In today's era of television, you might say that one measure of a show's quality is how well it pulls off product placement. "The Office" and "30 Rock" have done it deftly in the past, managing to be funny without really disguising the advertainment aspect of the episode.
Wednesday's "Modern Family" was in a sense a halfhour informercial for Apple's new iPad – perhaps a bit of odd timing in that it aired the same day the show won a Peabody award – but I didn't think the comedy suffered at all. All the characters seemed to be at the top of their game, and I laughed out loud throughout. And it made so much sense that Phil (Ty Burrell) would go ga-ga over the iPad that the fact it was product promotion almost seemed beside the point.
Even if one didn't presume an under-the-table deal between Apple and ABC, the story still worked. And so I don't have a problem with it. I'd rather see product placement on a good show than an absence of it on something lousy.