Modern Family keeps the tradition

Premiere makes for a promising season

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The Spectrum

Grade: B

Modern Family kicks off its second season with more of the dysfunction and insanity that audiences fell in love with last year.

The three generations of the Pritchett/Dunphy family returned to television Wednesday night with the same crazy antics that fans saw last season. This modern family still has a bit of everything in it with the defining characteristic being madness.

It seems as if the characters are even more comfortable this time around, which should make the show more entertaining and create endless possibilities for the creators to explore.

The premiere kept up the high standard that the first season set, but it also had a surprisingly serious side to it. At times, the characters got a little emotional, (albeit in some rather ridiculous situations) but that's what Modern Family is all about. The show flawlessly integrates absurdity with reality.

The episode focuses a surprising amount of sentimentality on the two mothers in the show, Claire (Julie Bowen, Crazy on the Outside) and Gloria (Sofia Vergara, Madea Goes to Jail), but, in standard fashion, does it in an outrageously exaggerated way.

Claire indulges in a healthy dose of nostalgia, longing for the days when her children were simply children and continues to have enough neuroses for the entire network of ABC. This season, she seems to be even more of an unstable ball of stress and emotions that is ready to go off at any moment, escalating ridiculous situations to even greater heights.

Meanwhile, Gloria has to watch Manny (Rico Rodriguez, Opposite Day), her smooth-talking lady-killer of a son, attempt to work his 12-year-old game on a young, dominant girl. Gloria immediately gets jealous that her little boy's affections are being drawn elsewhere and perfectly portrays the over-the-top, intense Columbian mother/wife while passive-aggressively battling a preteen girl.

The episode addresses the diversity of the "modern family" with the hilarious juxtaposition of partners Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Ugly Betty) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet, Father vs. Son) next to Mitch's father, Jay (Ed O'Neill, Redbelt), who is the stereotypical experienced old man.

Similar to some of the plotlines seen in the first season, Mitch feels that he must assert his manliness in his own right. Never content to stay within the bounds of his skill set, he sets off on the noble mission of assembling a princess castle for his adopted daughter and sacrifices his dignity in the process.

It isn't the funniest episode of Modern Family that has been made to date, but it is a more than adequate start to a promising second season. With any luck, the next episode can continue to build off of the great foundation and huge following that the first season established.

Anyone who was worried that Modern Family might fade into obscurity will definitely be satisfied with the strong start to this season.