Wednesday, January 4, 2012

On Characters: Modern Family

I love Modern Family.

I'm not a huge TV watcher, but this is a show I can't pass up. It's absolutely hilarious. Husband and I recently got the first season (which we never saw, we got hooked when the show was in season two) and it's fantastic. The actors know their roles from the beginning. Humor ensues.

I realized that's what makes the show so great--the roles. The characters. There are a lot of characters in the show (11 main characters, if you count Lily), and yet each one is distinctly different from the other--without being absurd, and without being unbelievable. Eleven characters all in the same setting and same story, all unique.

That got me thinking. How hard is it to write 11 different main characters, let alone keep them all distinctly different? Many of which grew up in the same house, with the same families? And considering Modern Family doesn't have magic or fantastical whatnot to mold its people . . . dag--those are some savvy writers.

So I ask myself: how unique are my characters from one another? Fundamentally, in who they are, not just where they came from? If I were to rewrite my story giving everyone the same name and the same appearance, could I still tell one person from the next?

Something to keep in mind.


  1. Modern Family is hilarious. One of my favorite characters is Gloria.

  2. I don't get to watch much TV at all, but I loved catching episodes of Modern Family when I could.

    I love how some sterotypes are tweaked without being so "stereotypical" while giving viewers a chance to engage with each character as if they stood on their own, yet they weave it together so well. you've got me thinking about my characters.

    Got some re-reading to do on that MS.

  3. I've watched several episodes and couldn't figure out what the big hoola is all about.

    I guess the show just isn't white trash enough for my humor tastes.

    Married With Children... now that was a great show.

  4. I think characters are totally what make or break a story! I always wonder if mine are different enough from each other. It's a hard thing to do!

  5. I love Modern Family too--my husband and I find it hilarious. You and I must have been on the same wavelength or something with our two posts--as I was watching MF the other day, I was noticing how the characters were 1. in contrast with one another 2. ironic 3. over the top. Plus, conflict, conflict, conflict. Great writing in that show!