Last Night’s TV – Modern Family

by Lynn Connolly


I was expecting great things from this new US sitcom on Sky1, particularly given that it’s from the stable that produced long running and genuinely funny horse Frasier, and while I wasn’t terribly disappointed, I wasn’t terribly amused either.

It’s filmed documentary/mockumentary style – as per The Office – and it worked on many levels, as did the chemistry between the cast, but if I was pressed to summarise the show in one word, that word would be ‘mediocre’.

It was however good to see Ed O’Neill again who I did used to laugh out loud to when he was in Married With Children, and he still had some good comedic lines, but none that were uproarious.

I got the feeling that by the inclusion of a rather across-the-board set of characters, the writers believe they’re offering something multi-cultural and covering just about every potential scenario for an extended family there is, hence the whole ‘Modern’ family thing. We have a gay couple, an older man and his much younger wife and of course, good kids and naughty kids, but in trying hard to cover all the bases, I think they’ve missed the most important one; making us laugh.

And it simply couldn’t avoid some clichés because it seems the law to have them when teenagers are involved in the storyline; Phil and Claire’s daughter inevitably wanted to wear a very short skirt, much to the annoyance and angst of the parents. Tired, much?

Another cliché rolled out with rather tedious monotony last night was that any wrong can be immediately righted by a hug, or, in the case of family-wide conflict, a group hug. There was also the requisite dad trying to be hip and happening to fit in with his kids’ friends, which is about as predictable as the Nativity at Christmas.

I’ve read several other reviews of Modern Family, both on last night’s pilot show here and in the US where it’s already an established show, and the majority of them seemed to disagree with me and the critics have hailed it as one of the best comedies in decades. Well, I’m afraid I just don’t see it…

If a comedy can’t make me actually laugh – not just emit the occasional ha ha or smile a few times – then it’s not something I’m going to make a point of watching.

What did you think of it?

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.