Modern Family and In the Middle: Telling it Like it is.

by Meredith O’Brien

 

As they’ve become the entertainment highlights of my week – the one hour when I’m guaranteed to enjoy several laughs of the out loud variety – Modern Family and The Middle have slowly evolved into comedic high-water marks for the 21st century family sitcom.

 

In every episode, issues large and small are addressed, demonstrating that the writers for these shows, the Emmy-winning Modern Family and the underdog The Middle, truly get what it’s like to raise kids in this environment where we’re surrounded by everything from overachieving Tiger Moms who take parenting to the extreme to overprotective helicopter parents, while we’re dealing with the ever-increasing load of burden that’s placed upon parents to be involved in every single thing each child does.

 

Modern Family, which I think is on its way to becoming The Cosby Show of this decade, has tackled a wide range of child-rearing issues and almost all of them with humor, intelligence and sensitivity. The main couple, Claire and Phil Dunphy, have coped with the hellacious horror of having their three kids burst in on them in flagrante delicto in one of the funniest Modern Family episodes I’ve seen (confirming for me the notion that when you attend a baby shower for a first-time mother, giving her a lock for her bedroom door might not be such a bad gift idea). When they’re not acting defensive in front of their children about their bedroom antics, Phil and Claire try to be on the same page regarding discipline issues, like last season when they threatened to cancel Christmas – even went so far as to remove the Christmas tree from the family room – in order to suss out which kid had been playing with matches and left a burn mark on the sofa. Only problem with their tough parenting approach was that they later discovered the kids were entirely innocent.