Thursday, December 10, 2009

Why Modern Family is the Best New Show of the Season

Okay, I'm going to be honest:  The main reason I started watching Modern Family is because of Ed O'Neil.  He was Al Bundy on Married with Children, and I grew up with that show adoring every minute of it.

After reading a couple of Entertainment Weekly interviews and articles, plus seeing the previews at the movie threatre in the Twenty, I was definitely excited for this show.  Except I suddenly realized that Modern Family was on at the same time as Ghost Hunters, and my mother will not give that up for anything.  Trust me, I've tried.

But that would not deter me!  I have watched every single episode online and have loved every single one.  What's really great about the show is that while I love Ed O'Neil, the show isn't solely about it him.  It's an ensemble cast, and even though you might only go in caring about one group, you end up wondering what's going on with everyone else.

The family is dysfunctional, and I mean that in the absolute best way.  You don't need me to tell you the characters; I'm sure you've all seen the previews for it.  I love the relationship portrayed between Cam and Mitch (Jay's son) because it's not overly-cliched nor is it trying to prove a point regarding homosexuality and in your face about it.  (I truly do think messages are more well-received when it's subtle rather than blunt, but that's just me.)  Jay is almost nothing like Al Bundy, but that's not a bad thing.  Ed O'Neil has the talent to portray such a wide variety of people, and yet make them ruggedly lovable.  His relationship with his wife Gloria isn't flamboyant, nor is it stereotypical.  You can tell that the two really do love each other.  But it's Jay's relationship Gloria's son Manny that's really interesting to watch.  Manny, quite mature for his age, and Jay are clashing in different ways, and yet they learn from each other.  I also have a soft-spot for Phil, Claire's hunsband, who, himself, is just a kid at heart.  But I also really love the dynamic between Claire (Jay's daughter) and her husband because though they're different in many different ways, they balance each other out.

It's the subtle context in the relationships between the family that really make the show.  The writers are ridiculously talented, and the show is lucky to have them.  That, along with the performances the actors give, is the reason to watch this show.  It's witty and humorous, but there's also a lesson learned.  But don't worry; the message isn't thoroughly preached.  Most of the time.

I love the fact that the mockumentary form of filming is used, only because I cannot stand that typical canned laughter sitcoms have.  If you want a successful sitcom, allow your audience to figure out what's funny and what's not without shoving down fake laughter down their throats. 

That, and hiring Ed O'Neil of course. 

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