Saturday, May 28, 2011

Modern Family - Season 2

It's hard to tell how much of a popular backlash there has been against this show. The ratings were a little better, and it still does very well in every advertiser's favorite demographic. But it seems like some people have been getting annoyed by how much of a standard sitcom Modern Family is. I thought it was obvious from the start, but the series is still a lot of fun because of the execution. I think at this point people are more aware of what to expect out of the show, which is a bunch of funny episodes and a few disappointing ones. The only real problem I had with this season was the tendency of Cam and Mitchell's stories to be more simple and rote than the other characters',  but everybody really gets plenty of good material over the course of the year. The show's at its best when the whole family is together and bouncing off each other, and while sometimes scripts end up keeping the households separate, it still manages to wring solid laughs out of even the tackiest familiar situations. For a show that people actually watch, it's remarkably good.

But I guess the question is how long they can keep doing the same thing. It's clear that some people are already impatient with the show's standard sitcom roots, which the nonsense mockumentary trappings don't hide that well. Would I prefer it if the series was a little more original about the wacky situations the characters get into? Maybe, but I'm not sure if it's still Modern Family at that point. The title is sort of ironic, because while the show feels up-to-date in some ways, with a gay couple getting a third of the screen time and remarkably solid child actors, at it's heart it's one of the most old school shows on the air, and I'm not sure what it would even do if it wasn't like that. It's kind of the point. It might prevent the show from being the best, smartest thing on television, but all it really seems to want is to be funny and touching, and it does both of things well almost every time. It's a bit broad and lazy at times, but the game it plays of teasing the most stereotypical plots imaginable and then somehow making them seem fresh again is fun. Sometimes it stumbles, but not often enough to turn me off on the whole thing.

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