The tagline for “Modern Family,” which triumphantly began its second season on ABC last Wednesday evening, is: “One big (straight, gay, multi-cultural, traditional) happy family.”

“Modern Family”

Wednesdays at 9 p.m.
ABC

Despite its cheesiness, give the people who came up with it some credit. Coming up with one sentence to accurately describe all that “Modern Family” can be is damn near impossible.

Whether it’s the riotous misunderstandings between Claire Dunphy (Julie Bowen) and her clueless husband Phil (Ty Burrell), conflicts between the proud gay parents Cameron Tucker (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell Pritchett (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) or the sometimes racist, sometimes sexist tension between the crotchety Jay Pritchett (Ed O’Neill) and his Colombian trophy wife Gloria (Sofia Vergara), “Modern Family” is sure to have people laughing this year as frequently as it did during its award-winning first season.

Seriously, this show rocks. And it’s poised for a breakout season this fall because it’s everything you could possibly want out of a sitcom about a wacky family. With “30 Rock”-caliber writing, an “Office”-level cast and an addictive quality reminiscent of “Arrested Development,” this show is a perfectly timed snapshot of exactly what situational comedy should be and what American humor can be.

“Modern Family” is obviously well produced, written and acted, but its premise, involving characters of different backgrounds, ages, sexual orientations and levels of sanity, has seemingly set itself up for endless scenarios to explore or plot lines to develop. It has the potential to grow in any direction it chooses because of its many quirky elements. The show can poke fun at the challenges of raising children while simultaneously exploring the power dynamics within a relationship, then hilariously filter these concepts through the lens of race, age or sexual orientation. There’s no limit to how funny an episode of this show can be and no reason to think it’s going to slow down.

The second season premiere epitomized exactly what makes this show so innovative and fun. The three families all humorously dealt with forms of nostalgia and letting go of the past. While Gloria Pritchett arrogantly fails to accept the fact that her young son will one day not consider her the woman in his life, the Dunphy parents try a farcical and argument-filled rekindling of their former family spirit by taking the kids on a trip in a beat-up old car they haven’t used in years. And as these established families attempt to return to their pasts as a means of rediscovering their happiness, the couple with an adopted one-year-old is trying to build – in the form of a shabbily done princess castle about to fall apart in their backyard – the memories they’ll one day cherish when their kid is old and independent.

The show’s fast pace allows its writers to work in more stories and jokes than the typical sitcom. “Modern Family” doesn’t slow down for you, and it doesn’t care to hold your hand too tightly if you get lost. We don’t pause to laugh at ourselves enough in real life, and neither do the foolish people in this show, which might be why its characters and situations feel so real.

No matter how many more Emmys it wins, “Modern Family” promises to remain hilarious. If you check it out, you’ll realize what a sin it would be to miss a comedy of this caliber. If you don’t get around to watching an episode, you might not think you missed anything. But the biggest joke will be on you.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.