'Modern Family' just picked up its second Emmy for best comedy series this past awards show. While a lot of people don't put too much stock in the Emmys, this is actually a sign of staying power for the ABC comedy that will be starting its third season this month. Going up against audience-loved juggernauts like 'Glee ,' 'Modern Family ' still manages to win. That's because 'Modern Family' truly is the funniest show on television. It's managed to stay fresh, funny, and original through two seasons. It's taken the best aspects of 'Arrested Development' and 'The Office,' mixed them together, and come up with a sitcom that puts many other TV comedies to shame.
The thing I love so much about 'Modern Family' is that the show knows and understands its characters. Yes, some of them may be stereotypical, like Cam (Eric Stonestreet), for instance, but the writers actually mold any character clichés into strengths. In order to not come across as completely stereotyped, characters are given just enough quirks and eccentricities to wind up being endlessly enjoyable.
Season two lives up to the high bar that was set by season one. Somehow the writers have pumped out 24 more hilarious, all-too-real episodes that are enormously entertaining. Phil (Ty Burrell) is still trying desperately to get his father-in-law Jay (Ed O'Neill) to like him. Phil has gradually become one of my favorite characters. He reminds me of a cross between Michael Scott and John Dorian from 'Scrubs.' He's eternally optimistic, but endlessly trying to be the cool guy on the block. Phil's wife Claire (Julie Bowen) tries her hardest this season to step out of the ever-growing, well-endowed, shadow of her father's new wife Gloria (Sofía Vergara). When Gloria accidentally usurps Claire's power as the school dance coordinator hilarious hijinks ensue. Better yet are the kids. Haley (Sarah Hyland) has really come into her own in this season, especially the episode where the family gives up electronics. Luke (Nolan Gould), my perennial favorite, has more classic situations and lines in this season. He's the dumb but loveable son who is a constant source of laughs whenever he spouts out uninformed information. When Luke is banned from playing Plants vs. Zombies he counters with: "But you learn about plants, and plants are life. Are you against life?" Hard to argue against such impenetrable logic. Cam and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) are met with the ever-increasing hassles that come with raising a baby. When their young daughter Lily starts biting children on the playground, Cam throws together a snappy little song that's sure to help.
Take a bite of an apple, take a bite of a pear
Take a bite of a cookie that you left over there
Here’s one thing that you should never do:
Don’t bite Taylor or Brandon or Sue.
Because people aren’t food
People aren’t food
Your friends will run away if they’re scared of being chewed.
And as a side note:
Private parts are private
It's really hard not to love this show, its characters, and its writing. Everything meshes together so well. It flows just as smoothly as 'Arrested Development' did. Its perfect pacing allows it to tell numerous separate stories fitting in as many jokes as possible. Inside jokes are carried throughout the episodes adding another layer of fun for fans of the show.
Now that we're done with season two and starting up season three, you already know if you're a fan of the show. However, this isn't like other TV shows. You can join in now and still find the series hilarious. You may not catch all the inside jokes, but you'll still be enjoying one of the funniest shows on TV.
There isn't a specific episode of season two that I can point to that felt flat or unoriginal. They all have hidden gems of humor inside of them. This is a show for anyone who loved 'Arrested Development' and would love to have something similar in their lives. Season two is just as good as season one.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
20th Century Fox has released 'Modern Family' on three 50-GB Blu-ray discs. This 3-disc set is housed inside of a standard keepcase with a swinging disc hub that holds discs one and two back to back, while the third disc rests in its own hub inside the back cover. Even though the first season came complete with a slipcover, this one does not (at least with the review copy I got), which is a little annoying if you're looking for your sets to match while sitting on your shelf. The back of the case has this set listed as a Region A release. There is a Season Play option that you can select where it will remember where you left off while you were watching the season and pick right back up in that same spot.
I could copy and paste my review of season one here, because the visuals in season two are just as fabulous. The 1080p image provided by Fox is clean, clear, and very concise. 'Modern Family' is an understated comedy with real world settings, so there isn't a lot of eye-candy type spectacle going on here, but the picture you get is a perfect definition of high-def.
What I was struck by first and foremost was the immaculate detail contained in every scene. The scenes where characters are driving in their cars are actually the most telling, because you can see little specks of dust and dirt on their windshield. They're so realistic, my wife and I actually thought there was something on the TV. Textures are always visible, you can see the woven threads of the Dunphy's couch, along with the satin sheen of Gloria's many low-cut dresses.
The show is bursting with loads of color, whether it be the garish shirts Cam wears or his Fizbo the Clown outfit. The colors are fresh and vivid. Skin tones are always right on. I didn't notice any technical anomalies. Even the many vertically striped shirts that Cam wears are free from aliasing – which is much more than I can say about the limited bandwidth TV broadcast. This is a step up from the cable signal in every single way.
Like so many handheld camera comedies, the audio design is specifically front-heavy. That's just the way it is. 'Modern Family' doesn't call for a lot of audio pyrotechnics to keep us interested. That said, the nuances that this mix picks up far and away make up for the lack of action going on.
Dialogue is always clear. This isn't just a matter of hearing every conversation, but every hushed sarcastic whisper from characters as they comment on what's happening under their breath. Often the best jokes are said in voices that aren't supposed to be heard by the rest of the characters. It's important that the audio mix make those clear and intelligible. If they weren't it'd be hard to hear almost any of the hilarious jokes Luke makes.
LFE is light, but does kick in during the boisterous theme song. It also gets a bit of play during the earthquake episode as cabinets fall over and the ground shakes with a low rumble. Surrounds have a good amount of ambience, and pick up Gloria's voice perfectly as she yells "Jay!" through their cavernous, echo-filled modern house. The mix on season two is every bit as nuanced and well-rounded as season one.
'Modern Family' is one of the best shows on TV, period. It's definitely the best comedy and should be watched by everyone. At least that's how I feel. It's a sitcom that knows comedy. The actors have fantastic timing, and every one of the episodes has something to laugh at. There's never an episode that feels flat or boring, like they just breezed through it without putting a lot of thought into it. What can I say. I love this show and all I can do is highly recommend that you watch it immediately.