Wednesday, 14 December 2011

In Praise Of Modern Family (Again)

We sat down in front of the telly last night to catch up with the stuff we’ve got on the SkyPlus which is almost full of things we’d love to have seen and will probably never get around to. One that most definitely doesn’t fall into that category is Sky1’s Modern Family, which has been amongst our favourites since it launched. We’re now into Series 3. By this time even the greatest sitcoms have usually started to flag; not Modern Family. Episode 10 of the series is the family’s Christmas which is being celebrated a week early due to problems getting everyone together on the big day. From the opening pre credit scene around the swimming pool to the final post credit scene at home, this was perfect television. I can’t reveal the plot for fear of spoiling it for others who have it saved. All I can say is that Christmas came early for us too and I can’t remember watching anything with so many laugh out loud moments; the writers crammed in more in thirty minutes than many Hollywood blockbuster comedies achieve in two hours.

And it’s not even as if the show has one stand out star like Bill Cosby, Bob Newhart or  Will Smith; even the smallest character got at least one big laugh in this episode and the rest got plenty. And it’s also not even as if all the comedy is the same. There are elements of slapstick and farce as well as great lines and brilliantly observed situations. The actors are universally excellent from the patriarch Jay (Ed O’Neill), his glorious Latino wife Gloria (Sofia Vergera), very gay son Michael (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and his even gayer partner Cam (Eric Stonestreet) but my favourite is the hapless Phil (Ty Burrell) an eternal optimist who always does everything to make things right and inevitably makes everything anything but – a bit like me really. “Down with the kids” Phil’s classic interpretation of WTF (Why The Face) sums him up in a nutshell – wonderful. The kids are all outstanding too. If you haven’t seen Modern Family, treat yourself to a box set for Christmas and lift your family out of the great depression that was 2011.

No Orange Wednesday for us this week; just not enough time week as we’re preparing a tea party for Marion’s mum and we’ve got four old ladies and old man coming round to join us. We’ve just roasted this turkey crown and we’re going to use it to make turkey sandwiches, (which are always the best food bit about Christmas for me). The fridge is absolutely packed so I imagine that our guests will be going home with their usual goody bags that will do them for another couple of meals as they don’t tend to have enormous appetites at 80 plus.

I hope that we will get to the pictures again before Christmas as I quite fancy the new Sherlock Holmes. I loved the last one and the new one has got even better reviews from the critics so I hope that it gets to FACT or Vue next week. We’ve seen so many films this year that it’s hard to say which was my favourite. If pushed I would probably have to go for Submarine – one of the few feel good movies of the year, although A Separation, Of Gods And Men and Cave Of Forgotten Dreams were all memorable.

I’m struggling to read The Slap. I usually fly through novels in a couple of days but this one has really slowed me down. I don’t know if it is all the different characters or the Australian slang that’s making me struggle but I’m persevering as Marion’s got it saved on the SkyPlus and doesn’t want to watch it while I’m still reading the book (Kindle says I’ve got 50% left). Books that were a pleasure to read this year were The White Woman On The Green Bicycle and Florence And Giles both of which I strongly recommend.