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Author Topic: Modern Family  (Read 285 times)
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giladcs

Bending Unit
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« on: 11-09-2013 00:46 »

I haven't seen a thread on this show; are there any fans of it here?  I've been catching it in reruns recently, and think it's actually a pretty good series.
Lost My Phone

Professor
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« Reply #1 on: 11-09-2013 01:29 »

Man, I used to love this show during its first season back in 2009/2010. I would watch it every week. It was one of my favorite shows. Then, as the show got older, the quality seemed to drop. Now I don't even watch it anymore.
Beamer

Space Pope
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« Reply #2 on: 11-09-2013 11:38 »

The first season was excellent, but it's been pretty mediocre ever since.
cyber_turnip

Urban Legend
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« Reply #3 on: 11-09-2013 13:55 »

I enjoyed the first two seasons - which are all I've seen, so far.

But I don't understand why this show is such a critics' darling. It's enjoyable but I'd only give the show a 7/10, overall. It has some great moments, but none of the characters do anything for me and the whole thing feels so made-by-committee - like an attempt to cash in on popular trends in comedy, just one that happened to turn out well, when they normally go bad.
tyraniak

Urban Legend
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« Reply #4 on: 11-09-2013 16:47 »

I've seen 2 or 3 episodes now and I honestly don't get the appeal
Super Hans

Bending Unit
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« Reply #5 on: 11-27-2013 12:38 »

I like it but not in the same league as shows like Always Sunny in Philly for me but better than most sitcoms out there. Shows that are media darlings that I don't get are Big Bang Theory, although I sometimes stop to watch it it when channel surfing because it has fit wimmin in it so maybe that's the secret of its success.
Beamer

Space Pope
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« Reply #6 on: 11-28-2013 01:44 »

It's reliable for a few chuckles every week, but it's so repetitive/formulaic and rarely ever rises above a level of "just good." I don't understand how it earns so much critical acclaim.

The Big Bang Theory is fucking awful, though. no no
cartoonlover27

Starship Captain
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« Reply #7 on: 11-28-2013 16:07 »

It's reliable for a few chuckles every week, but it's so repetitive/formulaic and rarely ever rises above a level of "just good." I don't understand how it earns so much critical acclaim.

The Big Bang Theory is fucking awful, though. no no

Really? Even though MF is good, I think BBT is way better, way funnier.
Lost My Phone

Professor
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« Reply #8 on: 11-28-2013 16:09 »
« Last Edit on: 11-28-2013 16:35 »

I liked The Big Bang Theory during its first three or so seasons, but it took a huge dip in quality somewhere around Season 4. I abandoned it years ago.

As for Modern Family, I think it went downhill around Season 3. I no longer watch MF either.
Xanfor

Moderator
DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #9 on: 11-28-2013 16:33 »

Current Big Bang Theory is better if you consider the characters not to be their own persons, but rather, allegories for the various aspects of the psyche of another person.

Plus, I just find it nice that there's a show where the science comic book jokes actually make sense.

Except for the ones about Aquaman. Aquaman does not suck. no no
JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #10 on: 11-28-2013 16:38 »

Beamer is absolutely right. I could go on listing the ways in which The Big Bang Theory is unfunny, but really all I have to say is that it has a laugh track, while Modern Family does not, making the latter inherently more watchable.
Xanfor

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« Reply #11 on: 11-28-2013 16:41 »

Big Bang Theory does not have a laugh track, and never has.

annoying_misconceptions--
JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #12 on: 11-28-2013 16:57 »

Just because it's filmed in front of a live audience doesn't mean that it doesn't use a laugh track in addition, as almost all sitcoms that are filmed in front of a live audience do. It's done for reasons of joke pacing and time-trimming, as studio audience laughter often goes too long. Even Seinfeld did this. If you've ever watched an episode of The Big Bang Theory (as I imagine you have) you should be able to tell when the laughter is actually from the audience and when they're using a stock laugh track, as it's pretty obvious if you use your ears.
Xanfor

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« Reply #13 on: 11-28-2013 17:08 »

Usually, sitcom laughter never bothers me as long as it's organic with the behavior of the actors. Note the difference between the early and later series of Red Dwarf -- when filmed before an audience, actors have to space their lines and interact with the audience for the sake of simply being heard (and occasionally lean on the fourth wall by working with the reaction in some way), while an externally-added laugh track has no effect on the cast at all, which makes the overall work sound mechanical and forced. Big Bang Theory has always appeared as the former to me, though I admit that the possibility of the laughter being enhanced by a track had not occurred to me as I had never considered the issue a problem.

Beamer

Space Pope
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« Reply #14 on: 11-28-2013 17:09 »

Just because it's filmed in front of a live audience doesn't mean that it doesn't use a laugh track in addition, as almost all sitcoms that are filmed in front of a live audience do. It's done for reasons of joke pacing and time-trimming, as studio audience laughter often goes too long. Even Seinfeld did this. If you've ever watched an episode of The Big Bang Theory (as I imagine you have) you should be able to tell when the laughter is actually from the audience and when they're using a stock laugh track, as it's pretty obvious if you use your ears.

 Exactly. Not to mention the copious editing that would inevitably occur with any actual laughter... Ever notice how even the weakest joke NEVER falls flat on these "live studio audience" shows?
Xanfor

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« Reply #15 on: 11-28-2013 17:22 »

Ever notice how even the weakest joke NEVER falls flat on these "live studio audience" shows?

