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‘Modern Family: The Complete First Season’

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By Nancy Ford

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what makes Modern Family so dominatingly successful and appealing. Sure, ABC’s multi-Emmy-winning ensemble comedy series is honest, and funny, and cleverly written, but so are many other less loyalty-provoking series in the current primetime lineup. Okay, maybe not many series…

Is our favorite Family member the addled, focus-challenged son-in-law Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell)? Or is it Phil’s wife and hot mom of three, Claire Dunphy (Julie Bowen), who has developed considerable comedy chops since her stint as a hot young attorney on Boston Legal? Or is it Claire’s even hotter, even younger stepmother Gloria Delgado Pritchett (Sofía Vergara), whose portrayal has done more than Charo to shatter-yet-simultaneously-perpetuate the stereotype of Latinas as hot tamales?

Maybe it’s Gloria’s son, the super-suave Mannie Delgado (Rico Rodriguez) who rivals the Dos Equis guy as the most interesting man on earth. Or maybe it’s Mannie’s stepfather, Jay Pritchett (Ed O’Neill), the dry-as-dust patriarch of the clan who is fiercely protective of his brood.

ABC’s Modern Family redefines the concept of “family” with truth and humor.

Or is it Jay’s son-in-law, the perfectly gay (but not in a “Jack McFarland” way) Cameron Tucker, played by straight Eric Stonestreet? Or is it Cam’s tightly wound partner, Mitchell Pritchett (Jesse Tyler Ferguson)? Together, their portrayal of a same-sex couple raising their adopted Vietnamese daughter has done more to illustrate the normalcy, if you will, of the gay family than all of those “Where’s the kiss?” whiners combined.

Ultimately, just like our mothers always told us, we love each MF’er—with their individual characters’ easily recognizable strengths, weaknesses, triumphs, and endless faux pas—equally. Just differently.

The set features all 23 episodes from the series’ first season (including “Hawaii,” possibly a 21st century tip-o’-the-hat to the legendary vacation taken by television’s first modern family, The Brady Bunch) plus deleted, extended, and alternate scenes, and more. 20th Century Fox (www.fox.com).

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