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Some television shows lead a double life of sorts, appealing massively to critics or fans, but leaving the other group cold. “The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd,” for example, lived its relatively short life in the bright sunshine of critical acclaim, but viewers never really warmed to its idiosyncrasies. “Married With Children,” on the other hand, gained a huge fan following during its Fox heyday, but it was a critic’s nightmare of stilted lines, garish set design and outrageous situations. Luckily for Ed O’Neill, who played the hapless Al Bundy, his current sitcom seems to have the Midas touch across the board. On June 6, the candidates for the first ever Critics Choice Awards were announced, and ABC’s hit “Modern Family” emerged as the leader among all shows with six total nominations. This news continues a trend of prestigious awards for the show on the heels of another season of big ratings.
Most recently seen scoring the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, the cast of “Modern Family” stands to pick up a lot more hardware when the Critics Choice Awards show unfolds on June 20. In true ensemble fashion, Ty Burrell, O’Neill and Eric Stonestreet are all vying for the Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series award, while Julie Bowen and Sofia Vergara are nominated for the Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series honor. The show itself is also among the contenders for the title of Best Comedy Series.
It seems a little strange that none of these actors was nominated as a leading man or lady, but it makes perfect sense when you step back and think about it. The chemistry and hilarity of this sitcom could not be exactly duplicated without each of these characters, or without the show’s other roles that didn’t quite make the Critics Choice cut. Although some of the personalities are more prominent than others, it’s just about impossible to pick out the stars from the rest of the cast. In that sense, they all become supporting actors and actresses, building up a truly funny show and allowing it to reach new heights.
The summer television hiatus doesn’t provide many opportunities for fans to get a dose of their favorite shows, but it’s a good time to catch some reruns and rediscover why we love our sitcoms in the first place. In the case of “Modern Family,” we can also watch with an appreciation for the exemplary work being turned in by this comedy team on a weekly basis and know that the critics, at least for once, seem to agree with us.