As the number of GLBT characters appears to be rising again – after a pitiful showing for the last few years – it’s great to find a new sitcom with TV’s funniest gay couple since Hannity & Colmes. On a network that has long been one of the leaders in quantity (and quality) of gay portrayals in their shows, ABC has picked up one hilarious new sitcom: Modern Family.
The single-camera comedy sans laugh track (hallelujah!) is deliciously dry like Arrested Development and as overflowing with jokes as 30 Rock. The show features one very non-traditional extended family led by patriarch Jay (Ed O’Neill, Married with Children) who’s remarried to a much younger woman with an 11-year-old son. Jay’s daughter, Claire (Julie Bowen, Boston Legal) and her desperately “hip” husband Phil have three kids of their own.
But it’s Jay’s gay son Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson, The Class) and his partner Cameron (Eric Stonestreet, CSI) who steal the show. Well, at least in the pilot. By the end of the episode, they’ve introduced their newly adopted Vietnamese daughter to the family in a truly laugh-out-loud scene that’s funny, and gay, on many levels.
What makes Modern Family so great is its appreciation of subtlety in the midst of the absurd (because in real-life, not everyone talks in a series of one-liners and punch line setups). Characters don’t react the way they’re expected to and often they don’t act the way political correctness would dictate they do.
The series creators and writers put an inventive twist on ethnic and cultural stereotypes while skewering tiresome sitcom conventions for an end-product that’s as fresh as it is familiar. And that’s why we love it.
Modern Family is smart, wickedly funny and not afraid to push a few buttons. We promise, you’ll love it. So watch it and tell your friends. We don’t want this twisted family tree getting chopped down prematurely.
Season premiere tomorrow on ABC
9:00 p.m./8:00 p.m. Central