What’s it about? OK, listen carefully, this is a little bit complicated. It’s centred around three families. Sixty-something Jay Pritchett lives with his second wife Gloria (Sofia Vergara), a ridiculously hot Colombian about half his age, and her son from her previous marriage, adorable Manny who is wise beyond his eleven years. Jay’s daughter from his first marriage, Claire, her long-suffering husband Phil Dunphy and their three children make up the second family unit, while Claire’s brother Mitchell, his boyfriend Cameron and their adopted Vietnamese daughter Lily are family number three. Notice all the diversity? See, this is a very modern extended family.
Why’s it so good? Mainly because it literally makes me LOL. Not just snigger or chuckle, but full-on laugh out loud. Most of the time it’s at the ridiculously theatrical antics of Mitchell and Cameron, or at Phil (who’s also kind a DILF) not so stealthily lusting after Gloria or every time Manny acts more like a pensive, world-weary adult than a pudgy tweenager (‘Bianca Douglas called me three times tonight. I’ll be honest, I’m starting to feel smothered’). It’s one of those rare shows where every character adds almost equal value, from Jay and his patriarchal outbursts to the littlest Dunphy child, eleven-year-old perennial underachiever Luke. Plus, it’s extra funny because it’s shot mockumentary style – interviews and pieces to camera are interspersed with footage of the families daily lives.
If you like other American sitcoms like Arrested Development, 30 Rock and Scrubs I think you’ll like Modern Family. With episodes just 21 minutes each (blame all those TV ads), it’s easy to blast through a few at a time. Plus it’s been running for four seasons so there are more than 70 episodes to catch up on. Frankly, the pilot is so good that I think you’ll be hooked in no time. Don’t want to take my word for it? Well the series has won a shed load of Golden Globes and Emmys over the years, including the Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy this summer. The only slight downside I will admit to MF is that you have to put up with a bit of a schmaltzy montage every episode where they make some point about the importance of love or forgiveness or some other familial virtue. But it’s totally bearable when, minutes earlier, for example, you’ve had two giant stuffed toys inadvertently going at it on the roof of Mitchell’s car.
And here’s a fun fact for you: Eric Stonestreet, who does an extremely convincing job of playing rotund homosexual Cameron, was recently rumoured to be dating uber hot heterosexual A-lister lady Charlize Theron in real life. Talk out punching above his weight right?
Modern Family is on Sky1 HD in the UK and there are four previous seasons you can find on DVD and the usual places on the internets, to which I couldn’t possibly link for legal reasons.