Why Does the LA Times Hate ‘Modern Family’?

The paper takes a big swipe at ABC’s comedy hit, declaring parts of the show “tired.” We strongly disagree

Last Updated: December 13, 2009 @ 1:15 PM

 "Modern Family" is one of the most acclaimed half-hour comedies to debut on a broadcast network in quite some time. Plus, actual viewers are watching it, judging by the very solid ratings.

The love for "MF" doesn’t extend to the grumpy folks at the LA Times Calendar section. The grinches at the paper apparently got annoyed at the virtually universal love for the show and decided to knock it down a few pegs in Sunday’s paper.

The Times included "MF" in the "Overrated" section of its weekly "Underrated/Overrated" column, suggesting the Steve Levitan/Christopher Lloyd series just isn’t as good as the classic comedies of the past.

Because, really, if you’re not as good as "All in the Family" or "Seinfeld," really, why even bother?

Here’s what the paper said, in full:

Having been raised on classic sitcoms, we’re always curious when a show earns talk for upholding the tradition. But this ABC newcomer still needs improvement. As much as we love seeing Ed O’Neill at his cranky best as the show’s patriarch, many jokes for his young Latin spouse and his daughter’s clueless husband feel tired. And can we give the faux-documentary style a rest, please?

Look, there’s nothing wrong with dissenting opinions. But the Times’ slapping of "MF" feels a bit strained, as if the paper simply wanted to be contrarian.

What’s most annoying about the three-sentence dis is that the Times doesn’t really back its anti-"MF" sentiment with any significant (or logical) evidence to support its critique.

Take the complaint that "many jokes" for the characters played by Sofia Vergara and Ty Burrell "feel tired." Well, OK, Vergara’s character hasn’t been as fleshed out as some others on the show, but you’re going to slam an entire series– one with a large ensemble– because you don’t really dig one or two characters?

We’re not even going to try to respond to the critique of Burrell, since we’re of the opinion that you have to be completely humor-challenged not to appreciate the brilliance of his subversion of the Hapless Sitcom Dad archetype.

Then there’s the tut-tutting of producers’ decision to shoot "MF" as a mockumentary.

Really? Only three network shows use the style, and "MF" does it so subtly you often forget there’s supposed to be a camera crew following these people. That’s hardly a reason to declare a show "overrated."

Despite appearances, nobody’s paying us to defend "Modern Family." It’s completely understandable that some folks might not find the show all that funny. Humor is very subjective, after all, as proven by the fact that "According to Jim" lasted many, many seasons (sorry, Mr. Belushi).

But with so much truly over-hyped entertainment out there, it’s a shame the LA Times felt the need to so casually dismiss one of the most original and well-written half-hours to emerge in years.