Modern Family, Series Premiere On ABC
by Laura Tucker
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The best thing you can say about the pilot for Modern Family is that it lives up to its name. It is modern families, and modern families the way we all are. It’s not that normal sitcom type of family that are perfect and resolve all conflicts at the end of the thirty minutes, but people that make mistakes and usually do the best they can, but not always.
The families are all introduced “documentary style,” and although we don’t realize it at first, they’re all all parts of a larger family, a father and his adult son and daughter. The dad in question is Jay (Ed O’Neill), a character not too much unlike Al Bundy, just older and more real, and with a little more heart. He’s been married for six months to a beautiful Latina woman from Colombia, Gloria (Sofia Vergara). Jay tells his 11-year-old stepson, Manny (Rico Rodriguez) that if he follows through with his plans and puts on a puffy white shirt and asks out a 16-year-old girl, he’ll be swinging from the flag pole in his puffy white underpants.
Jay’s daughter, Claire (Julie Bowen), has been married for sixteen years to Phil and has three kids, Haley, Luke, and Alex. Her major concern right now is 15-year-old Haley (Sarah Hyland), and that she “never wakes up on a beach in Florida half-naked.” Phil (Ty Burrell) thinks he’s the cool dad, yet thinks WTF means “what the face,” and is proud of the fact that he knows all the dances to High School Musical. Seeing him dance and sing to “We’re All In This Together” elicits a laugh from any parent that knows that music and wishes they didn’t.
Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) is Jay’s gay son, and he’s been with his partner Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) for five years. They’ve just returned from a trip to Vietnam where they adopted a baby girl, Lily. Unbeknownst to Mitchell, Cameron has had their friend Andre paint a mural of them with angel wings floating in the clouds in Lily’s bedroom. Mitchell wants to appear “a little less gay” than that, and Cameron tries, yet celebrates by asking for a “sports guy chest bump” after he invites Mitchell’s family over to meet Lily, even though Mitchell hadn’t told them yet that they were adopting.
Modern Family manages to show the ridiculousness of raising children, such as living up to stupid ideas that you had at one point, like saying now that your son shot someone with his BB gun, you need to now shoot him since you said you would before. Yet, it doesn’t stop there. Everyone is too busy, so Phil has to schedule the time in where he will take Luke out in the back and shoot him with the BB gun. It’s ridiculous, but honest.
That’s what we look for in any family sitcom. We look for honesty. We want to see a slice of human life like what we experience, as we want to nod our head in agreement, yet be able to laugh at them, and in essence laugh at ourselves. And that’s precisely what Modern Family does.
Catch the series premiere of Modern Family on ABC Wednesday, September 23, at 9 PM EST.
Laura Tucker Laura Tucker is the webmaster of Reality Shack, and its accompanying Reality Shack Blog, and is a freelance writer providing reviews of movies and television, among other things, at Viewpoints. She is also an Associate Instructor and 2nd dan black belt in tae kwon do with South Elgin Martial Arts. Laura can be reached at LauraBelle@realityshack.com
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