One of the most popular and critically acclaimed comedies on television right now is Modern Family (9 p.m. Wednesdays, ABC).
It makes sense — the show is progressive enough to explore gay relationships, adoption and mixed families without preaching or alienating old-school viewers. The characters are great, the writing produces both laugh-out-loud and touching moments, and the audience receives plenty of nods in the form of running jokes and subtle references. So why am I just now discovering the show?
As the show selections in this column will suggest, I’m far from a TV snob, but I had my preconceived judgments about Modern Family without having ever really watched. The show and its actors are always nominated at awards shows when other more out-of-the-box comedies deserve some accolades. Sofia Vergara seems like a walking stereotype in real life — not just as Gloria. The title itself kind of irked me, like it was so obviously trying to pull in viewers who would remark, “That family is just like ours!” Fans of the show even have their own annoying nickname a la Beliebers: “Mofys.”
But when USA started running reruns on weeknights when Law and Order: Special Victims Unit would usually run (you caught me!), I started watching and soon discovered what all the hype was about. Accessible isn’t always a bad thing! Now in its fifth season, the Pritchett-Dunphy fam has grown — and so has its audience.
This week’s ep is sure to be a high point of the season — it’s the holiday episode, directed by Bryan Cranston. As Mitchell searches for the perfect gift, Cam teaches Lily the true meaning of Christmas at a charity drive (while accidentally ripping off said charity). Jay and Manny embark on a Christmas tree-chopping trip; Gloria’s mother visits; and Phil desperately tries to reach his holiday fitness goal.
If you’ve been a Mofy in the dark, too, catch up on old episodes every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 9 p.m. on USA. Never a network to shy away from themed series marathons, USA will air a Law and Order: SVU Modern Family Guest Stars Marathon beginning at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
WEDNESDAY DEC. 11
American Horror Story: Coven (10 p.m., FX) – In the final episode of the year, Cordelia’s vision is restored and her attacker is revealed. Fiona turns to Marie Laveau for a truce. Nan learns about Luke’s certifiably messed up past. Coven returns Jan. 8.
How I Rock It (10 p.m., Esquire) – Get stylish with classic car connoisseur Jonathan Ward, Air Jordan designer Tinker Hatfield, Hip Hop producer 88-Keys and Boardwalk Empire’s Lucky Luciano, Vincent Piazza.
Alternate Route (10:30 p.m., Esquire) – A backwoods roadtrip through the Florida Everglades.
THURSDAY DEC. 12
Project Runway All-Stars (9 p.m., Lifetime) – The final six visit QVC HQ and design red carpet gowns (somehow the two are related). Original all-star Mondo Guerra and Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) guest-judge.
Parenthood (10 p.m., NBC) – Relationships are on the rocks this week. The Braverman-Grahams reach their breaking point — and Julie seeks comfort from Ed. Amber turns to her family after Ryan’s arrest. Drew turns to Crosby for girl advice.
SATURDAY DEC. 14
Saturday Night Live (11:30 p.m., NBC) – John Goodman hosts for the 13th time; Kings of Leon perform.
SUNDAY DEC. 15
Homeland (Season Finale, 9 p.m., Showtime) – Brody seeks some kind of redemption in this third season finale. With whom — his family, Carrie, Abu Nazir’s wife — remains a mystery. He and Carrie must escape Iran, forcing Saul to execute a last-minute rescue mission.
Psych: The Musical (9 p.m., USA) – Shawn and Gus get the song-and-dance treatment.
Masters of Sex (Season Finale, 10 p.m., Showtime) – Masters presents his study findings to the hospital, but receives a vastly discouraging response. Libby’s due date looms; Scully considers electroshock therapy as a last-ditch effort to save his marriage.
Ja’mie: Private School Girl (10:30 p.m., HBO) – Just when Ja’mie’s relationship with Mitchell seems to be perfect, the new beau dumps her for Madison, Ja’mie’s BFF.