First: Like most shows on TV, this show is not completely realistic. If you're looking for realism, then quite frankly, TV is not the place you'll find it. Total realism was/is not found on the Brady Bunch, Roseanne, the West Wing, or even your favorite reality show. TV is not meant for reality, it's meant for entertainment...period. How wholesome that entertainment is, is the real question in my opinion. That being said, this show is entertaining regardless of how cheesy some of the plots are or how looney some of the characters act.
Second: This show is a family show, made for families, meant for families. Others can obviously watch, but I believe the main purpose of the show was to give family's something wholesome to watch together, something that address's some serious issues but doesn't always provide all the answers for the issues...and sometimes it does provide answers.
Third: Regarding the characters dialogue being older (more mature) than the character it may belong to. I agree with that. Sometimes there really doesn't seem to be any real difference between alot of the characters dialogue. At times, Ruthie (the youngest daughter) can say something extremely wise and mature, way past her years, something maybe her Teacher or Father wouldn't even know. The same with Simon or any of the other kids for that matter. Alot of the times the most irresponsible of teenagers in the show will display the most responsible attitude and or philosophy. But that being said, I don't necessarily think that that is a bad thing. I think it's actually pretty good (a tad annoying at times), but good none-the-less because I believe it can strike a cord with a viewer of the same age level of the speaker. I believe it can positively influence a young person who may have made some mistakes but still has the power to learn from it and become like a Simon or a Ruthie or a Lucy.
Fourth: Sometimes the Camden's do come down a bit hard on seemingly soft issues, and maybe stress over very small things. But again, I don't necessarily believe that that is a bad thing. In a time where 95% of TV is trying to get parents and authority figures to "let up" or "ease up" on adolescent troublemaking, 7th Heaven is going the other direction. Understanding that most of their audience is probably adolescent teens, rather than giving a pass and supporting that rebellious, defiant, disruptive behaviour, it brings home the possible consequences of that behaviour. Thus helping to instruct kids to take responsibility for there actions because of how their actions can/will affect others, mostly those who love them such as their families.
Fifth: To address an issue brought up by an earlier reviewer, about the Camden kids playing with African-American kids without the discussion of racism coming up. My question isn't why didn't the discussion come up, my question is...why should it come up? We're all equal, why can't the show treat African-Americans and Caucasians as equal and not always put a divide between the two. I think it was a brilliant idea to portray the two different races interacting with each other like there was and is no difference between the two! Isn't that how we really want it to be? Why can't the show portray that?
All that being said, the show does have some flaws in writing and acting. But in this day and age it is still a very good family show, one of the best actually. I do recommend it to family's. Folks who really don't care what their children watch will probably be turned off by it, but those who are longing for wholesome TV regardless of some of it's technical flaws, will find it an oasis in a dry desert.