MODERN FAMILY Sneak Peek: Cam and Mitchell Get Blindsided and Luke Runs for President

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Cam pulls a little “Blind Side” action in this week’s all new MODERN FAMILY. When he learns that his star football player is set to move in the middle of the season, Cam makes a rash decision and invites him to live at his house. When he brings the proposal to Mitchell, Mitchell says no. Unfortunately, Cam already promised the kid he would have a place to stay. Awk-ward.

Elsewhere, Luke’s principal tells Luke and Claire that he has terrible test scores, so he’ll need really good extra-cirriculars if he has any hope of getting into college. Luke decides to run for senior class president, but this pitts him against Manny, who desperately wants to win the election. Gloria and Jay try to convince Luke to let Manny have this one and not run, but Claire and Luke decide to throw his hat into the ring. This means war between the Dunphys and the Pritchett’s as Claire, Gloria and Jay act as campaign managers for their respective children.

Finally, Phil insists on helping Hayley now that she’s started her own promotion business. He wants to introduce her to marketing guru Merv Schechter (played by Martin Short), who “hasn’t seen a stress ball he can’t slap a logo on yet.”

A new episode of MODERN FAMILY airs tonight (October 5) at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

MODERN FAMILY Season 8 Teasers: After the Vacation

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Each of the  families parted ways on the season 7 finale of MODERN FAMILY, heading off to their own separate vacation. But when the show returns, everyone the Pritchett and Dunphy families will reunite back home in Los Angeles.

According to ABC, here is what’s in store for the show in the upcoming season:

After summer vacations take the Dunphys to New York; Mitch, Cam and Lily to the Midwest; and Jay, Gloria, Manny and Joe to Juarez, Mexico; the Pritchett-Dunphy-Tucker clan reunites in its eighth season premiere with all of the families converging at home for Father’s Day. In subsequent episodes, as Claire struggles to keep order at the company with Jay back in the fold at Pritchett’s Closets, Phil starts to enjoy more hobbies. Gloria’s hot sauce business starts to pick up steam, while Mitch and Cam continue to see a parade of interesting guests in their upstairs rental unit, and also deal with their maturing tween, Lily.

Meanwhile, Haley changes jobs and starts down a new entrepreneurial path, focusing on her career in attempt to balance out her wobbly romantic life, and Alex learns to keep her life balanced at Caltech, including dealing with a considerable bout of mononucleosis. Manny and Luke fumble through their freedom-filled senior year of high school but feel the pressure of college approaching, complete with a joint college visit.

Halloween and New Year’s Eve episodes will punctuate a season that continues to watch this wonderfully large and blended family evolve, giving us an honest and often hilarious look into the warm and sometimes twisted embrace of the modern family.

MODERN FAMILY returns for its eighth season on Wednesday, September 21 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

MODERN FAMILY Commentary: More Commercials, Less Fulfilling

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It was around 2012 that I first noticed the difference. I had heard around that time that producers were being forced to cut some time out of that allotted for story telling to make more room for commercials. You might not think that a minute and a half or two would make a lot of difference in a half-hour show, but you might be wrong.

ABC’s MODERN FAMILY has been one of the most popular American sitcoms in recent times. It has, until recently, yearly come up for Emmy nominations and wins. The comedy has been witty, the writing has been excellent, and the acting has been stellar. From its beginning there was a pace in the show that allowed a progression from situation setup to comedic punchline that was natural and fun. It was as slick as slipping a size six foot into a size six and a half glass slipper. Then something changed. That was around 2012.

I noticed that the characters, after building through the setup, suddenly sped to the punchline. There was no more easy progression, it was a rushed set more akin to a Vaudeville lineup where there are too many acts, too few minutes, and the cops were expected to raid the theater at any minute. All that interesting plot setup only to quickly slap the viewer in the face with a slam-bam-thank-you-ma’am joke and then swiftly move you on to the next plot setup. The show lost its timing and, thus, its mojo, so to speak.

I watch other sitcoms and they don’t seem to have this same problem. CBS’s new sitcom LIFE IN PIECES easily and breezily fits in four segments plus commercials, and although they leave you breathless with their speed, you don’t feel like you’ve just been dragged through the circus side show. CBS’s THE BIG BANG THEORY, which has been on air longer than has MODERN FAMILY, doesn’t seem to have suffered the same pacing problem. It remains funny without you feeling rushed. Same with ABC’s recent hit sitcoms THE GOLDBERGS and BLACKISH. Maybe the thing here is, these two didn’t have an established pace to adjust.

