By Emma Buchman
It’s probably an understatement to say that “Modern Family” has taken over the world. While I do get those who don’t watch the show, most of them have at least heard of it. Everyone that has seen the shown loves it. I have never talked about a show that was so widely accepted by anyone and everyone. Why is this? What makes this show so great?
This show gives an accurate representation of the average American family in that it does not give an accurate representation of the average American family. The Wonder Bread stereotype of mom, dad, and two kids is not presented in this show. Each family is comprised of unique people who define the dynamic of a household. Even the “typical” American family of the show has its quirks because of the characteristics of its members (yes, I’m talking about Phil).
The story focuses on three families related through the Pritchetts. Jay Pritchett, played by Ed O’Neill, is the father. He is married to a younger woman named Gloria (Sophia Vergara) and has a young stepson. The other two families are built around Jay’s fully-grown children. His daughter Claire (Julie Bowen) is married to Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell) and they have three children. Lastly, Jay’s son Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) is married to his partner Cam (Eric Stonestreet) and they have an adopted daughter.
All of the characters have different personalities that create both problems and triumphs for all three families (the in-laws often team up against their other halves because of how stubborn and pessimistic the Pritchett family can be). All of them are hilarious in their own way giving the show its unique brand of sarcastic and ironic humor.
And there are plenty of modern day situations that the family deals with. Jay constantly struggles to be respectful of who Mitch is as a father and husband with another man and Mitch is always trying to promote his understanding for the sake of himself and his family.
These concepts are demonstrated beautifully in one episode in particular. The season four finale is a culmination of many emotional twists and turns, especially for Mitch and Cam, who are trying to adopt another baby without success. After a heart-wrenching scene at a hospital that leaves both of them in tears they finally express all of their frustration and heartbreak to each other. Mitch, who is usually more stoic, breaks down and Cam comforts him, just as Mitch has always done for Cam. They end up laying in a field, holding hands and looking at the stars. At some point Mitch says, “I think I’m lying on a rock.” To which Cam immediately replies, “I’m lying next to my rock.” They are reminded just how much they cherish each other and their daughter through the compassion that they share even in the face of heartbreak.
Meanwhile, Jay attends his 3-year-old granddaughter’s ballet recital since Cam and Mitch could not be there. He puts aside his gruff demeanor and obvious discomfort to help her when she gets scared. At her request, he even dances with her on stage. This is one example of Jay’s constant battle with accepting the family that he has ever since Mitch came out to him. This is an example of letting love for his son and granddaughter overcome his discomfort at Mitch being gay.
Finally, Phil and Claire are convincing their daughter Hailey not to move in with her boyfriend during her gap year before college, offering a humorous side for this episode. They prove successful when they collaborate with their son Luke who reveals that he has been hiding a college acceptance letter from Hailey in order to use it to his advantage.
“Modern Family” goes far beyond the standard of television comedy. The cast and crew of this show take it upon themselves not only to make the audience laugh, but to impart the values of human kindness and compassion. They show audiences everywhere that anyone who loves and respects each other can be a family. Most importantly, the cast and crew show that even though all families fight they remain their loving supporters every step of the way. And at the end of the day the most important thing for families of all shapes, sizes, and compositions is love.
While they are few and far between there are those of you who will choose to have a life without “Modern Family.” To them, I say, “Yes, but what kind of life and, with whom?”
Photo courtesy of www.entertainment-focus.com