Thursday, December 22, 2011

I Am A "Modern Family" Junkie

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Today, I'm moving on to a more lighthearted look at "family", after the somber, personal musings of my previous entry...

As some readers have guessed, I don't watch a lot of television. It's more of a timing thing, as I have so many other likes, hobbies, and responsibilities. I tune in for movies, news, special live broadcasts, ad retro stuff.

I had never watched a full episode of the ABC family comedy "Modern Family", in spite of media raves and the urging of friends, until earlier this week.  Mark received the Season 1 DVD at a holiday office-party gift-exchange.

Since then we watched the first six episodes, and now I am hooked.

"Modern Family" breathes contemporary life into the traditionally crowd-pleasing but recently tired and pandering sitcom genre. Using recent techniques like roving camera, into-the-lens interviews, and characters stealing sly glances right at us, this show remembers the conventions that made the family comedy so comfortable and so funny. 

It is filled with hilarious situations, mining today's culture for honest and satiric observations that make us laugh in recognition.  It offers recognizable locations, and actual establishing shots.  The characters are funny and foibled, but have a warm center of humanity, and we love spending time with them. It is filmed and directed with impeccable care, and the tone is consistently sunny yet does not blink from the embarrassments of real life.

I have not laughed so hard at a TV series in years..   Nor have I loved the characters in quite the same way.  I have developed a real affection for the foibles of these characters, so sharply written and so precisely and joyously performed by a talented cast. 

I especially love Ty Burr's lovable but fumbling "cool dad", Sofia Vergara's fiery and fun-loving Colombiana with Rico Rodriguez as her precocious son, and the amazingly rare and warm portrayal of a male couple in Suburbia (Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet) as the newly adoptive parents of a South Asian baby girl.  In fact, the entire cast, rounded out by Ed O'Neill, Julie Bowen, Nolan Gould, Sarah Hyland and Ariel Winter, are all fabulous.

Best of all: All of the characters are related, either by blood or marriage, with surprising and funny connections. 

The show pokes fun at everyone and everything that forms part of our middle-class culture: multi-cultural households, middle-age and beyond,  parents as buddies, kids and their gadgets, gay drama queens, Costco, female competition, and male bonding.  And that's just the first six episodes.

I can't wait to finish Season 1, and devour Season 2 as well, and report on it later!

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