Off the tube: Modern Family

By Laura Crowley

Writer

Now in its second season, the mockumentary-style comedy “Modern Family” is gaining viewers and critical acclaim.  The 22-minute show has 12.1 million viewers.  The show has equally caught critics’ attention, as Time Magazine called it “the funniest sitcom pilot of the fall” and USA Today deemed it “the best of the bunch.”

The show centers around three “modern” families living in Los Angeles, Calif.  The first consists of Jay Pritchett, his Colombian wife Gloria Delgado Pritchett, distinctive for her looks and thick accent, and their son Manny.  The second family includes Jay’s son Mitchell Pritchett, his partner Cameron Tucker and their adopted Vietnamese daughter Lily, while the third family consists of Jay’s daughter Claire Dunphy, Claire’s husband Phil and their three kids.

Each episode depicts the lives of the three American families with regular filming as well as private interviews.  A recent episode, “Halloween,” centers on how each family celebrates Halloween.  Claire Dunphy is most involved in Halloween, as she claims it is “her” holiday and makes a haunted house, which receives no acclaim from her extended family as they are all busy with their own lives. Gloria Delgado Pritchett is too preoccupied with correcting her thick accent and sounding perfectly American. Cameron Tucker is too preoccupied with sharing his hatred for Halloween after an incident that happened to him trick-or-treating at age 10.

Variety magazine says Modern Family is “flitting among three storylines, it’s smart, nimble and best of all, funny, while actually making a point about the evolving nature of what constitutes ‘family.’”  According to the show, it seems America’s “modern family” can be considered fast-paced, sarcastic and unconventional.  Perhaps because of the suggestions it makes of today’s family, The New York Post thinks “it’s funny, it’s vicious, it’s politically incorrect.”

Critics seem most relieved that there is finally another good family sitcom on television.  “The Miami Herald” goes so far to say that it is the first good family sitcom in two decades: “For the first time since “Married … With Children” stood the genre on its head two decades ago, somebody has come up with a new take on the family sitcom, and the results are riotously funny.”

Even for those less interested in family dynamic, the show is worth seeing for its original wit and storylines.  Episodes air at 9 p.m. every Wednesday or can be viewed online at any time.

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