September 24, 2009

new show review: modern family

I've been excited by the buzz around Modern Family for a while - so glad I'm finally able to see for myself. Did anyone else watch it? Thoughts? Here's make initial take...

Over the course of the pilot, we meet the three families at the core of the show. In doing so, we see talking head and couple-on-the-couch interviews with the different family members. This confuses a little because I'm not sure if we're supposed to be asking why they're talking to a camera, is it even a camera? Who are they talking to? The show is shot in a similar fashion to The Office (but not a literal) using one roaming camera that follows them around in a documentary style. Is this intentional? Are we supposed to think they're being filmed or are we to ignore that and just accept it stylistically? Let's get to the families...

Phil & Claire's Family
Phil (Ty Burrell, Back to You) and Claire (Julie Bowen, Ed and Boston Legal) have three young kids: Haley (Sarah Hyland, Lipstick Jungle), Alex (Ariel Winter), and Luke (Nolan Gould). They are the typical out of control family with three kids. Julie Bowen is funny and believable as the mom trying to be strict but coming off a little neurotic. Phil prides himself a "cool and whip" Dad, which he proves by learning all the dances in High School Musical. Even I'm embarrassed for these kids. Highlights: After Alex shoots his sister with a plastic BB gun, dad has to fulfill his (mom's) promise to shoot Alex as punishment. They make an appointment for the shooting at 4:15. Alex prepares by putting on 6 pairs of underwear. Unfortunately, cool dad can't do it. Instead, he accidentally shoots Alex in the wrist, then shoots Haley's new boyfriend, and himself.

Jay & Gloria's Family
Jay (Ed O'Neill, better known as Al Bundy) is married to the much younger and passionate Colombian Gloria (Sofia Vergara, Dirty Sexy Money, The Knights of Prosperity), who has a young son Manny. Highlights: Gloria and a reluctant Phil taking Manny, a mature romantic beyond his years (11), to the mall in his white puffy dress shirt to profess his love to a 16-year-old girl. After being mistaken for an elderly "mall walker" in his velour jumpsuit, Jay purchases some young, hip clothes and now looks like Ali G.

Mitchell & Cameron's Family
Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who I love and honestly think is one of the funniest actors on television right now) and Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) are a gay couple just returning home with a new baby adopted from Vietnam. Highlights: Mitchell accosting a lady who pointed to the "cute baby with the cream puffs" before realizing the baby was actually holding pastry. And Cameron revealing a mural he commissioned in baby Lily's nursery that features the couple as winged angels.

Apparently, the fact that they're all related was supposed to be a secret, but ABC has been promoting it for the past two months, so I'm not sure what happened there. Turns out, Jay is Mitchell and Claire's father. The whole family comes together in the last scene when Cameron invites Mitchell's family over for dinner to tell them about the new baby. Mitchell had been hiding the news for fear of his skeptical father's reaction. The last scene was by far my favorite part, when Cameron introduced the baby by donning a silk robe, blasting the theme from the lion king, and holding the baby over his head.

Overall, I'm still confused about the filming style and the talking head interviews, but I laughed more than I have in a while during a half hour comedy. Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet are the standouts by far. I'm afraid Ty Burrell's cool dad shtick as Phil is going to get old quickly. Julie Bowen and Ed O'Neill had some funny moments, but I hope the writing stay sharp enough from keeping their characters from becoming overly cliche. Still, Modern Family has cemented it's place as my favorite new comedy of the fall season.

Favorite lines:

Mitchell: "Just turn it off."
Cameron: "I can't turn it off, it's who I am."
Mitchell: "The music."
Cameron: "Oh."

Phil: "Lily? Isn't that going to be hard for her to say?"

Jay: "She's one of us now. Let me see the little pot sticker."


Tall-boy said...

I hate sitcoms for the most part but really liked modern family!

is flash forward worth my time?

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