All of the networks have had trouble launching even
one new comedy over the past decade, and those that survived often got
their starts behind an established comedy, where they got spillover
“Modern Family” — about a quirk-filled,
multi-generational family — is the biggest new comedy of the year and
found success without having that lead-in support from an established
hit show. It has averaged about 10 million viewers each week, making it
consistently a Top 25 show.
Even some of the cast members are befuddled by the show’s popularity.
had success on another quirky family show — “Married With Children.”
Yet he doesn’t know why “Modern Family” has become so popular so fast.
“I’m really amazed by the show. It’s confusing to
me. I’m not used to this sort of comedy. I’m not sure how it’s working.
I just know it is,” O’Neill says during an interview on the set.
The show uses similar storytelling techniques to
“The Office,” where a fake film crew documents the antics of the
various twisted limbs on the family tree. It’s fast-paced as the show
bounds from sit-down interviews to voyeuristic moments.
The story centers on O’Neill’s character, who married a hot, younger woman (
suggests the show has attracted such a large following because viewers
see similarities between characters on the show and their own relatives.
“There’s either that flamboyant uncle or that weird
dad or the hot family member who everyone wants to be with but no one
can. It’s just a somewhat exaggerated version of everyone’s lives,”
Bowen says it’s less complicated.
“We are not curing cancer here,” Bowen says. “We’re just talking about ordinary things in a funny way.”
A lot of the ordinary things in the scripts come directly from the cast.
Bowen talks about how her husband once wired their
entire house for cameras and ended up leaving holes in the walls. She
got to watch her TV husband make the same mess.
Vergara offers the best explanation for why “Modern Family” has succeeded when so many other new comedies have failed.
“It’s a perfect storm. It’s a combination of things
like the writers, the actors and the characters,” she says. “And, we
are having so much fun on the set that I think you can see that.”
(c) 2010, The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.).
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.