In Praise of ABC’s “Modern Family”

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Modern Family

Modern Family

We have previously written on Reach Hispanic about Ugly Betty, and what a pioneering show it was for its portrayal of a loving Latino family, and a main character who recent Emmy winner for Best Comedy broke stereotypes (a nerdy Latina working in the fashion world?). Now, we have “Modern Family”, also on ABC, which also shines a spotlight on a Latino family, along with two others.

“Modern Family” is that rarest of things, a half hour family sitcom that produces out-laughs. There is no laugh track, yet the laughs keep coming, thanks to sharp writing and great casting. Of note is Eric Stonestreet as the lovable Cameron, husband of Mitchell. Yes, the show portrays, in addition to a white nuclear family headed by a working father and a stay at home Mom, a gay couple raising an adopted daughter from Vietnam, and a blended family- an older white man (played by Ed O’Neill, formerly of Ted Bundy fame), remarried to a gorgeous young Colombian, played by former Miss Universe Sofia Vergara, who has a young son, Manny.

It is this last family portrayed on the show that is truly a breath of fresh air. Granted, I will concede that Modern Family in no way tries to portray the “typical” family, and the household of Jay, Gloria and Manny is unique in many ways. Yet just as the show boldly shows a gay family as loving and committed to each other, so too is the mixed family (both mixed race and mixed generations) noteworthy for being so ordinary in its love and commitment to family.

I have been pleasantly surprised by Sofia Vergara’s comedic acting chops- not just a pretty face, the woman can act. Though by all outward appearances she is simply Jay’s trophy wife, we come to see in the scenes between the two affection and tenderness. In taking families not often seen on TV (Hispanic, blended, gay) and showing their every day trials and tribulations, the makers of “Modern Family” make the extraordinary ordinary.

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