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TV Rewind | Modern Family: The new take on family sitcoms

Modern Family was an instant favourite mainly because we had never seen a TV family that was so unique. The characters were unique, and the jokes were hilarious. Each character was written in a way that even their mannerisms made us laugh.

Written by Sampada Sharma | New Delhi |
Updated: May 24, 2020 9:58:16 am
modern family tv rewind Modern Family ended after a 11-season run in 2020.

Modern Family came to an end after 11 seasons in 2020, and for many, it was the end of the era of family sitcoms. For 11 years, the characters of this family entertained their audience, and even though they overstayed their welcome, the way they made their audience laugh and cry will be remembered for years to come.

What is Modern Family all about?

Modern Family is a comedy about a family living in California. The patriarch Jay (Ed O’Neill) lives with his second wife Gloria (Sofía Vergara) and her son Manny (Rico Rodriguez) and later their new son Joe. Jay’s daughter Claire (Julie Bowen) lives with her husband Phil (Ty Burrell) and three kids Haley (Sarah Hyland), Alex (Ariel Winter) and Luke (Nolan Gould). Jay’s son Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) lives with Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) and their daughter Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons).

Modern Family started as a mockumentary, a format which was earlier popularised by The Office, and had characters giving interviews about their day-to-day life intercut with their regular lives. But unlike The Office, the characters here hardly broke the fourth wall during the scenes.

top 10 modern family episodes Modern Family challenged the traditional familial stereotypes.

What works for Modern Family?

Modern Family was an instant favourite mainly because we had never seen a TV family that was so unique. The characters were unique, and the jokes were hilarious. Each character was written in a way that even their mannerisms made us laugh.

Mitch and Cam’s interpersonal dynamics was adorable yet funny. Add Lily to the mix and we got some of the sassiest lines of the show. With Jay and Gloria, we got two contrasting personalities that could have been classic in another show, but they appeared funny because of their differences – age, culture and upbringing. At the Dunphy household, Claire is shown as the voice of reason but the presence of Phil around her balances everything.

The show gave some of its best episodes in its first few seasons thanks to the perfect ensemble. Episodes like Mitch and Cam’s wedding, death of Phil’s mother, Alex’s graduation brought tears to our eyes, but the writers made sure that they gave us funny moments through them all.

Also Read | Top 10 Modern Family episodes

modern family season 1 Modern Family started as a show which found humour in everyday things.

When did it stop working?

Modern Family was on a winning streak at the award shows and was churning out great ratings for ABC so it was only natural that the show would continue to get renewed. Unfortunately, this approach doesn’t usually work for comedies, and that’s what happened here as well.

As the show progressed, the characters got repetitive, and the writing got lethargic. We saw the first glimpse of this when Claire was given the storyline of local elections. The track pulled the episodes down and to make matters worse, Julie Bowen’s portrayal of the character got overbearing as the seasons passed. From being the voice of reason, she turned into an unlikable know-it-all whose storyline had almost no humour.

For Sophia Vergara’s Gloria, it was her mispronunciation of words that got people laughing, but the audience can’t be expected to laugh at that when the character has been speaking in English for many consecutive years. The Pritchett-Dunphy kids were dealt a bad hand, much like what we see of kids who grow up on TV shows. The characters are usually well defined when the show begins, but the writers don’t know how to make a personality evolve as it reaches its 20s. And the same happened to Haley, Alex, Luke and Manny. The four of them stayed almost the same – blonde (Haley), nerd (Alex), another version of blonde (Luke) and artsy (Manny).


Created by Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan, Modern Family won 22 Emmys through its run.

The show is often cited as a pop culture phenomenon when it comes to representation of LGBT characters. This was one of the early shows to embrace marriage equality as a part of its narrative. Even though the show was set in an elite part of California, it was strongly relatable because of its familial connections.

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Modern Family is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.

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