Third-episode verdict: Modern Family

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 2

In the US: Wednesdays, 9/8c, ABC
In the UK: Thursdays, 8pm, Sky 1/Sky 1 HD. Starts October 15

Modern Family presents something of a paradox. On the one hand, I want to hate it. It’s a mockumentary dealing in cringe comedy. Like we need another one of those. The male characters aren’t exactly great, the female characters aren’t that much better and the joke count per episode is variable to say the least.

But, it also has flashes of brilliance, of real laugh-out-loud moments that counterpoint some of its more obvious tendencies. 

Its first episode did have some cracking moments, even if they were a little few and far between. But its second episode was really very good. Okay, you could see what was coming a mile off and there were plenty of cringe comedy moments to deal with. But, there were some genuinely funny moments involving nuclear family mom and dad and the new divorcee who’d moved in round the corner.

The third episode was a slight fall in quality, dealing with (quelle surprise) men being idiots while women dealt with more serious emotional issues. But Gloria the Colombian mother did have some great moments, including a deliciously dark end line ("When he saw the photographs, I told him he had a twin sister who had died"); and her son, Manny, also proved to be better than just "the fat kid".

The gay characters, while still camp stereotypes, have also had some decent characterisation that have made them more than just "the gay ones", although the third episode did make them more or less a walking advert for CostCo. 

It’s only 30 minutes and you can be guaranteed a few decent laughs each episode. It’s not the best of the new comedies, but it’s not bad, and we’ll probably keep watching it for a while.

Carusometer rating: 2
Rob’s prediction: Already picked up for a full season, but I can imagine this one coasting along for at least another season