The Idiot Boksen - Week 4

Photo by burningkarma, Flickr
  • Photo by burningkarma, Flickr
I like Modern Family a great deal. I think it's funny and clever and the characters are well-developed. That is not a pun about Sofia Vergara.

But I'm not entirely sure why it's widely regarded as the greatest sitcom ever right now. It's mockumentary style is a decade after that format's prime. It wraps each episode in a Full House-style watered-down lesson. It blatantly panders to base male instincts through all of its female characters except Alex, sort of like I did by including a picture of Gloria at the top of this post. Plus, Modern Family is commonly compared to Arrested Development, which makes no sense. The whole point of Arrested Development was that no one learned any lessons. Ever.

While all of these aspects of Modern Family bug me, I also recognize they're what makes the show so popular. There's something for everyone. There's the gruff, stubborn patriarch. The goofy, tech-obsessed dad. The non-threatening, asexual gay couple. The Asian baby. The charmingly violent Latina sex symbol. The bratty adolescent sex symbol. The type-A, housewife sex symbol. Manny. The dumb kid who you just know is going to be a rehab mainstay 12 years from now. The only demographic not covered is African-Americans. It is to Modern Family's creators' and writers' credit the show is so widely appealing and hilarious, because that is no simple feat. 15 years ago, I doubt anyone would've predicted the third most popular show among Republicans would prominently feature a gay couple raising a baby together. It's impossible not to like, and as I said at the top of this column, I like it a great deal.

Modern Family is not the best sitcom on TV, though. That's my point. I'll get to what is in a minute, right after I talk about other stuff you should watch this week.

All times Arizona

Onion News Network - Friday, Jan. 28. 10 p.m. on IFC

Is any creative project anywhere as consistently great as The Onion? ONN is excellent. SportsDome is excellent. Their website, which has been around since 1996, constantly has the best satire and funniest writing anywhere on the internet. Their only theoretical misstep was The Onion Movie, which was abhorrent, but even that was released straight to DVD a year after The Onion officially denounced it.

The closest comedy icon in terms of consistency would have to be The Simpsons, but everyone knows they have their bad years. Anyway, here was a great clip from last week's debut of ONN. I love Today Now!

Firefighter Died To Save Unimpressive Teen

Portlandia - Friday, Jan. 28. 10:30 p.m. on IFC

Tonight includes a guest appearance by Portland's actual mayor, who isn't all that popular, even with folks in Portland's music scene. He plays a mayoral aide. Don't expect any Beau Breedlove jokes.

The Onion SportsDome - Tuesday, Feb. 1. 10:30 p.m. on Comedy Central.

Hot damn, this show is amazing.

Modern Family - Wednesday, Feb. 2. 9 p.m. on ABC.

Forget all that nitpicky criticism I wrote earlier. This show is terrific. Don't let the Republicans take it over completely!

American Idol - Wednesday/Thursday, Feb. 2-3. 8 p.m. on Fox

Look, I don't watch American Idol. It's not because I think I'm too good for it, because it's clearly the most brilliantly conceived bit of television in history. Real, genuine people end up winning and fulfilling their dreams, which is awesome. I've spent entire weekends watching Laguna Beach marathons, so it's not like I'm immune to reality TV, and Idol and Survivor are reality at its finest. I just don't watch it, and I haven't ever watched it regularly. I catch an episode here and there, but that's it.

All that's to say, just pretend like American Idol is on the list every week.

Parks and Recreation - Thursday, Feb 3. 9:30 p.m. on NBC

This is the best sitcom on network television, and it's back after a hiatus. Maybe it's a tie with Community, but they're different enough that it's a tough call. There's also The Office and 30 Rock, which are always good. Until they added that racist pile of sacred cow shit Outsourced, NBC's Thursday lineup was airtight. GET IT? Sacred cows? Because cows are sacred in India, which is sooooooo silly!

I haven't seen Perfect Couples, but even with Olivia Munn, my hopes are not high.

Archer (Season 2 Premiere) - Thursday, Feb. 3. 10 p.m. on FX

It might not be as good as Louie or Always Sunny, but Archer's first season was strong, and maybe this year it'll be even better. It happened with Parks and Rec. If you're looking for a cartoon version of Gloria from Modern Family, only with man hands, look no further than Lana Kane.