Case Number 22556

MODERN FAMILY: THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON (BLU-RAY)

Fox // 2010 // 528 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // October 19th, 2011

The Charge

Just like your family.
Only funnier.

Opening Statement

The Pritchetts continue their boob tube domination by sweeping just about every awards show around (Emmys being the main culprit) and hammering the competition in their time slot. The second season of Modern Family features even more belly laughs and bittersweet moments, care of Fox Home Entertainment.

Facts of the Case

The second season of Modern Family brings more of the same to the Pritchett clan as they struggle being one big happy straight gay multicultural extended family. Patriarch Jay (Ed O'Neil, Married with Children) continues to deal with culture shock with his younger, hotter wife Gloria (Sofia Vergara) and her preteen son, Manny (Rico Rodriguez). Jay's daughter, Claire (Julie Bowen), keeps the peace with her goofy husband Phil (Ty Burrell) as they try to raise their three children right -- even if that means getting more involved than needed in their school, personal and love lives. Finally there's Jay's son Mitchell (Jessie Tyler Ferguson) and his partner, Cam (Eric Stonestreet), who are attempting to raise their adopted baby daughter while keeping their relationship fresh. They're all just one big happy modern family.

The Evidence

Modern Family had a lot to live up to in its second season. The show became a hit right out of the gate, and the sophomore slump could have been easily achieved; yet showrunner Christopher Lloyd (not the one you're thinking of) continued making Modern Family not just a fluke but a near national institution. Some shows take seasons to find their stride but Modern Family has proven to be the exception to the rule with amusing one liners and sharp performances.

Modern Family does a great job of showing just how hard it can be for people to get along with one another because of their differences. One of my favorite relationships on the show is between Jay and Mitchell. Jay's desire to be a loving father no matter what sometimes clashes with his son's gayness; while Jay clearly loves Mitchell he still is often at a loss at how to deal with Mitchell's lifestyle. It's to the show's credit that this dynamic isn't handed with overt sentimentality or any intentional meanness -- it's just two guys trying to figure each other out. There are a lot of small moments that resonate with viewers, which may be why Modern Family has found its audience so quickly.

Highlights here include a fantastic Halloween episode that had some of the funniest moments on TV in 2010, period. Jay dressed as a gargoyle. Gloria attempting to talk like an American citizen. And one sexy Mother Teresa. (Watch the episode, you'll see what I mean.) Other episodes feel like near classics: Claire and Phil are caught coitus interruptus by their children, which creates a nuclear meltdown for all involved (Ty Burrell is especially funny during this episode). One of the season's best episodes features Mitchell attempting to help Jay and Cam build a princess castle for their daughter in their backyard, even though Mitchell is about as proficient with a hammer and saw as a polar bear is with a computer.

One of my only complaints about the show is with the character of Haley (played by Sarah Hyland). I realize that Claire and Phil's children are supposed to be vastly different personalities -- the smart one, the hot popular one, the weird one -- but Sarah Hyland's portrayal of Haley comes dangerously close to being not only a caricature but also a terrible person; she's starting to come off as a Paris Hilton clone. I wish the writers would put a little more effort into making Haley someone the audience can relate to (and by audience, I mean people other than vapid 16 year old cheerleaders).

The rest of the actors are all fantastic in their roles. Ed O'Neil has found his second wind in this show and plays Jay as gruff but lovable, a delicate balance that he does with a master's touch. Ty Burrell is so good as Phil that it's hard to imagine him playing anything other than a doofus. And Eric Stonestreet is exceptional as Cam, who also done a fine job of making his teddy bear of a character lovable. Really, it's the entire cast that deserves credit -- Modern Family is a true ensemble show, and all the cogs in this machine run exceptionally smooth together.

Modern Family: The Complete Second Season is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen in 1080p resolution. For a television show, I have to admit that these episodes all look very, very good. While the images don't 'pop' like a lot of big budget new releases (this is, after all, a domestic comedy that doesn't feature a lot of razzle dazzle), overall these are very representative of their original broadcasts. The soundtracks are all presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and work well given the material they are supporting. The surround sound feature isn't utilized often -- this is a dialogue heavy sitcom so most of the sound comes through the front channel. Also included on this set are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

The supplemental materials included on this three disc set include some deleted family interviews from various episodes (around ten minutes worth), around twenty minutes of deleted and extended scenes, a music video for the song "Imagine Me Naked" (sung by Haley's none-too-bright boyfriend Dylan), a full cast reading of one of the episodes ("Strangers on a Treadmill Table Read"), a behind-the-scenes look at the flash mob episode, a very short piece on Oprah's documentary crew filming the cast ("Waiting for Oprah"), a featurette on the holiday episodes, a gag reel, an interview with producer/co-creator Steve Levitan and a short featurette with production designer Richard Berg.

The Verdict

Modern Family: The Complete Second Season is no sophomore slouch. This is a very funny and surprisingly sentimental follow-up to the groundbreaking first season and well worth checking out.

Review content copyright © 2011 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 90
Audio: 88
Extras: 85
Acting: 97
Story: 95
Judgment: 95

Perp Profile
Studio: Fox
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)

Audio Formats:
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)

Subtitles:
* English (SDH)
* French
* Spanish

Running Time: 528 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Deleted/Extended Scenes
* Deleted Family Interviews
* Featurettes
* Music Video
* Table Read
* Gag Reel
* Interview

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt1442437/combined

* Official Site
http://abc.go.com/shows/modern-family