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The Milton Measure

Modern Family Season Six

by Sam Brigham on Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Modern Family is back. Announced last May, the sixth season of ABC’s hit sitcom premiered on Wednesday, September 24th. Modern Family has been extremely popular since its debut in 2009, garnering the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series for each of its past five seasons. The show is renowned for its occasionally raunchy yet undeniably intelligent humor that has helped it appeal to a wide variety of audiences.

Modern Family is centered around a diverse and eccentric extended family split into three households. The show depicts the family’s adventures as they live through life’s peaks and troughs. One household contains the family’s patriarch, Jay Pritchett, a successful businessman with a dry, sarcastic sense of humor. Jay resides with his much younger wife, Gloria, his teenage stepson, Manny, and his infant son, Joe. Jay’s son, Mitchell, lives with his husband, Cameron, and their adopted daughter, Lily. Jay’s daughter, Claire, is married to Phil, a loving and occasionally awkward father to his maverick daughter Haley, his academically-driven daughter Alex, and his rambunctious but affectionate son Luke. The characters all interact with each other through entertaining encounters which subtly convey the story of each family member’s progression through life. Insecurities within the family, such as Jay’s coming to terms with his son’s sexual orientation, are slowly resolved as the series progresses. Since the series is presented in mockumentary style, the fictional characters often speak directly into the camera. These interviews are an important component of the plot due to the candor and humor that the camera draws from each character.

Modern Family is among the most-viewed shows in television history since its pilot episode. The show’s premise of an undeniably complicated, yet funny and lovable extended family, speaks to a wide audience. Brian Lowry, Variety magazine, sums up the show as “smart, nimble and best of all, funny, while actually making a point about the evolving nature of what constitutes ‘family.” The Season Five finale attracted a whopping 15.9 million viewers and season viewership as a whole put Modern Family at a very respectable 13th place for the 2013-2014 TV season. However, many critics and viewers have complained that the series has gone downhill somewhat over the past two years. The fifth season’s episodes were rated at an average grade of “B-” by The A.V Club, a popular media review site. Writer Joshua Alston remarks that “Modern Family becomes a high-wire act… [separating] its characters into three storylines with no overlap between them.”

So what surprises will the new season hold? Long-time life partners Mitchell and Cam have just married. Previously unambitious Haley seems to have matured somewhat and earns money from her fashion photography blog. And Cam and Mitchell’s daughter Lily has begun to talk more; Joe Reid of The A.V. Club calls Lily a “veritable one-liner machine.” Lily’s development demonstrates one of Modern Family’s useful elements; a cast of young actors allows loyal fans to see the characters’ growth in life as if the series’ plot were real. For example, Luke Dunphy has transformed from a rather vacuous child into a noticeably more cultured teenager, while his sister Haley has changed from a high school girl wanting to escape her family to an adult who is content at home. Whether or not the new season of Modern Family lives up to critics’ expectations, viewers will undoubtedly tune in to ABC at 9:00 pm on Wednesday nights to follow America’s quintessential “modern family.”

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Posted by Sam Brigham on Oct 3 2014. Filed under Arts & Entertainment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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