Jul 28, 2011

[TV] Modern Family: Season 2

Modern Family: Season 2The family sitcom has always been a staple of network television. Through the years, the nature of the sitcom has also acted as a sort of informal barometer of the state of the family, how society continues to evolve and how the roles have shifted around with the advent of feminism and other such relevant issues.

Thus the show Modern Family really does well in trying to pain a complex portrait of our current state of affairs. While some might argue that the sometimes convoluted entanglements of the show are a bit hard to believe, taking in a grain of salt will help any viewer find some common ground with the show. After all, not matter how crazy TV gets, nothing's quite as insane as our own real-life families and our day-to-day interpersonal relationships. The brilliance of the show is how it manages to capture a lot of what makes life, well, life, and presents it to us as comedy. And because we see it on TV instead of our own dining tables, it becomes even funnier.

I continue to enjoy the show since it has a healthy mix of family issues tied together with more prevalent trends. After all, you do have a cross-generational marriage and a gay couple in the mix, and that alone is enough to throw in a lot of different issues and concepts for the writers to play around with. And thankfully the show has not taken up a soapbox just yet. Thus the issues largely remained tied to the family instead of using the show as a vehicle for making political statements and the like.

Modern Family is an ABC comedy that follows the lives of the Pritchett family and their various day-to-day shenanigans. The show was created by Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd. Its debut season helped them bag the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series and has managed to become the highest rated TV show in the 18-49 age demographic.

IMG_2693Image by dbking via FlickrThis season featured a number of interesting moments for the series - memorable but not always great, mind you. One of the bigger ones would have to involve the episode The Kiss where everyone had their respective issues with showing affection. But most importantly, the show ended with the show's first gay on-screen kiss between Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet), even though it was done in the background and lasted a lot shorter that many of us would have liked.

The Halloween was another classic - a great mix of comedy with actual family drama. And the show always works the best when they manage to get the family to come together despite their differences in a manner that remains believable. Besides, you have to admit that they put together a pretty awesome haunted house.

However the show was a tad lackluster at some points. Sure there were a lot of funny moments, but they not much of it was particularly stand out in that regard.

The season featured a lot of growth for the different characters, although such changes are modest and not enough to totally change the show's narrative or anything like that. Admittedly that does make it a little trickier to track "progress" or however you want to term character development over the course of the season. After all, the characters all have strong core personalities that define the comedic situations they end up creating and ultimately resolving. Some things just can't change in order for the show to work.

I did find it odd how the episodes See You Next Fall felt like a much better way to close the season than the actual season-ender, The One That Got Away. The graduation ceremony played directly into a possible closing to the season and the hilarity of Jay (Ed O'Neill) suffering from a bad botox job made for comedy gold. And yet we closed with the weird birthday celebration - while it ties to the first season's ending, it wasn't the season's strongest episode.

Still, Modern Family is a show that my partner and I continue to enjoy and we certainly look forward to the next season. I just hope they figure out ways of innovating the stories a bit more and giving the characters more to work with. I'm not talking about cheap, limited-time gimmicks. I mean really novel shifts in the narrative and some major leaps forward for the characters. In the meantime, this second season gets 3.5 savant-like moments involving Luke (Nolan Gould) out of 5.



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