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Modern Family: The Complete Third Season(TV) (2011-2012)
Join TV’s #1 family for another hilarious and refreshingly original season of Modern Family, winner of eleven Emmy® Awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series two years in a row! As the extended Pritchett/Dunphy clan faces an uproariously unpredictable array of family vacations, holiday hassles, troublesome in-laws, and surprising secrets, they still somehow manage to thrive together as one big, loving family — even as they drive each other absolutely insane! Season Three features a hilarious gag reel and never-before-seen couch confessions that will make you laugh out loud and remind you why viewers and critics alike have fallen in love with this thoroughly Modern Family.
For more about Modern Family: The Complete Third Season and the Modern Family: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray release, see Modern Family: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray Review published by Casey Broadwater on September 19, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Ed O'Neill, Sofía Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Eric Stonestreet, Jesse Tyler Ferguson
Directors: Michael Spiller, Jason Winer, Gail Mancuso, Chris Koch (I), Beth McCarthy-Miller, Fred Savage
» See full cast & crew
Modern Family: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray Review
Comfortable and comforting, but still funny in season three.
Reviewed by Casey Broadwater, September 19, 2012
In nearly every sitcom's life there comes a time when it settles into a comfortable, predictable routine. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially not in the case of Modern Family, which—in its third season—is a bit like a thirtysomething parent, buckling down and preparing for the future. It takes fewer risks and goes with what works. It uses its talents and budget wisely. It's grown up a little but still enjoys juvenile laughs. By this point, Modern Family really is family for us fans who've been around since the season one premiere, and there's something to be said for knowing these characters so well that we can now guess how they'll react in just about any situation. Case in point: Mitchell will roll his eyes at least once in every scene where Cam mentions clowning. Gloria will coo and fuss over Manny at any opportunity. And Phil is practically obligated to embarrass his wife and daughters—and himself—whenever possible. While this sense of familiarity could potentially backfire—just look at how boring The Office has become in its last few seasons—Modern Family's writers have kept the show pretty consistently witty and fun over 72 episodes and counting.
If you're new to the show and have no clue who I'm talking about above, a get-you-up-to-speed recap is in order. The mockumentary-style series is based on the premise that while the nuclear family—mom and dad and 2.5 kids—is still the norm, the times they certainly are a changin'. "One big (straight, gay, multi-cultural, traditional) happy family" is the tagline here, and the show follows three diverse units within the extended Pritchett family, presided over by the loveably curmudgeonly patriarch Jay Pritchett, played by Married with Children's Ed O'Neill. In his sixties, Jay is on his second marriage, adjusting to life with his new and much-much-younger wife, Gloria (Sophia Vergara), a voluptuous Columbian immigrant nearly half his age. Her son from a previous relationship, Manny (Rico Rodriguez), is a precocious middle schooler with a taste for the finer things, and Jay doesn't quite know what to do with him.
The grump with a heart of gold has an even more awkward relationship with own grown son, Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), a gay environmental lawyer who's prim, mildly neurotic, and in a longterm relationship with his comparatively flamboyant partner, Cam (Eric Stonestreet), a former birthday party clown—and the overweight Hardy to Mitch's skinny Laurel—who's now something of a stay-at-home "mom" to their adopted Vietnamese daughter, Lily. There's always some tension between the two since Mitchell is more professionally accomplished—causing Cam to exert his masculine side, or try to—but they're perfect for one another in an Odd Couple way, and arguably the show's two funniest characters.
Finally, the traditional family is represented by the Dunphys, real estate agent Phil (Ty Burrell), a dad who perpetually tries too hard to be "cool," and his wife, Claire (Julie Bowen)—Jay's daughter—a helicopter mom who struggles to keep her easily distracted hubby in line along with their three teenagers. High school senior Haley (Sarah Hyland) is a total airhead, while her younger sister Alex (Ariel Winter) has all the brains. Their kid bro, Luke (Nolan Gould), is still at an age where he idolizes his dad, and they're often off doing dumb father/son stuff in the backyard while Claire hounds the girls to do chores.
