★★★★☆ – A hilarious reintroduction to the show we all know and love, the mid-season opener of Modern Family won’t disappoint.
Modern Family is an American TV comedy that almost everyone has heard of. With its eccentric mix of characters and impeccable timing, the show offers a unique and hilarious insight into daily family life. The show also delivers scarily accurate representations of family members that almost everyone will know (whether it be fun uncle Phil (Ty Burrell) or control-freak mom Claire (Julie Bowen), grumpy grandfather Jay (Ed O’Neill) or bimbo sister Haley (Sarah Hyland)) – the concept is one that’s been done a million times before, but none come close to the quirk and charm of the critically acclaimed Modern Family.
A combination of The Simpsons and a PG Family Guy, with the typical sit-com styling of Friends and How I Met Your Mother is possibly the best way to describe this gem of a show for those who haven’t seen it before; mixing all the best elements of humour, characters and bizarre situations into one big extravaganza of feel-good fun. Whilst not necessarily a laugh-out-loud type of comedy, the program offers exceptionally clever timing, and a innovative merge between first and third person interactions. Inter-cut scenes of the characters speaking directly to the camera (as if having a casual conversation about the events in progress) are dispersed throughout, providing not only a stronger connection with them. This element makes the show stand out successfully from the very saturated sit-com market – bringing audiences back for more every week.
Another excellent feature that the show boasts is its openness – the families as a whole represent a multitude of different people and how harmoniously different cultures, sexualities, ethnicities, traditions and generations can work together – even if they do clash on occasion. This way, anyone can connect with the characters on screen in a light-hearted and fun manner; truly including something for everyone. The mid-season return of the program didn’t disappoint on any of these aspects, with the Pritchetts, Delgados and Dunphys facing a new dilemma in the form of a close shave with death.
Almost colliding with a truck on a crossroad sent the members of each family spiraling into distress, and each one deals with it in an equally humorous way. The funniest part comes from seeing each character embracing the exact opposite of their usual natures; highlights being “sexy and controlling” Phil and a wax-burnt, yet very glamorous Alex (Ariel Winter). As per usual morals are learnt and the families come away with a new appreciation for each other, sticking to the shows “feel-good” repertoire and easy-watch quality that you’d want from weekday evening television.
If only one thing is mentioned – it has to the part that makes this episode stand out from the others; Phil’s love for alpacas returns in the form of Jolene II, resurrecting a much loved in-joke from season three perfectly for fans of the show. It feels difficult to review a single episode of Modern Family as almost all of them have the same structure and mood, though the content is always diverse and interesting – it sounds contradictory, but is definitely true for most people who have watched a number of the episodes
Overall however, enough praise couldn’t be given to the quality that is reeled out episode after episode; especially the comedic timing that’s employed – it distinctly marks the difference between funny or flat in TV and is very easy to miss, whereas Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd have it down to a fine art. The professionalism of the production is a large reason for its popularity and sprawling lists of series that have been aired; through its unique sense of humour, brilliantly cast actors, and relatability factor – Modern Family is a household favourite that will be around for a long time. As you don’t need to have seen any episodes before to enjoy one on its own, its easy to jump straight in on this season and see for yourself!
Modern Family is broadcast on Mondays at 8:00pm on Sky 1.