tek's rating: ½

Modern Family, on ABC
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I'm afraid I didn't watch this on a regular basis during the first two seasons, but on the rare occasions that I did watch it, I always liked it (though not as much as the critics seem to). And in the third season, I decided to start watching it more consistently. Anyway, it's done in a sort of mockumentary style. There are brief cutaway scenes where various characters will sit and talk to the camera as if being interviewed, though as far as I've seen, we've never actually heard or seen any interviewer, nor is there any clear reason that I know of why this extended family would be the subject of a documentary. But whatever. Mostly, the show is like any other family sitcom, except for seeming a bit more realistic than most shows. I mean, there's no laugh track or background music or anything. Which is refreshing. But at the same time, I think it's sort of deceptive, like... sure, it feels more realistic than a typical sitcom, but I'm not sure it really is. The characters and the show itself display pretty much all the typical sitcom tropes, but it's like the fact that there's a sort of quietness and subtlety to the show causes viewers not to entirely notice when it gets as ridiculous or over-the-top as any other sitcom. Still, it is quite clever, funny, well-acted, and has a sweetness that's somehow the opposite of saccharine. And some episodes can be absolutely brilliant. (I think the show does "comedy of errors" type plots better than pretty much any other show I can think of.)

Anyway, there's this guy, Jay Pritchett (Ed O'Neill), who is divorced, and he's now married to a much younger Colombian woman named Gloria (Sofia Vergara), who has a young son named Manny from a previous marriage of her own. Halfway through season 4, they have a baby whom they name Fulgencio Joseph Pritchett (whom everyone usually calls "Joe"). Jay also has a couple of grown children from his previous marriage, Claire (Julie Bowen) and Mitchell. Claire is married to Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell). The two of them have a couple of daughters, Haley (Sarah Hyland) and Alex (Ariel Winter), and a son named Luke. Mitchell is gay, and in a relationship with a man named Cameron Tucker. They have an adopted Vietnamese daughter named Lily (she was a baby in the first season, but in season three a new actress began playing her, who was like a year or two older than Lily should have been at that point). At the end of season five, Mitchell and Cam get married. Anyway, the show revolves around the interaction of all these characters. There are of course various other recurring characters whom I don't feel like mentioning specifically. And I feel bad about not even attempting to say anything very specific about the main characters, or anything about the plot beyond the basic premise that it's about an extended family. But... anyway, it's a good show.

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