Modern Family

All In The Family

{First Published in The Hindu Metroplus}

I often feel like I don’t write about Modern Family enough. It’s not a television tour de force the way say, Game of Thrones is, or Friends was, or even Sex And The City. It is however, a quietly successful television show that has been running for close to 8 years now, with seven seasons and now renewed for an eighth. Modern Family is primarily a comedy, presented in documentary style where the characters talk about situations as they play out on screen. It revolves around the Pritchett-Dunphy clan, which consists of three core couples and their children. There’s Jay Pritchett (Ed O’Neill), the patriarch of the family and his beautiful, outrageous second wife Gloria (Sofia Vergara). Jay’s daughter, Claire (Julie Bowen), who is married to Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell), and Jay’s gay son, Mitchell (Jesse Ferguson), who is also married, to Cam Tucker (Eric Stonestreet). There are children, step children, and adopted children in the mix as well.

When I started watching Modern Family back in 2010, I didn’t expect to relate to the show as much as I did, because I was raised in a rather conservative South Indian family. What would I have in common with a show which (also) involved step children? The more I watched though, the more I realised that the terms we gave these ‘modern’ families, whether it’s nuclear, same-sex or step were all redundant because they were just people who were in love and nurtured relationships the same way any family would. It normalises relationships which we may have unconsciously categorised as different, or freaky even, and that is an important reason why I endorse this show as much as I do.

One of my other favourite features about Modern Family, show wise, is that it doesn’t follow a strict timeline. Yes, the kids grow, but there’s no pressure to keep track of what’s going on next, and strangely, that makes the show all the more addictive for you lose count of the number of episodes you’re watching. The acting is all-round brilliant with each character and actor having impeccable comic timing. Given the strange situations they manage to get themselves in, there’s plenty of scope for bad acting, but it just isn’t there. The ensemble cast of this show is so strong, and there’s really no explanation needed behind why the show has racked up 21 Emmy Awards thus far.

What I love most about Modern Family though is that it doesn’t allow you to judge the person on screen. You’re thrown into their world, shoved into their shoes, and before you can wonder what two men are doing together raising a little girl, you’re already connecting what’s going on on the screen with your own experiences. To be honest, it was Modern Family, and Glee, which helped me understand, and more importantly, empathise with homosexuality, and given the times we live in, we could all use a little bit of empathy.

{Modern Family is currently being telecast on Star World Premiere HD}

2015 in Television

{First Published in The Hindu Metroplus}

It’s time for us to welcome the new year with family, friends, celebrations, and of course, somewhat pointless lists. So without further ado, here are my TV favourites from 2015 (in no particular order):

  • Empire – Empire is a musical soap opera about a Hip Hop mogul, and the lengths he’ll go to stay on top. It’s the television equivalent of the pizzas that have cheese stuffed in the crusts, the kind which oozes yellow, processed glory, on to your fingers. Yes it’s disgustingly over the top, and you can’t really tell people how much you enjoy it, although you know that they’d enjoy it just as much as you do when they eat it, I mean, watch it. {FX India}

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  • Better Call Saul – Better Call Saul was my favourite show this year. Yes, it’s a spin off of Breaking Bad, and there are plenty of recurring characters, but surprisingly, it has an entirely unique tone, and while one is occasionally reminded of Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul stands on its own. {Colors Infinity}

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  • Wolf Hall – Wolf Hall is a literary mini series which was produced by the BBC. The cast and screenplay is splendid, and Hilary Mantel’s masterpiece comes alive over the course of 6, hour long episodes. I do hope that more show makers take the hint from Wolf Hall and make more mini series from literary classics – that way I don’t have to pretend like I’ve read them anymore.

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  • Game of Thrones – Dragons! Kings! Betrayals! Dragons! Death! Snow! Did I mention Dragons? The fifth season of the epic fantasy story came to an end this year, with a finale that shook the world, or at least, broke the internet. Game of Thrones is the show whose return I’m most looking forward to in 2016. {HBO}

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  • Daredevil – While I enjoyed both The Flash and Arrow, Daredevil takes the super hero genre of television to a whole new level, the way Nolan’s The Dark Knight changed the game for films. Netflix has come out with a winner, yet again, and there is no doubt that Daredevil is the benchmark for super hero television shows to come.

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  • Master of None – If you’re not socialising with your family, and have plenty of time in your hands this weekend, why not cosy up with the entire first season of Aziz Ansari’s comedy for all seasons? It’s one the most relatable shows I’ve watched on international television (and not just because Ansari hails from Tamil Nadu), and the perfect candidate for marathon viewing.

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  • Quantico – This is right on top of my list of unexpected favourites. I didn’t want to like it, I watched it with great prejudice but eventually gave in to the racy screenplay and exaggerated drama. The show is addictive, and Priyanka Chopra has made an assured debut into American television and proved that she is a bonafide star. The penultimate episode before the season finale, and the season finale itself were a tad frustrating and I’m hoping (against hope) that it sorts itself out when it comes back next year. {Star World}

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  • The Affair – One often talks about “mindless television” – The Affair is the opposite. It demands your attention in a manner that is unforgiving, and if you blink, you miss. The Affair follows a story of infidelity narrated through different perspectives, none of which are objective, and leaves it to the viewer to be the judge. I’m a chronic multi-tasker, but The Affair ensured that my attention only belonged to the screen. {FX India}

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  • Mr. Robot – A terrific and well researched show that goes into the psyche and life of hackers. Given the rising coverage with respect to the hacking group “Anonymous” in the mainstream news, Mr. Robot is an excellent way to better understand hacking, and how the right information in the wrong hands could potentially break the world as we know it. {Colors Infinity}

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  • Modern Family – It’s not from 2015, technically, but I have been watching it religiously, all year. I could never tire of this show, or it’s characters, and I am yet to find an episode I haven’t guffawed out loud in. A perennial favourite to end the list! {Star World}

modern family