Media Task One - Television Program Investigation
Modern Family (2009-Present)
Background and Origin
Modern Family is a documentary-style comedy about three branches of the extended Pritchett family: Dad Jay has married a younger woman and is now raising a teenage stepson; his daughter Claire has a husband and three kids of her own; and his gay son Mitchell has just adopted a Vietnamese baby with his partner. Modern Family premiered on ABC in September 2009 as part of the network's new Wednesday comedy lineup, and was immediately met with positive reviews and strong ratings, becoming the breakout show of the night. Modern Family was created and is executive-produced by Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd, who worked together as writers and producers on Frasier, and co-created the short-lived sitcom Back to You; Levitan was also the creator of Just Shoot Me. This investigation will highlight the key aspects which has made Modern Family a very likable program over the last few years. the way in how the show appeals to viewers will be discussed as well as the values and attitudes of society are reﬂected through the main characters. I Will also indicate some of the controls and constraints that Modern Family has to deal with in order to make their show successful and appropriate. Also featured will be the discussion of some of the obvious stereotypes which the show portrays and the impact of Modern Family on Todays society. But to be able to understand all these aspects, you will need to familiarise yourself with the main characters ﬁrst.
Jay Pritchett: The father of Claire and Mitchell, husband of Gloria, grandfather of Lily, Luke, Alex, and Haley, and the stepfather of Manny. He is the owner of a construction ﬁrm and is presumably the wealthiest family member. Jay has a dry and sarcastic sense of humor. Like both his son and daughter, Jay is generally more realistic, mild mannered, and sensible than his partner, Gloria, who is unashamed of the fact Jay is many years her senior. A recurring plot involves Jay's relationship with his son Mitchell, which became more complicated due to Jay's reaction to Mitchell's sexual orientation. Gloria Pritchett: Jay's wife and Manny's mother. She is from a small village in Columbia. She is a very loving wife and mother despite the age difference between her and her husband. Her voluptuous ﬁgure and overall beauty is often remarked or noticed by other characters on the show. One of her most distinctive traits is her very thick Colombian accent, which sometimes leads her to mispronounce English words, such as "ultimatum" as "old-tomato" and "earrings" as "hair-rings". She often supports Manny when Jay tries to tell him to be less sensitive or hide his cultural background. Manny Delgado: Gloria's 14-year-old son from her ﬁrst marriage. He is very outgoing and not the least bit self-conscious. He is very intelligent, mature and intuitive for his age and is often shown doing adult-like things, such as having conversations with Claire about her marriage and kids, and drinking coffee. He has inherited his mother's passion for life, though Gloria has also said, "Manny is passionate, just like his father." This causes Manny to be very romantic. Manny is not afraid to take chances, leading him to ask out older girls, and develop a crush on Haley.
Phil Dunphy: Claire's husband of 20 years who sees himself as the "cool dad." He dotes on his wife Claire and constantly tries to ﬁnd ways to bond with his three kids. He is seen as very competitive, one example being his nature of always beating his son at basketball. He has a very juvenile attitude, and is referred to by Claire as the "kid [she's] married to." He uses a parenting method that he calls "peerenting", which is a combination of talking like a peer but acting like a parent. He is a real estate agent who is very conﬁdent in his work, once saying "I could sell a fur coat to an Eskimo." Claire Dunphy: the daughter of Jay,...
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