What makes ABC’s “Modern Family” tick is that it is not what you can call cheesy. It portrays families in modern times without overdoing the punch lines and without trying too hard to explain the plot. After all, “Modern Family’s” viewers are smart enough to grasp the characters’ personas and stories without the need for too much narrative.
Last week’s episode, “Chirp,” dealt with two storylines of endearment without showing too much emotional scenes. The first storyline centered on Phil, who was looking for the source of the chirping sound in his house that he suspected was coming from one of the smoke detectors. Phil, known more for his business-savvy real estate dealings than being a handyman, also tried to take care of the household while his wife is sick. Most of the episode showed his usual jinks-laden side as he struggled looking for the chirping sound, cutting his fingers, burning the ladyfingers, and then meeting his wife’s attractive guy friend from the gym. He tried to accomplish everything while making phone calls in between to get his clients to buy a piece of real estate. Sadly, none of his clients wants to buy a house, which shows the reality of how California’s housing market is going through tough times. You don’t have to be good at reading body language to know that Phil is also struggling through this harsh reality while shielding his family from the truth.
The second storyline dealt with the stepfather-stepson relationship of Jay and Manny. Twelve-year old Manny, who often portrays himself more mature than his age, tried to hire Mitchell as a legal counsel when Jackson, his friend and Jay’s employee, was fired for letting him drive the forklift that ended up crashing at Jay’s office. Manny vowed never to speak to Jay again, which Jay wittingly tried to end early by saying “Knock, knock” eliciting a quick response from Manny who stated, “Who’s there?” Jay stood by his decision of firing Jackson because of putting Manny in danger. Jay showed his exasperation believably while showing his dismay when Manny questioned his reference of him as “my kid” when he said, “Anybody who puts my kid’s life in danger doesn’t get a second chance, ever!” In the end, all Jay could utter, as an affirmation, was “Of course you’re my kid, give me a break.” Manny warmed up on Jay again after that heartwarming exchange.
“Modern Family” deserves kudos for staying true to its characters and by not offering long explanations of how the characters love each other and how they care about one another. The show does not consume the viewer’s energy by refraining from emotional exchanges that can ruin the punch lines. After all, it is a comedy. This is just the way the viewers would like for the show to continue so that they will stay interested in “Modern Family.”