‘Modern Family’ is Awesome

| Cadenza Reporter

It’s been a great season for television. With numerous hits such as “Flash Forward,” “Glee” and “Community,” television is looking up. However, the best new show this fall is undoubtedly “Modern Family.” This is not solely based on ratings or the utter hilarity that ensues every week, but also on the way it has managed to resuscitate the family comedy and approach it in a fresh new way. “Modern Family” is truly a comedy for our time. It’s full of sharp one-liners, huge gags and relatable mishaps. In addition, it’s a social commentary on the evolving definition of “family.”  Not since “Arrested Development” has television brought us such an eclectic family that encounters real problems and tackles them with first-rate humor.

“Modern Family” has a multi-layered formula, combining aspects from different shows, making it almost unrecognizable as any other sitcom. It employs the mockumentary framework of “The Office” with confessionals that add to the comedy without over-sentimentalizing, as well as bringing in faces from other popular comedies—Ed O’Neill from “Married…With Children” and Julie Bowen from “Ed.”

“Modern Family” is about the Pritchett clan: Jay Pritchett (Ed O’Neill) is the patriarch, remarried to the younger, Latina stunner Gloria (Sofia Vergara). Jay can’t enjoy the company of his bombshell wife as he would like to, since he also lives with Gloria’s overly precocious son, Manny (Rico Rodriguez). Jay’s daughter, Claire (Julie Bowen), is married to Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell), and they are the quintessential suburban couple with three kids. Claire is the domineering, all-knowing mother to Phil’s goofball who classifies his parenting style as “peer-enting,” due to his knowledge of all the “High School Musical” dances and his use of words like “dude,” “down,” etc. Claire’s brother Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and his partner Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) recently adopted a baby from Vietnam. Mitchell and Cameron struggle to find a balance fitting into their new world of playgroups and sippy cups. Avoiding cliché gay stereotypes, Mitchell and Cameron are complex characters whose anxieties over parenting make them believable and lovingly neurotic.

The kids of “Modern Family” manage to almost match the comic talents of their older colleagues. Claire and Phil’s kids, Haley (Sarah Hyland), Alex (Ariel Winter) and Luke (Nolan Gould) make a dynamic trio of siblings. Teen Haley protests her mother’s need to know her boyfriend while Luke gets punished for shooting Alex with his BB gun, and Phil must shoot him in return. When the whole family gets together, Manny adds some spice, as he and Luke get into a fight at school when Manny insists on calling Luke his nephew.

“Modern Family” is actually funny; case in point, it averages an impressive 10 million viewers and wins its timeslot every week. The show’s laughs come from the quirks and shenanigans that occur within a real, diverse family. “Modern Family” is a comedy that can appeal to virtually anyone. It has jokes for all audiences to appreciate. From the six episodes that have aired, some of the best moments include when Jay questions Manny about the traditional Colombian poncho he wants to wear on his first day of school: “Am I driving him to school or is he riding his burro?” During a photo shoot when Cameron dresses their baby Lily up as Diana Ross, Mitchell bumps her head on the wall and rushes her to a doctor. When the doctor asks what Lily had on her head as a buffer, Cameron blurts out “a ghetto fabulous wig,” to which Mitchell says, “You thought ‘ghetto fabulous’ might be medically relevant?” Phil displays his true understanding of his wife in a confessional when he states, “The other day, Claire was like, ‘You have to move your car, there’s no space in the garage for both of our cars.’ What she’s saying, you know, is that I should probably get a sports car.”

“Modern Family” is certainly modern, original and very funny. What more could a viewer want?