morgenstern, Mary's spunky BFF, moved back to New York City, where she married ruggedly handsome divorcé Joe Gerard (David Groh). Two years later, the marriage was over. When we saw Rhoda again in the 2000 made-for-television movie, "Mary and Rhoda," she had married and divorced a French man, Jean-Pierre Rousseau.
Toby Flenderson on "The Office"
Divorcé and HR guy Toby Flenderson not-so-secretly pined for Pam the secretary. He was also Michael Scott's favorite whipping boy. "Toby is in HR, which technically means he works for corporate, so he's really not a part of our family," Michael said in one episode. "Also, he's divorced, so he's really not a part of his family." Michael never let Toby forget about his divorced status, like in the video here when he interrupts Toby's conversation with a visiting handbag saleswoman.
Erica Kane on "All My Children"
Ah, Erica Kane, how could we forget you? Pine Valley's resident vixen has been <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/09/23/140713172/as-all-my-children-ends-susan-lucci-says-goodbye" target="_hplink">married 11 times</a>.
Reba Nell Hart on "Reba"
Talk about an amicable relationship with an ex. On the WB sitcom "Reba," country singer Reba McEntire played a woman who became good friends with her ex -- <em>and</em> the woman he impregnated and ditched her for.
Bill Dauterive On "King of the Hill"
The ultimate sad sack divorcé, Bill Dauterive was hung up on ex-wife Leonare throughout all 13 seasons of "King Of The Hill." Just when it seemed like Bill had finally found love in season five -- with former Texas governor Ann Richards, of all people -- Leonare entered the picture again and tried to steal him away. Bill and Governor Richards ended up breaking up, but not before Bill mooned his scheming ex from the back of Richards' limo. (In the clip here, he masterfully tries to bring heartbroken Boomhauer out of his rut.)