The Third Season of a New Kind of Family
Currently on hiatus during its third season, “Modern Family” is a sitcom on ABC about the lives of three vastly different immediate families within one larger extended family. Jay Pritchett (Ed O’Neill) is the eldest member of the family and is married to an attractive Colombian woman named Gloria (Sofia Vergara) who embodies the epitome of a Latin trophy wife. Upon marrying Gloria, Jay also gained custody of her very young yet very wise and romantic 11-year-old son Manny, who causes Jay daily distress because he is not enough of a “man.” Viewers quickly learn where Jay’s complexes concerning masculinity come from, as the next facet of this modern family is made up of Jay’s gay son Mitchell, played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson, his partner Cam (Eric Stonestreet) and their Vietnamese adopted daughter, Lilly, who by the time of the third season, is approximately four years old. The final facet of the family is comprised of Jay’s daughter Claire (Julie Bowen), her husband Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell) their daughters Haley (Sarah Hyland) and Alex (Ariel Winter) and their son Luke (Nolan Gould).
All three families reside in the same neighborhood, and all of their interactions with each other never fail to ensue complete hilarity. The wild differences present between each part of the family that continually clash with each other during each episode never fail to remind viewers of the vastly different meanings that the word “family” has the potential to carry. The show’s mockumentary format allows for frequent commentary on the part of the characters themselves to be sprinkled in throughout the show, creating an element of self-analysis that most primetime television shows today couldn’t possibly achieve as seamlessly. As a result, the show has proven itself to be not only a source of entertainment and quick laughs every Wednesday night, but also an eye opener and a learning experience for passing viewers and devoted fans alike. The success of “Modern Family” as a television show has been recognized by fans, critics and awards organizations as the show has both won and been nominated for several awards including Golden Globes, Writers Guild of America Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards and Emmy Awards.
“Modern Family” started out fairly strong in season one, mainly familiarizing viewers with the names and personalities of the various members of this large and diverse family before delving in to more involved plotlines and getting into the rhythm that is now what regular viewers think of as the true “Modern Family.” The show hit its stride with season three as the producers took greater advantage of the show’s potential to create insanity by pushing each of the characters to their very brink.
The two characters that have come out the strongest this season have been Cam and Mitchell, the show’s one gay couple. One storyline involving Cam, who is overweight, is about his attempt to go on a juice cleanse (or, as misinterpreted by Luke, a “Jew’s cleanse”). Mitchell goes on the juice cleanse along with him until they both have hunger-induced breakdowns at Mitchell’s workplace, which causes them to end up them falling into the ocean as they yell out declarations of love to each other. Another storyline involving Cam is about him imitating Marlon Brando in his role as Stanley Kowalski in the movie “A Streetcar Named Desire” as he goes searching with Gloria for her lost dog, coincidentally named Stella. These storylines have included some of “Modern Family’s most shining moments – not only in season three, but in the show’s history as a whole. Another of the show’s most notable episodes that also revolved around Mitchell and Cam, entitled “Aunt Mommy,” involves the gay couple’s contemplations about the option of surrogacy as opposed to adoption for their next child over a round of one too many drinks with Claire and Phil. They all decide that the option that would incorporate the greatest portion of both Mitchell and Cam’s genes would be to use Cam’s sperm and Claire’s eggs, since Claire is Mitchell’s sister. Needless to say, when the rest of the extended family finds out about this drunken decision, absolute chaos takes over, making for yet again another of the show’s funniest episodes.
Of course, all of the characters greatly contribute to the show, as Claire’s borderline case of OCD catapults her into bouts of constant stress, her husband Phil and her son Luke goof off and plot childish schemes together and Gloria’s son Manny writes love poems and picks roses for the various girls he pines after day after day. Unexpectedly, the writers of the show have found a way to make these wildly different characters work together in an absolutely natural and smooth way and have created a hilarious and lovable show as a result.