Modern Family Review: Abnormal Family Guy
MODERN FAMILY: Thursday 15th October, Sky1, 8pm ALERT ME
Although no-one has a normal family, it’s true to say that some families are less normal than others.
The group of people in this new comedy definitely fall into that category.
When we saw another American family comedy land on our desk, the feeling of dread was palpable – if there is a comedy genre in which the misses greatly outweigh the hits then this was it.
But Fox has managed to produce something witty and fresh here, so it was with regret that we decided to postpone a long-overdue rant against American television.
Modern Family is a show which steadily grows as the opening episode progresses. The situation comedy is frequently very effective and it’s already apparent that a couple of characters have definite potential.
Indeed once we get to know them, they start delivering some excellent nuggets of fun.
The programme focuses on three families, interrelated through Jay Pritchett, his son Michael Pritchett, and his daughter Claire Dunphy.
Jay is married to a much younger woman (who strongly resembles the lovely Eva Longoria), Michael and his boyfriend have just adopted a Vietnamese orphan and Claire has three children with her husband Phil.
Admittedly, many of the characters seem to be simply treading water at this stage, but the sheer number of them (10) would suggest that the writers will develop some of them more slowly.
While the script is good, what struck us about the show was its ability to skillfully utilise set pieces. Michael’s boyfriend is often one of the main proponents of this and his sensational unveiling of the baby, after Michael has been defending him against the accusation of being a drama-queen, is excellent.
Moreover, while it is easy to play a dad who thinks he’s cool, Ty Burrell nails his role as Phil Dunphy, interacting with the script naturally and hilariously.
This is an astute take on family life with a soft centre which will pave the way for an effortless enrollment to the mainstream schedule.