Why the Show Modern Family Has Gotten Old

Why the Show Modern Family Has Gotten Old

I need to share something.  I’ve been holding it in for at least a year, hoping things will get better, but they haven’t.  So it’s time for someone to finally speak up, and I guess that person will have to be me.  Like I said, I haven’t wanted to, but after last night I feel I have no choice.  Here it goes…

Modern Family sucks.

There, I said it.  I know, I should probably keep my mouth shut.  And of course, being a mom, I should never use the word “sucks.”  But I’m so bummed at how this great show, a show that broke all boundaries, has become so predictable, full of stereotypes, and banal (don’t worry, I had to double-check the definition of “banal” too; it means lacking in originality, freshness, or novelty).

Do you remember season one?  I do, because I had to watch each episode at least three times – not because I’m slow, but because I was laughing so hard I needed a few extra plays to catch all of the hilariousness.  Phil got run over by his daughter, Claire’s coat got stuck in the escalator when she had nothing on underneath, and Gloria went spinning into the bushes while learning to ride a bike.  Now that’s good TV.

If I was literally rolling on the floor laughing for the first season, season two elicited little more than a chuckle.  The main reason, as I see it, is that the jokes became recycled.

Here’s what I imagine began happening in the writers' room:

Oh, Hailey’s in this scene: Insert joke about being flighty and boy crazy.  Manny enters stage left: Plug in a joke about his oversensitivity.  Mitchell enters stage right: Must make immediate reference to his anal retentiveness.  Then there’s Claire, who the writers have made into an overbearing, crazy caricature of a mom.  Last night, in addition to her usual hysterics, they added what seems to be a seizure disorder.  And I just have to say this: If I hear one more joke about Colombia, I’m going to order Ajiaco soup from a local restaurant and throw up all over my TV.

OK, so I might sound a tad ticked off.  But that’s only because I love this show so much.  In the beginning, it was so funny, fresh, irreverent, silly, quirky, interesting, and smart.  It showed how a gay couple could be just as abnormally normal as the rest of us and delved into the pain left over from divorce that happened decades ago.  There was no laugh track because it would have been superfluous.  The show was a gem.

I won’t even touch upon season three.  There’s no need to beat a dead Colombian horse – see how ridiculous it is to systematically insert trite and derogatory ethnic jokes?  If season one had me in stitches and season two had me lightly chuckling, season three is like watching a train wreck. There’s nothing new and nothing interesting except a few golden nuggets here and there.  And why, please tell me, isn't anyone talking about the fact that actress Julie Bowen is way too skinny?

Is there hope for this show that once held so much promise?  We shall see.  I haven’t given up yet.  Maybe that’s what being part of a Modern Family is all about.

Where'd I get the image?  Right here!

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  • Totally agree with you. We keep watching because I think we still think it's a funny show, but then after each episode we comment that the show ISN'T that funny anymore. And it's completely unrealistic to have the mother of three teens/tweens be that skinny. Their house is almost certainly full of junk food.

  • In reply to annekip63:

    Isn't it scary to think that the camera adds 10 lbs.?

  • I have been saying that this entire season. It is predictable and no longer funny. It's like the same joke over and over. And the episode this week with the "f*" word. Wasn't that a Brady Bunch episode or something. I swear I've seen that exact episode somewhere before.

  • I'll love Phil and Cam no matter what, they should have their own show. But the others are all just the same joke over and over again. They've adopted the "Friends" model of characters, get the viewers to love them and then NEVER LET THEM CHANGE! EVER!

  • Thanks, All! I love Phil and Cam, too, Jimmy; I definitely think they're carrying the show at this point. Their physical humor is amazing. Remember when Cam introduced Lily by turning on the Lion King's Circle of Life, right as Mitchell was saying his boyfriend is not melodramatic? That was one of the funniest moments I've ever seen on TV.

  • I am with you. It's becoming a chore to watch this show.

  • Sometimes a sit-com has one or two seasons of fresh ideas in it. Then Splat.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    So true. Do you think they'll be able to turn it around?

  • Could not agree more. I posted something similar on Twitter and fb and people jumped down my throat. Thanks for making me feel less alone! Apparently, Julie Bowen has a pacemaker and works out like a fiend to stay healthy in spite of her heart condition. However, her character is shrill and over the top. Phil Dunphy rules as well as Jay (Ed O' Neill.) The rest of them have lost their luster.

  • In reply to Cincy:

    Julie Bowen played Silas' older girlfriend on Weeds a couple of years ago and I don't remember her being as tiny. I find it uncomfortable to watch her!

  • Until I read your last comment, I didn't even recognize her as Silas' gf because she looked so much more normal back then. And I'm one of those people who always recognize actors in othe stuff...Totally agreed that it is uncomfortable to watch her now. It seems like women our age (30's) must be even skinner than younger women in the biz to make it in tv/the movies now (see Angelina Jolie now versus 10 years ago, for ex.). Ugh.