Actually I've noticed the opposite. I've seen jokes fall flat quite a few times. The actors stop as though expecting laughter that never comes, and quickly continue with the scene after an awkward pause. It makes it feel almost as though you're witnessing an actual stage play.
totalnerduk

DOOP Ubersecretary
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« Reply #16 on: 11-28-2013 17:43 »
« Last Edit on: 11-28-2013 17:44 »

Just because it's filmed in front of a live audience doesn't mean that it doesn't use a laugh track in addition, as almost all sitcoms that are filmed in front of a live audience do.

Red Dwarf is, as Xanfor has pointed out, an excellent example of how this can be accomplished. Many segments of RD were pre-filmed, and then screened for a studio audience, in order to avoid using "canned laughter". When they were crawling around the gantries in the roof spaces of BBC Manchester and pretending it's part of a giant spaceship, they couldn't stick an audience in to watch, so they had to film it as a pre-recorded segment, and put it up on a big screen for the audience when filming the episode in front of them.

Laughter emitted by the audience at the appropriate time is recorded, and syncs up nicely with the action. Sometimes they'd have to edit it down to the right length, but they never used a laugh track that wasn't directly recorded in sync with the action until they stopped all of their filming in front of studio audiences.

Editing studio laughter isn't the same as using a stock laughter reel, and there have been shows that were entirely free of stock laughter. Some of them were produced by the BBC in the 1980s and early 90s.

Ever notice how even the weakest joke NEVER falls flat on these "live studio audience" shows?

One tactic that's been used to get audiences to laugh "on cue" (for example, when something has taken many takes to get right) is to have somebody direct their attention to something happening off-camera, or on a screen. When filming in front of a live audience, producers have a whole bag of tricks to make sure that they don't get a stunned silence at the wrong time. Although, as Xanfor points out, it can happen and may simply be accepted if there's a bigger payoff coming or it's not a good point to cut the scene and start over with a new take.

When a show says they don't use a laughter reel, it's probably true. It's something that's seen as one of the marks of a higher-end production (and therefore seen as desirable), to use a studio audience and not rely on putting in the laughter afterwards. They might edit the recorded laughter a little (it's usually recorded onto a separate track in order to allow the producers to fade in/out if required), but it's "genuine laughter", even if not at what's actually happening in front of the viewer.

With that said, I don't rate TBBT very highly as entertainment. Modern Family was alright when it began, but lost something somewhere along the way. I'd take reruns of the first six seasons of Red Dwarf over either of them.
JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #17 on: 11-28-2013 17:46 »

I don't think Modern Family is that amazing, but I do find the characters endearing to an extent and think it has decent pacing and situational humor.

The Big Bang Theory, on the other hand, consists of obnoxious stereotypes and humor that relies on forced references that feel researched rather than organic.
Beamer

Space Pope
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« Reply #18 on: 11-28-2013 17:54 »

TNUK - That's true, though I think the way they do things on Red Dwarf and that of a mainstream American sit-com may differ slightly. For instance, the US has much tighter regulations on programming runtime, and as such, I'd wager that a lot more of it comes down to the editing room than the average viewer perceives (not to mention how easy it would be to trim/extend the audience reactions, splice in alternate takes at will, etc.).

As for the shows at hand, The Big Bang Theory is still a typical, cliched sit-com masquerading as something smarter due to the fact that it has the occasional "science joke." Modern Family is also highly formulaic, though the mockumentary format isn't quite as worn-out as the multi-camera sit-com, and can lend itself to experimentation/more creative avenues if utilised properly (which the show did tremendously in its first season, though this has since become increasingly sparse).

TBBT also has the added sore points of having a seriously annoying cast, not to mention being produced by one of the worst show-runners in television history. Though that's my own personal bias seeping in. tongue
Xanfor

Moderator
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« Reply #19 on: 11-28-2013 17:55 »

The Big Bang Theory, on the other hand, consists of obnoxious stereotypes and humor that relies on forced references that feel researched rather than organic.

I don't think you'll find many here arguing against that. You might find a few that occasionally enjoy that sort of humor, but few that deny its presence.
Beamer

Space Pope
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« Reply #20 on: 11-28-2013 17:58 »

I'm pretty sure Chuck Lorre just saw an episode of The I.T. Crowd and went "Hey, let's do that!"
totalnerduk

DOOP Ubersecretary
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« Reply #21 on: 11-28-2013 18:13 »

TNUK - That's true, though I think the way they do things on Red Dwarf and that of a mainstream American sit-com may differ slightly.

Yeah, those wacky USAliens do things their own way a lot of the time. But whatever tricks people employ to be able to claim one thing or another at the end of it, we all need to remember that all of television is a manipulation of our willing suspension of disbelief, and that even the news programming needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.

I'm pretty sure Chuck Lorre just saw an episode of The I.T. Crowd and went "Hey, let's do that!"

That's another programme I find obnoxious for the same reasons that I find TBBT obnoxious. Although to a lesser degree, it's still about laughing at the protagonists and what they represent rather than laughing with them, or feeling sympathetic towards them.

Modern Family is arguably a better show than either TBBT or TIC, as formulaic and blandly-entertaining-at-best as it might be.
giladcs

Bending Unit
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« Reply #22 on: 11-28-2013 18:24 »

I haven't watched Modern Family from its beginning, only in reruns (and had never seen an episode before that), so I can't judge it by season. I wouldn't say it's the best show, but find it at least somewhat above the wasteland TV has become (true, it's always been that, but has become even more so the last few years).  
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