Pros: Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Ed O'Neill, Ty Burrell, Sofia Vergara, Ty Burrell, Eric Stonestreet and Ty Burrell
After screening bad-to-not-too-bad half-hour pilots so far, "Modern Family" restored my faith in comedy writers.
This ABC pilot is really, really funny. The cast is great, and the premise is fraught with potential. The banter is witty without being too clever, and it delivers laughs. Serious out-loud yuks that hold up even on a second viewing.
It's a little un-PC in parts, in service of its finely drawn characters. It took me a little bit to warm up to Julie Bowen in a mom role, but once she started doing the kind of pratfalls with a refrigerator door that seem to happen to me first thing in the morning, I was with her.
"Modern Family" looks to be the show that will finally do justice to Ty Burrell's considerable charms. I liked him in CBS' "Out of Practice," and in Fox's "Back to You" (from the same creative stewards as "Modern Family") and I'm now preparing to love Burrell (pictured top right) as the self-described "cool dad" in "Modern Family." Ed O'Neill is also very smartly deployed here.
The show manages to offer sly and subtle insights into the state of familial relations without ever once getting preachy or "very special episode"-y. Co-creators Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd have set the bar high for the series with the pilot.