  • In reply to numia:

    I hear ya, Numia. The pressure never seems to go away, does it.

  • Have to say I've been fighting my wife off on this one. She has been calling it since last season, and I was in denial. I kept thinking they were just in a slump. It's happening just like other shows...best example Friends and Will and Grace where the characters became too predictable and exaggerated versions of themselves. As far as Julie Bowen goes she is a bit thin, but Claire has to be the sexiest stay at home Mom I can remember on TV.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    So funny, Tom, my hubby and I were the same way... he was also in denial. I loved (and still love) the early seasons of Will and Grace. Remember "Just Jack"? Wonder if that show opened the doors for a couple like Mitch and Cam.

  • It does NOT "suck"! The reason Mitch and Cam are so interesting is because we've not seen that relationship on TV before. The fact that we know all of the characters and can predict their response is a comment on how well developed they are! I don't need/want a sitcom show to come up with "zany" new situations every week. I like the familiarity and predictability of these characters. It shows that some things never change and you can grow to accept people as they are...

  • In reply to urbancitygirl:

    Yay, urbancitygirl, thanks for sharing a different perspective! And you're right, I should stop using the word suck. I hear what you're saying about Modern Family - it's nice to get to know the characters. I just wish they would mix it up more!

  • People, people, lighten up! The comedy is still funny, maybe sometimes it is predictable, but it is always funny. We have way too many new shows that cater to "no minded" humor i.e. Happy Endings. Please that one is a waste of air space. Or we have the exceptionally graphic crime shows - do we really need to see a body get disembowled on television?! I'll take Modern Family any day!

  • I think it's hard going to keep a series fresh--humor often depends on surprise, and even an original series becomes familiar. That said, we enjoy the show. We didn't start watching until last year, and then we always record it and watch in binges with episodes out of order, the seasons sometimes mixed up. We find even the guest characters hilarious. Some memorable moments--the guy living in Lily's playhouse, the head of the town board spitting out his not-ice-cream cake, the kids trying to wash there eyeballs after walking in on Phil and Claire..... I think the stereotypes have been there all along--for ex.: Mitch and Cam are extremely so, but they're both so witty that we generally forgive the writers.

    As for comments about Julie Bowen's weight: How....catty. She's a talented comedic actress, especially great at reactions--why not leave her weight out of it. I don't see anyone commented on the other cast members weight or appearance--certainly not the men.

  • In reply to AnneHarris:

    Oh my gosh - love those episodes! I still crack up when I think about the kids walking in the with the tray of food on Phil and Claire's anniversary. I'm not trying to be catty about Julie Bowen. I think she's too skinny and it worries me.

  • Hi Wendy. I guess I'm commenting on what appears to be a trend... comments criticizing or scrutinizing appearance are usually reserved for the women (and too often those comments are made by women). There's no expression of concern for the cast members who are overweight men. I respect and appreciate your critiquing the show, but her weight has nothing to do with the show's quality.

    So much attention is paid to the appearance of actresses--I just googled her and was appalled to see a series taken by some paparazzi of her on a beach in a bikini, close-ups with a long lens, on her belly. Intrusive. Offensive. Frankly, she looked fit, trim and middle aged. She looks different now because she's OLDER. Can't we respect her for her talent and just leave her body alone.

  • In reply to AnneHarris:

    I hear where you're coming from. I used to peruse the pics myself until I realized they were part of a machine feeding our need to scrutinize actors' private lives. I stand by my point, though, that I say something when a public figure is scarily thin. Why not have a dialogue, as you and I are now doing, about the pressure to be think? I did the same when I watched Calista Flockhart 10 years back on Ally McBeal; we don't have to glamorize skinniness; instead we should focus on building a healthy body image so our daughters don't have to feel the same pressures we do. Take a look at this link I saw today on Huff post... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/janell-burley-hofmann/girls-and-body-image_b_1204882.html. This is why I think it's important, not catty or snarky, to have these conversations. Thank you again for your comments!

  • *thin, not think.

  • Yes, the pressure to be thin in our culture is worth talking about; also, in the same vein, the pressure on girls to be pretty (the not spoken but underlying assumption that being pretty trumps everything).

    Thank you for the link. It's beautiful.

  • I feel the same way about Glee!

  • Ok, glad to hear others agree. I have been hating this show all season. It sickens me when a good comedy turns into a mediocre drama. This is exactly what happened to The Simpsons after Season 7 or 8. The comedy just disappeared. With MF, I really think Phil carries the show. His character is fantastic and funny. Luke is not bad. Gloria is annoying. Claire is scary crazy. Mitch and Cam, well I can't stand them. Enough or the clowns. They are not fun to watch. I seriously hate this show now. Time to move on. Well at least Family Guy is still funny. Bring on Season 8 of Curb!

  • Thanks, EVH9! I've pretty much stopped watching it altogether. I wonder how much longer the show will last.

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