I review a whole season rather than individual episodes, so there is a chance of spoilers. If you haven’t watched the whole season yet, stop reading now!
Six seasons in and Modern Family needs something to shake it up. There have been attempts this season, with a new toddler joining the family unit, Julie Bowen’s Claire starting a position within the family business and new neighbours for the Dunphys offering plenty of story potential but it isn’t quite enough.
There is a familiarity to the show which used to be it’s saving grace but is beginning to become it’s crutch. It is becoming a slightly stale show and rather than must-see or intelligent comedy, it feels like it is “going through the motions” and the episodes are becoming interchangeable and at worst samey.
This is because the scenarios feel like they’ve been played out. The characters have their traits and all the actors play them extremely well but there are only so many different situations you can out them in and get pretty much the same reactions in a different environment.
The other strength of the show was the size of it’s cast. It had a cast which was so large that there could be some great pairings and unusual combinations within each story. There is a little bit of this with the seventh season but for the most part the major combinations have been done and this doesn’t even offer the same creativity it used to.
This becomes more apparent when certain episodes pair the weaker characters together in their own stories. Some episodes have a clear structure in which there are three key stories and if the combination of characters isn’t particularly well-written or paired well, there will be at least one story you care very little for.
There are some great characters still, Ty Burrell’s Phil, Ed O’Neill’s Jay and Eric Stonestreet’s Cam are the big three. Unfortunately, if they are paired together, the weaker characters, including Sofia Vergara’s Gloria who is becoming more shrill and annoying, Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s Mitch who is slightly dull and the Dunphy children who are more stereotypical caricatures than characters in their own right, become the weak link in the episodes.
This may sound overly negative but the series still has some fantastic moments and at least one hilarious joke an episodes. It is always entertaining and does flourish with some newer stories in places. The love story between Sarah Hyland’s Hayley and new “Manny” Adam Devine is an interesting one with scope for development while an episode which takes place entirely on Claire’s computer screen is both original, funny and manages to go beyond novelty.
There is still plenty of life in Modern Family but it is in desperate need of a shake-up. This could be a new character, a new situation or a major change in dynamic. It is still good but starting to slip from great and without a change, this can only get worse.
Overall, Modern Family is suffering from being too “old.” The characters are becoming too familiar and the situations aren’t very fresh anymore. There is potential in the series and parts of it are very funny but it needs to do something about the very poor characters compared to their stronger counterparts.
Best Episode – Connection Lost: A great, original idea where the episode takes place entirely on the computer screen.
Best performance – Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy
Should there be another season? – Yes, but a major shake-up is needed if the show is going to keep entertaining.
Rating – 3.5
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)