Modern Family, a Changed First Impression
March 2, 2020
I will never watch a show as shallow as Modern Family; I will never stoop down to a level that low, I thought when I saw my cousin staring bugged-eye at the television. Fast forward to Christmas break, and I found myself sprawled under the covers, with my computer set to the show I had once despised with Dorito crumbs scattered around my face. I clicked the button that would define the rest of my three weeks: start watching.
Modern Family is the average sitcom. You throw several people into a suburban setting, add in a character too sassy for her own good and one missing a few (crucial) brain cells, and you have yourself a hit show.
I was initially enamored by the quirky personality of each character, from Cam, who struggles with his father’s lack of support when it comes to sexuality, to Manny, the kid with a childlike innocence that provides advice well beyond his years. Modern Family seemed like a breath of fresh air — they had a remarried interracial couple, whose cultural differences were often a point of contention, alongside a homosexual couple that adopted a Vietnamese child.
However, as I spent more and more nights huddled under the sheets, with the glow of my computer screen illuminating my face, I began to see the repetitiveness of the show. It was the same cliche over and over again — there would be a conflict within each family, but everyone comes out of it a better person. It seemed as if the directors ran out of ideas, so they drew inspiration from quarreling couples and rambunctious kids, then rearranged the events to create a new plot. To my shock (and amazement), there were eleven seasons of this!
Additionally, overall storylines are confusing. For example, Claire’s goal to run for her district was often disrupted by filler episodes, where she makes no mention of it. Then, it would be brought up again in a later episode when the viewer has completely forgotten about the situation. Also, there would be episodes where a character’s bad habit is revealed (such as Lily’s unintentional swearing). However, it would not appear again for the rest of the show, lacking consistency to allow the viewer to understand the character.
Moreover, Gloria, a Columbian woman who married into the Caucasian family, is portrayed as the Latino stereotype (although this is a point of contention). Her character intentionally has a thick accent and forgets basic words, and she dresses — as one critic abruptly put it — “as if she is going to the club” for every occasion. Also, when she alludes to her former life in South America, there is a consistent mention of drugs and gangs, and she is frequently angrily overreacting, portraying the “angry Hispanic woman.”
Modern Family is perfect for winding down after a stressful day at school. It is the essence of brain candy and feeds you all the entertainment you need. However, the repetitiveness, confusing storylines, and stereotypical portrayals quickly become mundane, making it just another sitcom. As the saying goes, there are other fish in the sea, so why choose this one?