Nov 5, 2015

[TV] Modern Family: Season 5

My commitment to review TV shows by season instead of just focusing on individual episodes or maybe the mere concept of the show as a whole does often lead to certain complications. When it gets to thinking about the next TV show to review, I end up needing to dig through my records just to check whether or not I reviewed this season or that or whatever.

And thus it was during this process of checking back and forth that I discovered that I had not reviewed the last two seasons of Modern Family despite the 7th season already in full swing. So as I back track and wonder how to differentiate this fifth season from any of the others, I end up somewhat cursing my whole "system" related to reviewing by season.

But at the same time, it's a good practice that forces me to really think about this particular part of the show and figure out what I enjoyed and what didn't quite work for me. Plus it gives me something to do since at the end of the day I just need to keep counting and work my way to the next highest number. And having that to look forward to, in a way, really helps keep me grounded.

Synopsis: Modern Family is a US mockumentary-style comedy created by Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan. Over the years it has become that particular sort of sitcom that manages to get a lot of awards ever year - and probably with good reason.

This fifth season of the show begins with a rather significant real-world event - gay marriage becoming legal in California. And thus the natural story focus shifts to Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet) and how each of them have been secretly planning what they think to be the perfect marriage proposal  but of course are oblivious to the plans of the other. And I really liked how it wasn't even a question or whether or not they were going to get married. As is the reality for many game couples around the world, it was really just a matter of waiting for it to become legal to get married. Interestingly enough, their respective efforts to propose in the grandest way possible inevitably leads to each dragging in members of the extended family to help them.

A lot of the other episodes proceed on with little story hooks that may or may not seem all that funny. Things that jump out at me as I write this are moments like Phil (Ty Burrell) and Gloria (Sofia Vergara) being in the right place at the right time in order to get cast in a commercial. On the flip side you have the time when Gloria was starting to think that little baby Joe being evil based on things he had done. So yeah, a lot of crazy stories to explore.

This season was also notable for the introduction of the character of Andy (Adam DeVine). Initially he's just a quirky character who ends up being Joe's Nanny despite being a guy because who the heck still thinks that a nanny needs to be a girl? Beyond being the Nanny, Andy eventually becomes an unusual love interest of sorts for Haley (Sarah Hyland) given the sort of guys she's typically been associated with over the years. But hey, we know such ideas can work well in the long term because audiences are suckers for unlikely pairings.

Most of what makes Modern Family successful is the fact that you have a quirky yet fully fleshed-out characters going through a lot of situations that could probably considered quite ordinary. But they're not the boring sort of stories that we get from time to time. Instead we're talking about the stories that every family goes through at one point or another but you don't necessarily share with your friends. We're talking about the stories that get re-told at family reunions and end up creating new stories in turn based on how people respond to them.

There's no getting around the fact that the event that really defined this season was the wedding of Mitch and Cam. So many side-plots got involved in the mix of things we tried to figure out whether or not things would push through as they planned. Again, it's not a question of whether or not Mitch and Cam will get married - they've been living the married life for quite some time. But the show makes the most of all the little challenges that go into planning a wedding including juggling family obligations and whether or not you really want that friend to act as your wedding planner. And they manage to bring everything together in quite a spectacular manner.

Modern Family is a show that can make you feel quite comfortable because you ultimately find echoes of your own family in this story or that. It doesn't quite break out to become super awesome or something, but it does manage to continue to say what it wants to say in a pretty consistent voice. Thus the season gets a good 4 silly moments at the wedding itself out of a possible 5.


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