Modern family returned to British telly screens last night – and, as always, it was a more than welcome return.
Picking up after Cam and Mitch’s disaster-plagued nuptials at the end of series five, the first episode saw the Dunphy household having a suspiciously idyllic summer, while Mitch struggled with Cam’s OTT romantic gestures and Gloria traded in her trademark look for frizzy hair, a grey baggy jumper and a make-up free face.
On a dark, wet and alarmingly chilly night, the reappearance of the Dunphy Pritchetts was restorative. Therapeutic, even. After five runs the clan are like old, familiar and really rather lovely friends.
Not many comedies last so long without losing vital cast members or becoming slightly less loved by the viewing public. But while the Dunphy Pritchett brood might have grown – up, and in size – since series one, Phil, Claire and co are just as sharp as ever.
Over the last five series, the comedy has never faltered. I can’t name an episode I didn’t absolutely love.
Sure, some instalments aren’t as full of zingers or laugh out loud moments as others. But whatever mishaps, japes or dramas arise, Modern Family always seem to get it just right. We get a little slapstick, some brilliant word play and clever subtle comedy as well as bold, silly, obvious stuff. And in its five-season history there has never been a joke that hasn’t worked. For me at least, the Dunphy Pritchetts are always on the money.
It takes a lot to make me actually laugh out loud at the telly but Modern Family manages it on an impressively frequent basis. And I don’t just tune in for the lols. I blub more watching Modern Family than I do any other show.
Because while it’s a comedy, the jokes are secondary to the characters themselves, who are rounded, three-dimensional, endlessly likeable and strong enough to stand on their own. Each episode might be peppered with jokes, but there’s real emotion there too. The kind that makes you want to pause the telly and go and hug your mum.
When it comes to the comedy greats, I’d go as far as to group Modern Family together with Friends. If it had aired on a terrestrial channel in the UK – and been repeated every hour of every day on E4 for a decade – I truly believe we’d quote Modern Family in the same way we quote Chandler, Rachel, Joey and the gang.
“When life gives you lemonade, make lemons. Life will be all like WHAT?!”
Modern Family continues on Mondays on Sky 1