Although you'll probably get more enjoyment out of the series if you start at season one and work your way forward, don't be afraid to jump right into season three. There are some overarching storylines here—Claire running for city councilwoman, Cam and Mitchell planning to adopt another child, Haley applying for college—but by and large the show is very self-contained, with each episode offering up one or more situational conflicts that are tidily resolved by the 20-minute mark. (Sometimes too tidily. If the show has one flaw, it's that most of the episodes end with saccharine lesson learning and hugs.) The writers are adept at keeping the characters in motion. Nearly every episode features three distinct subplots—one for each family—and they're often braided together cleverly, allowing for lots of interaction between family members. Phil is always trying to impress Jay. Mitchell bonds with Gloria in a way he never did with his sister. Luke and Manny get in all kinds of misadventures.
Expect a few slow episodes, particularly later in the season, but the good ones far outnumber the bad. (Actually, bad is the wrong word. There's not a truly bad one in the bunch.) There are two entertaining "outings" this year that take the cast away from their usual household settings. The season premiere finds the whole clan going on vacation to a dude ranch in Wyoming—watch out for Tim Blake Nelson as a cowboy with eyes for Gloria—and a day trip to Disneyland in the 22nd episode finds Jay tearing up at the animatronic Abraham Lincoln. In between, there are fuzzy-wuzzy holiday specials—a "punkin chunkin" Thanksgiving and a very hectic Christmas—and numerous episodes that cast a comedic glow on day-to-day domesticity. Claire finally gets on Facebook and is puzzled by why her daughters won't accept her friend requests. Phil gets shocked by a taser in a Craigslist transaction gone awry. Mitchell and Cam freak out when Lily starts dropping F-bombs. Jay takes a baby aspirin—Mitchell tells him it's Ecstasy —and works up the nerve to go salsa dancing with Gloria. So it goes.
The cast is uniformly great, and there are a few excellent guest spots this year as well, including Greg Kinnear as one of Phil's clients and Arrested Development's David Cross as Claire's political rival. Speaking of Arrested Development and rivalries, Modern Family may not have the edgy humor and non-sequitur weirdness of the infamously cancelled Fox series—which is coming back next year for a Netflix-produced fourth season—but it is more of a mirror of contemporary American family culture. Safe? Sure. Comfortable? Absolutely. But there are few sitcoms more relatable.
Modern Family: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, Video Quality
If you've purchased and watched the season one and season two sets, Modern Family's season three Blu-ray presentation will come as no surprise. And that's a very good thing. Why fix what's not broken? Once again, the show—which is shot natively on high definition video—transitions easily into 1080p/AVC-encoded digital-to-digital transfers for each episode, transfers that are a bit cleaner and less prone to compression bottleneck problems than a 1080i cable signal. The series has a realistic but still-punchy color palette that's handled perfectly here, with consistent skin tones, strong primaries, and even-keeled contrast, all coming together for an image with good dimensionality for a TV production. The level of clarity is almost always impressive too; there are some occasional soft shots due to the handheld camerawork, but the picture is usually vivid with fine detail and defined textures. I've said it before—you'd really have to scrounge to come up with any real complaints here. Increasingly, however, the question is whether it's worth buying the Blu-ray set—that is, paying a premium for marginally better picture quality and a few bonus features—when you can stream the show for free on Hulu.
Modern Family: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are no real changes to the show's sound design either. The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround sound presentation is as front-heavy and dialogue-driven as it's been for the past two seasons, and that's perfectly fine for this type of family comedy. There's really need for cross-channel whiz- bang sound effects, so the rear speakers are used—when they are used—for quiet environmental noise, like the chatter inside a college student union building or the sounds of shopping in a Target superstore. The show's inspirational musical cues border on saccharine at times, but they sound clean and rich, and often utilize the full soundfield as well. Not much to say here, really. No hisses, drop-outs, pops, or other audio-quirks worth noting. For those that need or want them, the discs include optional English SDH, Spanish, and French subtitles, which appear in easy-to-read white lettering.
Modern Family: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Modern Family: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
There are a few borderline dull episodes late in the season, but for the most part, Modern Family holds itself to its own high standards in the show's third year, with sharp writing, lovable/relatable characters, and a lot of laughs. Hardcore fans probably already have 3-disc Blu-ray set added to their Amazon carts, but the question here for more casual viewers—considering you can stream the show for free on Hulu—is whether or not it's worth paying a premium for marginally better picture quality, lossless audio, and a small collection of special features that you'll probably only watch once. Decisions, decisions. Whatever you choose, Modern Family is one of the few family-oriented sitcoms right now worth watching. Recommended!
Modern Family: Other Seasons
Modern Family: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray, News and Updates
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