Thursday, September 24, 2009
TBG TV: Modern Family
When/Where: ABC – Wednesdays at 9:00 PM
10-Word Premise: Family = gay, straight or Al Bundy doin' young women.
Starring: Julie Bowen as the WASPy mom; Ty Burrell as the dad who spits dated urban slang as well as real white people; Jesse Tyler Ferguson as the flaming redhead – who just so happens to be gay; Eric Stonestreet as 50% of Nathan Lane in The Birdcage and Ed O'Neill as America's second-marriage role model.
The Best Thang: The show's mockumentary style fits perfectly with the machine-gun pacing and whip-smart writing. In the premiere, every adult character was written with a simple, defining personality trait – frazzled or oblivious or cantankerous or idealistic romantic – and allowed to play off their spouses before the final 10 minutes brought all the families together. Also, the baby oil pratfall, the Lion King bit and the BB gun. Those are all also "the best thangs".
The Worst Thang: One of Mrs. Bootleg's hottest – and wisest – friends shares my pathological disdain for child actors. Child actors don't "act", they follow direction. Tom Hanks is an actor. The dog in "Benji the Hunted" followed direction. The kiddies here could've been plucked from any mall in America: one is growing up too fast, one is the annoying kid brother and one will end up being smarter than the adults. The "Manny" character – an odd cross between "King of the Hill's" Bobby Hill and that Rico Suave guy – is exception here.
The Verdict: Believe the hype, people and get in on the ground floor. The premiere struck a wonderful balance between subtle comedy, slapstick and a few uproarious moments. For once, I'm NOT going to be the last guy on a new TV show bandwagon. Instead, I'll be the one waiting at the water cooler to discuss "Modern Family" – the funniest new show of the season (pending my eventual viewing of "Cougar Town").