The absence of a good family sitcom has been filled with the likes of Modern Family. Modern family can be described as the new Cosby Show or All in the Family, a hearty family comedy that shows the everyday life of a family and conveys good values and messages. However, not as hard hitting as shows were in those days with talking about grittier subjects. Instead taking a lighter, more comical approach. With the content and entertainment that the show provides it’s no wonder how the show has remained in the top ten spot for quite some time. It has been the show that people have been wanting for a while. (New York Times)
Modern Family follows, in mockumentary style, the lives of the Pritchett-Dunphy-Tucker family. At the head of the family sits Jay Pritchett with his beautiful, Columbian second wife Gloria, who is quite the opposite of old-fashion Jay. This old dog tries to adapt to life with the same passion as his wife and her precious son Manny have to offer but along the way there are a few misunderstandings and culture clashes but also many sweet victories. Jay’s grown Daughter, Claire, and her husband, Phil, have three children of their own. The youngest, Luke, is the same age as Manny, both heading to high school. Their middle daughter, Alex, is too smart for her own good and on her way to college, and the eldest, Haley, is back home figuring out her future. With the kids busy in their own activities this gives Claire the opportunity to join back into the workforce, which will be an entire adventure of its own. It will also be a big year for Jay’s other grown child, Mitchell, who with his loving partner, Cameron, and adopted daughter Lily, will have a lot of reasons to celebrate. Together, these families create the new twisted, loving, and often hilarious take on a Modern Family (ABC website).
Created by Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan, the show first premiered on September 23, 2009 on ABC. The still running show is on Wednesday’s at 9pm Eastern time and has been on the same time slot since it started. The show is shot with a single camera, given that when showing a shot-counter-shot the actors are a bit off mark with continuity but really show cases the documentary style. The cast list is quite a long one since it is an ensemble cast and one that prides on staying equal and together rather than having a lead (New York Post, 2010). Ed O'Neill stars as head of family Jay; Julie Bowen as the Jay’s daughter, Claire; Ty Burrell as Clair’s loving husband, Phil; Sofía Vergara as Jay’s young, sexy, second wife, Gloria; Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Jay’s gay son, Mitchell; Eric Stonestreet as Mitchell’s fabulous partner, Cameron; Sarah Hyland as Clair and Phil’s social conscious, eldest daughter, Haley; Nolan Gould as Clair and Phil’s scatterbrained son, Luke; Ariel Winter as Clair and Phil’s smartest child, Alex; Rico Rodriguez as Jay’s outgoing step-son, Manny; and Aubrey Anderson-Emmons as Mitchell and Cameron’s adopted, Vietnamese daughter Lily. (ABC website)
Modern Family is the new take on what “traditional” families are today. The traditional family style has changed a lot over the years from single unit families with the oddest thing being their personalities or having step-members to being interracial, having same sex partners, age differences, or even being adopted. Modern Family seems to cover it all with their lovable clan bringing all the everyday, after-school special values they can with a comical style.
The theme for each episode, however, isn’t so general. Each episode is broken down into some heartfelt, but hilarious story of the family’s troubles. Most of the time, they argue but make up by the end of episode, giving the idea that talking things out and hugging can solve the problems of everyday life as well. Besides the squabbling and troubles, the theme of everyday family life is not left unthought-of. Everyday chorus and work goes on and is often brought up, even the struggle with learning to deal with new technology is a reoccurring theme throughout the series.
Everything seen on the show is often obtainable for the common man. Unlike other shows, nothing seems overly expensive (Ad Rage). The ads are aimed at the wide margin of 18-49 year olds with an average of a $100,000 annual income or more (Variety).This is even reflected in ads that break up the show. The advertisements are family oriented with things that the whole family can enjoy. Main commercials seem to be aimed towards adults with disposable income to buy the nice but slightly pricier items in life. Examples of this are the Window’s Surface for students or perhaps the new GMC 2013 Sierra. The ads that pertain to the whole family would be ones like AT&T phone plans or the Aflac insurance ones.
Advertisements really keep Modern Family at its top rating. With product placements and sponsors to their own advertising. While the items on the show might be affordable, advertising with the show is not. Every second a product appears in the show could be worth slightly more than $8,300. (Ad Rage) Nothing is out of place however, every items is something that naturally fits in with the everyday lives of a family.
The advertising that the show does for itself can be quite interactive at times. Recently bench ads as seen in the show can be spotted around town. Taking a picture with it and posting it to a social network would enter you into a contest to win a season on BlueRay or DVD. Another item from the show is being offered with a DVD set of the fourth season as well. Advertising like this brings the viewer closer to the show and makes the show feel much more real. (Variety)
When looking back at Modern Family, years after it’s off air, many people will look at it fondly as people do with older family sitcoms now. Modern Family will become a staple of pop culture’s view of family values and good moral messages. What makes it work so well is that it isn’t so absurd to be compared to our own lives. Great TV shows reflect our lives back at us, even if it is with the fun-house distortion that sitcoms routinely pull off (The Daily Beast).