Thursday, September 24, 2009

TV: Modern Family --- "Pilot" ---


I'm not the biggest fan of television comedies.

The Office is totally a miss on me, 30 Rock is fun, but nothing I'd watch weekly, and Scrubs may be the worst television show of the modern era. At least one of them. However, this season, besides return shows like Fringe and Dollhouse, and rookie dramas like Mercy and FlashForward, is mainly being buzzed as the season of the comedy.

First we got Community (which I will be talking about sometime tomorrow), a really witty comedy starring Joel McHale, host of the Soup. Then we have the other hugely anticipated comedy, one of the only shows to show a full pilot at Critics Week a while back, Modern Family. Coming out of that and other press events, the show has gotten huge buzz, and I must say, it's all justified.

Basically, this show is a satirical look at three different families and the trials they face in each of their own uniquely comedic ways. You have Claire and Phil Dunphy, the cliche modern family. Phil is the "hip" father, who "texts and knows every dance to High School Musical." These two are the crux of the pilot episode, and often have the funniest moments, particularly coming from Ty Burell who plays Phil. There really is not a dull moment, and he arguably has the best single moment, when he slips on some baby oil he was using to loosen his son's head from between the bars of a banister.

Then there is the old guy, Al Bundy, I mean Jay Prichett played by Ed O'Neil, and his hot latina wife, Gloria, played quite well by Sofia Vergara. The two have a son, Manny, who falls in love, or believes he is in love, with a 16 year old girl by the name of Brenda. This portion of the show is arguably the slowest, but has the best payoff when you get to the final reveal.

The last couple we meet are the gay duo of Cameron and Mitchell, who have recently gotten back from Vietnam with more than just a vacation under their belts. They adopted a young child named Lily. This ultimatley leads to Cameron inviting Mitchell's family over, and it's unveild that, while we learned about these three couples seperatley, that they are actually all related. Jay is Mitchell's father, and Claire isn his sister, which, while not being all to surprising, does make me feel like this show will be much more connected than this rather awkward, if hilarious, pilot.

The show does have a bit more than laughs though. Jay goes through what is the shows most dynamic change, as before it is stated that Cameron and Mitchell have adopted, he goes into a diatribe about how the two would be unfit to parent, and how Mitchell would basically be better off without Cameron. However, when he sees how the two are with the child, and how everyone else seems so supportive, he decides that maybe he was wrong. The pilot had little surprise to it, but it was quite enjoyable to watch.

Also, the show is insanely hilarious. The interchanges between Claire and Phil are amazing and arguably the best moments come between Mitchell and Cameron. Take the interchanges between Justin Long and Brandon Routh from Zack and Miri Make a Porno (the best part of that film by the way), take out the vulgarity, and add more heart, and you have what is basically their scenes in Modern Family. The show also gives us a hint as to what types of things to expect, particularly from the parents. The events are so cliche and stock, that it's a really great insight into how the couples are going to parent (the scheduling of a certain punishment by Claire and Phil being a highlight).

Sure, the pilot left me feeling a bit empty, at least wanting more of a surprise, but it also left me wanting mroe, which is what all good pilots do. This is one of the better ones.

Keep your eyes peeled for Modern Family when it airs Wednesdays at 9pm on ABC.

MODERN FAMILY //Pilot// - B+ (I'm doing letter grades for Television reviews)

Come back for more TV reviews, of Grey's Anatomy, Fringe, Community, and FlashForward. I should also have full reviews of 9, The Informant!, Bronson and hopefully The Burning Plain or Ong Bak 2.

Go see something good!

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