Modern Family: One Big (Straight, Gay, Multicultural, Traditional) Happy Family

Modern FamilyIt’s no secret that finding good shows to watch with your kids is a challenge. Sure, there are plenty of shows geared for specific ages and genders, such as…

  • Adults can find lots of great, feature-film quality shows on premium channels like HBO and Showtime. Homeland is one of my favorite new shows this fall. Check it out, if you haven’t yet.
  • News hounds can watch CNN or Fox or MSNBC for 24/7 breaking news.
  • Teens have The Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl on The CW.
  • Kids and tweens watch Disney Channel and Nickelodeon.
  • Dads have the Military Channel, and moms have Lifetime and OWN. Too gender-biased? Yeah, maybe. Then again, I really don’t know anyone who watches OWN, but there must be someone out there, since it’s still on the air.

But finding a show that everyone in the family can watch together? That’s a challenge. A big challenge. But don’t despair, because there are options.

I absolutely love the writing on [amazon_link id=”B0058RN85O” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Modern Family[/amazon_link], and as a bonus, it’s really very funny — in a way where you can see yourself in a lot of those situations. But my favorite thing about the show is that it highlights a lot of different types of families. Yeah, that’s why it’s called MODERN Family, Jane.

The core family is the Dunphy family, a typical suburban American family that includes a father, Phil (Ty Burrell); a mother, Claire (Julie Bowen); a son, Luke (Nolan Gould); and two daughters, Haley (Sarah Hyland) and Alex (Ariel Winter).

But branch out a bit and things get more interesting. Claire’s brother Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) is in a steady relationship with another man, Cameron (Eric Stonestreet), and they live together with their adopted Asian daughter Lily (played by twins Ella and Jaden Hiller). Meanwhile, Claire and Mitch’s dad Jay (Ed O’Neill) is married to Gloria (Sofia Vergara), and they live with her son Manny (Rico Rodriguez).

Some might question the family aspect of watching two gay guys raising a daughter on national TV, but to me, it matters not, as long as the parents are responsible and loving to their kids — which Mitch and Cameron are, probably moreso than many traditional families across the country.

Each episode of Modern Family usually has a takeaway message, in that one or more characters learn something about themselves and each other. The bottom line is that in EVERY family — traditional or unorthodox — the love and respect that family members give each other is worth everything. That’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Do you watch Modern Family? Do you watch it with your kids, or is the gay aspect too much for you?


  1. Sheryl Avatar

    ModernFamily is one of the few shows I watch. And although my kids are older, I think I’d allow them to watch if they were teens or younger. The gay relationship is handled non-chantly, I think, and showing two responsible caing parents is really what matters.

    1. Jane Boursaw Avatar

      My thoughts, too. Two caring parents is what it’s really all about, straight or gay.

  2. wandering educators Avatar

    we watch big bang theory – it is SO funny – but this sounds like we should definitely give it a try. thank you!

    1. Jane Boursaw Avatar

      Love Big Bang Theory, too! We’re behind about a season, though – need to get caught up.

  3. Susan Avatar

    I haven’t watched Modern Family but after reading your post and watching the clip of the flash mob, I’m intrigued. Maybe I’ll watch a few episodes on Hulu.

  4. merr Avatar

    We do watch…it’s like witnessing a perfectly orchestrated yet completely unexpected work of art. The writing is brilliant because the timing is always perfect, delivered by actors who couldn’t be better casted. All the stars are aligned.

    1. Jane Boursaw Avatar

      “Perfectly orchestrated” is the perfect way to describe this show, Merr. Some shows just click on all the elements – casting, writing, production, etc. – and Modern Family is one of those.

  5. MyKidsEatSquid Avatar

    We’ve dumped the cable and switched to Netflix so watching TV is an entirely different experience now. Lately, we’ve been working our way through Merlin from the BBC and the Young Indiana Jones.

    1. Jane Boursaw Avatar

      Oh that’s cool. My brother and SIL recently dumped their cable and switched to Netflix – and are really loving it! Definitely a great way to drop the high cable/dish bills every month. Also, my nephew recently bought a blu-ray player for my mom, and it’s got access to Hulu, Amazon movies, Netflix and YouTube built right into it. I might have to think about getting one and switching over, if I can talk the rest of the family into it.

  6. Ferrin Avatar

    Now, you have gotten me interested in Modern Family. I watch glee and big bang theory with my partner and we enjoyed the funny bits a lot. Modern family sounds like what we are looking for. Thank you for introducing this show! And two gays raising a daughter? Perfect! I want to see the interaction between the couple and how they educate their child – it would definitely be an interesting insight!

  7. Alexandra Avatar

    My adult daughter has told me to watch Modern Family, too. With your nudge as well, will check it out.

    1. Jane Boursaw Avatar

      Report back and let us know if you liked it.

  8. Jeanine Barone Avatar

    I only started watching Modern Family a few months ago because the flight I was on had something like five episodes. I was hooked. Now it’s one of the only series I regularly watch.

  9. Living Large Avatar

    I tried watching Modern Family when it first came on. I wanted to like it. I’ve liked shows that don’t portray families as the Beavers since Roseanne back in the 80s, but I just couldn’t get into it. Maybe I will give it another shot.

    1. Jane Boursaw Avatar

      Yeah, give it another shot. Sometimes I don’t like shows after watching just a few episodes, but then get into them if I can force myself to watch a few more episodes. Veronica Mars is one of those – it took me the LONGEST time to get past the first few episodes, but people were raving about it, so I pushed through and ended up really loving it.

  10. Laura Byrne Paquet Avatar

    I love Modern Family! It is one of the only shows I can rewatch and still laugh. Two episodes rank in my mind as among the funniest sitcom episodes ever: the one where Claire gets her coat stuck in the escalator, and the one where Phil wraps the family van with an ad for his real estate firm. And as for Veronica Mars, I still miss it. I got through a rough time in my life by watching all three seasons back to back on DVD.

    1. Jane Boursaw Avatar

      Oh yeah, I love that episode with Claire and her coat. Reminded me of Seinfeld, where all the stories somehow thread together at the end. I don’t know that I’ve seen the ad-wrap ep. Will scope that one out.

      I’m STILL trying to get through season three of Veronica Mars. My nephew said they were forced to adhere to the network’s idea to make each episode a stand-alone, rather than a story arc over the course of the season. Of course, viewers love story arcs – look at Buffy or Supernatural — and thus, the sad end of a great show. Anyway, I’m determined to get through it, just so I can say I did.

  11. Casey Avatar

    Have been a Modern Family watcher from the beginning, but now I’m really getting into Happy Endings too – warning, that one is NOT family-friendly!

    1. Jane Boursaw Avatar

      Good to know – I’ll check out Happy Endings. I’ve heard good things, but haven’t watched it yet. Will work it into the rotation.

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