Why I love Modern Family and What We can Learn from Sitcoms


I'm not much of a sitcom watcher, but I love Modern Family. I find it hysterical and heartwarming. I love the way they poke gentle fun at each other. I love the exaggerated, yet loving, stereotypes of gender, culture and sexual orientation. And, it got me thinking about how relationships are portrayed in sitcoms. We tend to think sitcom relationships are far too unrealistic and simplistic to really relate to. True, there always seems to be plenty of money; their homes are immaculate and beautiful. The children are mischievous but not too misbehaving. And, the couples resolve their arguments in thirty minutes or less.

But still there is something to be learned and valued from these relationships. Like, the way they give up being right for the sake of the relationship. Like the way that they really accept each other's flaws. True these flaws are made fun of but they are fundamentally accepted. It's the way they forgive and the way the don't take things personally. They don't store up past resentments and like a fresh episode, they treat problems, not from a lens from the past, but in the present.

It got me thinking - what if we couples followed the sitcom script? What if resolved arguments in 30 minutes or less? What if we didn't hold onto past hurts and remembered that love and partnership are more important than being right? What if we gave each other the benefit of the doubt? What if we used good humor to reconnect?

Perhaps we just need to rewrite the scripts for our relationships. Instead, too often our scripts read more like this: Be right, stay mad, don't give in or validate the other's perspective, and, by all means, do not laugh or accept your partner's attempts to reconnect when you're upset. If we can choose, and I really do believe we can choose, I say let's all rewrite our relationships so that when the credits roll, there's a happy ending.