Created by: Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd
Cast: Ed O’Neill, Sofia Vergara, Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Rico Rodriguez, Sarah Hyland, Ariel Winter, Nolan Gould, Reid Ewing
Synopsis: A comedy series that focuses on three branches of the same family. Patriarch Jay Pritchett (ONeill) is married to much younger Columbian second wife Gloria (Vergara), who comes with her own son from her first marriage Manny (Rodriguez). Jay’s daughter Claire (Bowen) is married to real estate agent Phil Dunphy (Burrell), and they have three children Hayley (Hyland), Alex (Winter) and Luke (Gould). Finally, Jay’s son Mitchell (Ferguson) lives with gay partner Cameron (Stonestreet) and their adopted daughter Lily. Somehow, with so many characters, the show manages to pull in many separate story threads quite successfully.
For me, this is the most consistently entertaining comedy series that has been on television for a long time, actually beating out geek favourite The Big Bang Theory. Whereas the relationship concerns between Leonard and Penny in the latter have a tendency to get a bit repetitive, Modern Family has a new journey available each week, with often unpredictable consequences.
The first episode sets the scene nicely. We are introduced to each family branch separately, with the idiosyncracies of each couple particularly on display. It is only made apparent at the end of the first episode that everyone in the show is related in some way. The show is shot in a semi documentary style, which works really well. Scenes are interrupted by to camera asides that delve into the characters thought processes, often quite amusing themselves.
Many episodes stand out in this first season, whether it be Phil and Claire’s role-playing Valentine’s Day, Luke’s over-the-top birthday with wild animals, a climbing wall and jumping castle, or the final two episodes following the whole family on a holiday to Hawaii. Many episodes are absolutely side-splitting, and this is a series where even the less entertaining episodes are still funnier than the best of some other comedy available on modern TV.
In addition to this though, the series has a real heart, and often examines what is important for a family to be close. Each of these characters have a soft spot, whether they where it on their sleeve like Cameron, or frequently hide it behind a nonplussed exterior like Jay. In the end, the true success of this show is that no matter how different each of these family units are, it is what they share in common that counts. Though Bride of Film Nerd and I often see a lot of Phil and Claire in us, we have had soe of the same arguments as Cam and Mitchell, or we can see other personality traits that are similar to us in Jay and Gloria. The true gold of this show is that these families are every family, and you can care for these characters the same way you can your own kin, while laughing at jokes that often feel just as personal.
5 stars out of 5
Modern Family Season 1 trailer [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5uuMr1YEyE]