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Family Redefines Fall TV

Shutterstock (4), FOX, ABC, NBC (2)

The show: “Modern Family” (ABC)

Though “Modern Family” started out being lauded for its depictions of different types of parents – stepfathers, gay dads and the nuclear family – it quickly moved away from those themes and has since evolved into a show about how familial bonds require constant maintenance, but the joy they bring is worth the effort. As often happens with quality ensemble comedies, new comic opportunities are mined by pairing characters in all sorts of combinations to see what stories can be told. With “Family,” entering its fourth season, the result of this is that we see members of an extended family striving to create bonds with people they could just as easily keep at arm’s length – for example Claire (Julie Bowen) and Gloria (Sofia Vergara) who have slowly built a relationship in spite of Gloria having married Claire’s much older father. The Pritchett-Dunphy-Tucker-Delgado clan is not unique just because of its diversity. Their true uniqueness lies in their collective ability to iron out their issues and lean on each other, no matter how frustrating it can sometimes be.

The takeaway: Family works if you work it, and it’s worth it.