“I’m a cool dad, that’s my thang. I’m hip, I surf the web, I text. LOL: laugh out loud, OMG: oh my god, WTF: why the face” (Episode 1.1).
Phil Dunphy- the quintessential dad. We can all relate to the embarrassing puns, the cringe worthy attempts to connect with our generation. I will never forget one particular day when my dad collected me from school- the car pulled in, the window rolled down and a high pitched parody of Regina George’s line from Mean Girls was heard “Get in loser, we’re going shopping!” A classic dad moment.
Modern Family. Fast becoming one of the most popular series of primetime television, the ‘mockumentary’ style comedy explores the stories of three unique ‘modern-day’ families.
The show humorously handles several significant issues including race, sexuality and gender roles. However, the stereotypical characters have caused debate within the public sphere (defined by A Mckee in The Public Sphere: An Introduction as the “virtual space where citizens exchange ideas and discuss issues”) due to their alleged misrepresentation. Michelle Haimhoff criticised the show in The Christian Science Monitor for being “sexist” and “unrealistic” in presenting women such as Claire as “stay at home” mums while their husbands are successful businessmen.
Furthermore the lack of physical affection displayed by the gay couple, Cameron and Mitchell, in season one sparked a Facebook campaign demanding that the two be allowed to kiss, the ensuing episode “the Kiss” drawing praise from many critics.
Despite these criticisms, the key to the success of Modern Family may actually lie in the depiction of these stereotypical personas and family models, as EVERYONE can relate to a certain aspect of the show. Whether, like me, it’s Phil Dunphy as your dad or the sibling rivalry between Hayley and Alex, it is this sense of familiarity that causes most members of the public sphere to look past the criticisms and see the show for its true comedic value.