Why ‘Modern Family’ — The Most Formulaic Show On TV — Is An Emmys Favorite

We here at TVWriter™ luv a well written and damning analysis, don’t you?

Not sure what we mean? Well, you won’t find out from the following article…which is a well written analysis to be sure, but far from damning. Which we also think is kinda nice:

modern-family-winsby Ashley Burns

TV company when it won its fifth statue for Outstanding Comedy Series. Only Frasier had ever had that kind of success before, having won five in a row from 1994 to 1998, and some could argue that Modern Family’s current run is more impressive, because it didn’t have the benefit of being spun off from a beloved series like Cheers (and others might then argue that Frasier was more impressive, because spin-offs are usually hot garbage).

Now with five wins in the five seasons that the show has been on television, Modern Family is arguably the most celebrated sitcom in the history of the Primetime Emmy Awards, with more Outstanding Series wins than Cheers (4), All in the Family (4), Taxi (3), The Mary Tyler Moore Show (3), The Dick Van Dyke Show (3), 30 Rock (3, despite being the best show ever created), The Golden Girls (2), Murphy Brown(2), I Love Lucy (2), Seinfeld (1), and even Friends (1), which was beloved, but not actually a good show.

Better yet, how on Earth did a show that debuted in 2010, anchored only by the star power of Ed O’Neill, become such a critical juggernaut? After all, the “mockumentary” style had already been celebrated at the Emmys in 2006, when The Office took home its only trophy for Outstanding Comedy Series. Simply put, Modern Family was created by two men, Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd, who know a thing or two about writing, developing and cultivating TV hits.

Levitan already had five series under his belt by the time that ABC gave Modern Family a full season order right out of the gates in 2009. While Just Shoot Me! was his only show to catch on for more than two seasons, he also had writing credits on Wings, The Larry Sanders Show, Frasier, and The Critic, so there were hits among the misses. (He’s also the guy who brought us the horrendous Stacked, which will forever be cemented in my head as a hilarious Greg Giraldo roast bit.) Lloyd, on the other hand, wrote for The Golden Girls, Wings and Frasier, so he presumably picked up a number of tricks along the way. Together, Levitan and Lloyd had the experience to put together a winning formula, so all they needed was the story, and they found that in their own personal experiences.

Modern Family, like so many other sitcoms before it, is a show that was developed out of the idea that all of our families are crazy, but this fake family takes the cake while serving us pieces of morality. This “modern” family, as it is, focuses on one side – in this case, the Pritchetts – and the dissimilar people that they’ve chosen to marry, as well as the children they’re raising.

The series formula is quite simple, as each of these seemingly different but tightly-connected couples faces new problems each week, and they must overcome their differences to get past these obstacles. After all, the moral of this series is that no matter how wide the divide or the differences between two people, love and family are all we ever need. What makes us modern, I suppose, isn’t that a family features mixed-age or same-sex couples, as much as we’re still learning to overcome the new problems affecting us by using the same basic morals and lessons that we learned in Father Knows Best.

Read it all