Modern Family Season 2 - 5 out of 5
I'm not the biggest fan of comedies on broadcast television. I've always found the majority of them to be nothing but rehashed stories about married couples filled with cliche jokes and laugh tracks so the audience doesn't forget to laugh. No network has been guiltier of this atrocity and lack of originality than CBS. However, on occasions, like that 1 dentist out of 5, there is a surprise out there. A show comes along that completely breaks away from the norm and brings to broadcast television something unique or twists an old idea and makes it fresh. Arrested Development was something unseen on T.V. before but since it lacked a laugh track or tiresome reoccurring jokes of people falling down (like J.D. on Scrubs), the show was deemed too foreign for the Soccer Moms and Nascar Dads and was cancelled--I will never forgive you Fox for doing that. But sometimes these rare shows become accepted because all the right people find it and keep it on the air and Modern Family is a prime example of this.
Modern Family takes the tired old premise of a sitcom involving the nuclear family and turns it on its head. Rather than focus on the wacky adventures of the Mom and Dad with their 3.5 kids, the show focuses on three separate families all related together. You have the elder, played by Al Bundy himself; Ed O'Neill. He stars as Jay Pritchett who was able to get his hands on a young, extremely sexy trophy wife played by Sofia Vergara who has a son (Manny) from a previous marriage. Jay has two children: His daughter, Claire Dunphy who has three kids with her husband Phil and his son, Mitchell, who has an adopted daughter with his life partner, Cam.
The show is centered around these three families as they go through their normal activities--of course, funny stuff happens because it nothing funny was happening on this comedy, it would probably be on CBS and running after Two and a Half Men. Without being able to find a more suitable word, this show is practically perfect. Every character has the unique combination of being both adorable and hilarious. Every character is charming, loveable and capable of delivering true, honest laughter from me in every episode. Not a disingenuous "LOL" that is often delivered in text form. Seriously, I've actually laughed myself exhausted on episodes.
This show literally has everything. Not only is the writing fantastic and is presented in a "mockumentary" style format complete with confessionals from the characters and stealing glances at the camera that puts every character in The Office to shame but every actor on the show carriers their weight perfectly. This show, in my opinion, has no weak links in the chain. Sure Sofia Vergara is incredibly hot to the point it almost seems impossible but she's hysterical. And we already know Ed O'Neill is a funny guy because he made us laugh for 10 years as Al Bundy. Even the children on there bringing the funny--which is rare because to find a child actor who can both act and be funny is something that can only be parallel to finding a unicorn. Yes, at times Manny creeps me out because he too convincingly pull off the child trying too hard to be an adult but that's what makes him great in his role.
But, the real winner of this show and my favorite character has to be Phil Dunphy, played by Ty Burrell. Not only is he one of the funniest characters on the show, I see a lot of myself in him. His socially awkward presence combined with his nerdy attitude and deep down belief that he is the "cool dad" has completely sold me that he is exactly how I am going to be as a father. The guy who thinks he's "hip" and "down" and speaks the kids "lingo" but in reality, doesn't get it. Hell, I'm not even a father now and I'm pretty sure I don't get it.
The show also earns points for further breaking away from the norm by offer up a family that is quickly becoming more commonplace. And that is the gay couple showcased with Mitchell and Cam. Like every other character on the show, Mitchell (played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam (played by Eric Stonestreet) are absolutely hysterical but getting to see an openly gay couple struggling to raise an adopted daughter is quite refreshing and pretty cool to see because it shows how our society is making strides (albeit slowly) towards acceptance of alternative lifestyles. Sure the show is a comedy but all comedy is commentary on our real life and yes, the couple has received some criticism from the gay community because the two men are never shown being affectionate towards each other in the form of public displays of affection but that aside, just getting to see a homosexual couple represented on a sitcom is better than watching whatever latest sitcom about the blue-collar husband making lame Viagra jokes to his stay at home wife while walking back and forth from the living room to the kitchen that is always separated by a swinging door.
From my own observation from the show, the lack of physical affection (particular when it comes to kissing between the two) is never something I really paid attention to because when I see Mitch and Cam together, the actors who portray them are so good and so understand the characters that it seems, at least to me, that they have been together long enough that they are comfortable with each other and are at that point in their relationship where they have finally settled on what highway they want to be on and are ready for the long haul. In fact, it wasn't until the Facebook campaign started to get the two characters to smooch on screen is when I realized that I never saw them kiss on the show. Ferguson and Stonestreet are so convincing as a gay couple living together that, until that point, I actually believed that I had seen them kiss on the show.
Quite possibly the greatest moment of the season: The Dunphy kids walking in on Claire and Phil having sex.
Season 2 continued the fast pace comedy and warmth that the first season brought to the airwaves and not only was the show a breath of fresh air in the dry wasteland of televised comedies, the fact it was able to keep the level it had upon its release is something of a rarity as well. It's this level of quality that makes it no surprise that it swept the Emmy Awards this year. I can't wait for the next season--if only to take some notes on what Phil is doing so I can be prepared when I become a father.