I wouldn’t say that I was apprehensive when I first found out about the television show Modern Family, but I wasn’t too excited, either. The concept of the show was that it was going to tell stories from three interrelated families, some of which would be told in the style of faux documentary film making, like The Office and Parks and Recreation. There were too many fake documentary like shows already, I thought to myself before I started watching it when it first aired in the fall of 2009. It only took a few minutes of watching the show to realize that it could really be funny.
Just to start, one of the bits that got me came in part of this promotional clip for the show that took place in the first episode.
The part of the clip that hooked me takes place on the airplane, where Cameron and Mitchell (two men who are gay and partners) are bringing home their adopted daughter. A woman passes by and says that she thinks it’s adorable to see a baby with two cream puffs. Mitchell stands up and announces that if it weren’t for the two cream puffs, the baby would still be an orphan. Cameron interrupts what is about to be a tirade against homophobia to point out that the baby is, in fact, holding two actual cream puffs. Mitchell offers to buy ear plugs for the whole plane.
Here is another one of my favorite moments in the show, taking place after Jay (brilliantly portrayed by Ed O’Neil) is trying to comfort his wife Gloria, whom he grossly offended by stepping on some of the cultural values she held dear after the death of a family member. In turn, she tricks him into slapping a chicken, telling him that this is a significant Colombian ritual.
The show has many moments like these — the sorts of misunderstandings that I remember laughing at while watching Three’s Company and Ally McBeal. If you want a good laugh on Wednesday nights, then Modern Family may be the ticket for you.
Great article, Gordon! I haven’t watched the show — I’m not a fan of these “faux documentary” shows, either — but Ed O’Neil is one of the great, underrated actors of our time and Sofia Vergara is simply mesmerizing.
I would say it’s about 80% standard comedy and only 20% faux documentary so it may be worth your while to give it a try!