MODERN FAMILY began airing in the fall of 2009, when, according to one source, television programs were about 30 percent commercials. The percentage of commercial time has varied over the years, but during the time of MODERN FAMILY’S run it peaked at 33 percent in 2012. According to most sources, the average sitcom runs about 22 minutes, and the format of four to eight characters, three acts with one main plot and two subplots, a teaser opening and an epilogue or closing are standard. Still another source looked at the jokes per minute in American sitcoms, with MODERN FAMILY coming in toward the bottom at 5.68, just under THE BIG BANG THEORY (5.80) and just above FRASIER (4.09). Those are a mixture of the old and more recent sitcoms with established records to compare.

Every sitcom is a bit different. They depend on whether they are single-camera or multiple camera shows, which affects their flexibility in shooting scenes, shots, and locations. Also important are the number of characters in a show. As I said in the paragraph above, they average between four and eight, with FRASIER having four main characters, THE BIG BANG THEORY having seven main characters, but MODERN FAMILY having twelve!

So after all that data, here is my point: Yes, we need advertising to pay for the free television we all enjoy. But the push to add more profits has taken its toll on at least one program, and that is MODERN FAMILY. What was once a well-oiled comedy machine has found a size 2 sabot shoved into its gears, one that is unfortunately just big enough to ruin its pace and its flow and its soul. I often can’t bear to watch as the actors stumble over lines to fit the joke into the otherwise well-choreographed setup, the viewer trying to catch their breath as the next set of actors set up the next sting. And I’m sad that what was a really funny show for me has become more of a joke for the way commercialization has turned the show into the tail that wags the dog.

I am encouraged that this turn for the worse has so far apparently not affected other sitcoms. But with the number of 30-second commercials falling in favor of more 15-second commercials to pump up profits as one source noted, shoeing in more and more of them will surely cut even more time from the story line and one day even the most stalwart sitcoms will succumb to the same challenge of telling a good story in a shorter amount of time.

Photo of the Day: MODERN Guest Star!

With television talent both in front and behind the camera making a habit of tweeting photos ranging from spoilerific to hilarious, theTVaddict.com thought it might be fun to introduce a new feature to the site that we’ve not-so-cleverly decided to call “Photo of the Day.” Today’s subject, courtesy of MODERN FAMILY member Nolan Gould (@nolan_gould) comes a sneak peek at an upcoming guest star! Tweeted Gould, “Jesse Eisenberg’s going to be on an episode of Modern Family! I wonder what I’ll look like in 10 years…”

Morning Static: MAD MEN, NCIS, MODERN FAMILY & More!

• Mark Your Calendars: Your Fall TV 2013 Primetime Calendar: Print and Download Here!
• Funny Business: USA Plans Unprecedented Syndication Rollout for MODERN FAMILY.
• Pilot Watch: ABC Family, Jamie Lee Curtis Team for Horror Drama Project.
• That’s What the Money’s For!; or, What Is Going On At AMC?
• NCIS INTEL: SOPRANOS Alum Eyed as Ziva’s Successor, Debut Set For November.
• Post Mortem: Suits Boss on Harvey’s Emotional Declaration, Louis’ Surprise Discovery and More.
• MODERN FAMILY Expands: Meet Cam’s Sister!.
• For TV Shows, It’s a Seller’s Market
• Trailer Park: MTV Releases New ‘Awkward’ Season 3 Fall Trailer.
• Another Point for Canada: Syfy Acquires Werewolf Drama Series BITTEN From eOne.
• Final season of ‘Mad Men’ to be split in half, air in 2014 and 2015.
• COVERT AFFAIRS Bosses on Deadly Finale: “Everything Is Different Now”
• Deal of the Day: HUGE Savings on THE TUDORS and THE BORGIAS on DVD via Amazon.

Today’s TV Addict Top 5: Second Bananas We Love!

Everyone loves a winner. But here at theTVaddict.com, we tend to favor the also-rans. You know, the people who never quite get to steal the spotlight, yet somehow manage to make off with our hearts. Here are a few we can’t help loving!

Bullet, THE KILLING
While we have an awful suspicion that things won’t end well for the intriguing, androgynous chick played by Bex Taylor-Klaus in her attention-grabbing debut role, Holder’s unlikely little buddy has shot to the top of our list where scene stealers are concerned! [Read more…]

Photo of the Day: A CLASSy Reunion

With television talent both in front and behind the camera making a habit of tweeting photos ranging from spoilerific to hilarious, theTVaddict.com thought it might be fun to introduce a new feature to the site that we’ve not-so-cleverly decided to call “Photo of the Day.” Today’s subject, courtesy of MODERN FAMILY star Jesse Tyler Ferguson (@jessetyler) comes an unexpected red carpet reunion in celebration of tietheknot.org. Tweeted Ferguson, “I’m still so in love with my “Class” mates! Thank you @JasonRitter, Andrea Anders, Lizzy Caplan & Lucy Punch for comin…”