Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It's not a gimmick... it's three

Last week I caught an episode of Modern Family. For those who are not familiar, this show centers around an extended family consisting of (a) the "traditional" TV nuclear family (with a neurotic mother and a clueless father), (b) a gay couple and their adopted baby, and (c) a May-December marriage. Originally I avoided the show due to this gimmicky premise. But hey, sometimes a show can be greater than it's promotional materials. I decided to give it a chance.

One of the show's major strengths is the cast, which includes a grizzled Ed O'Neill as the patriarch of this little clan and Julie Bowen, who I always remember as perennial love interest Carol from Ed. Rico Rodriguez, one of the child actors, really shines as a future comic genius. The episode I saw, "The Incident" featured a hilarious cameo from Shelley Long as the crazy mother/ex-wife. But this is not enough to save the show. Most of the jokes were worth a chuckle, but they were completely predictable. For all that it purports to do something new, Modern Family comes off as just another rehashing of the same sitcom cliches.

That's not to say that the show doesn't have it's good points. It's really well put-together, with a plot that neither speeds nor drags - there are no throwaway lines. You get a good sense of each character in each scene, and quotable lines do crop up here and there. The close camera angles make you feel like you're just another member of the family, sitting on the couch and watching the drama unfold. And who knows? Maybe once the show establishes itself, it will stray more from the sitcom formula.


Maggie Cats said...

I've got to respectfully disagree, I freaking LOVE this show. I think it's hilarious, honest, and has a lot of heart. I know saying "it has a lot of heart" is a cliche, but I can't think of a better way to describe it. The characters are all deeply flawed (i.e. real), but they genuinely love one another and are just trying to survive day to day within their lives and family. I think it's hilarious.

Best part so far: the gay couple goes to Costco. I was dying, it was so great.

Monkey Sri said...

Okay, maybe I'll give it another shot.

Maggie Cats said...

Check out the Costco episode. Classic!