Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

Modern Family

Family comedies are among the oldest staples on TV, but true to its title, this mockumentary refreshes the genre with humor and heart. It follows three branches of an extended family: a May-December second marriage, a gay couple who've adopted a baby from Vietnam, and a nuclear family with three kids. The outstanding broad cast — including Ed O'Neill as the crusty patriarch — allows for endless combinations and family dynamics, playing changes in the family against quirks and grievances that go back decades. The Office uses the mock-doc device to show how a group of unrelated co-workers became like a family; Modern Family borrows it to show that you can be born into a group of people but spend a lifetime getting to know them.