After a somewhat contentious summer filled with contract disputes with its adult and child cast members, "Modern Family" is set to put the rough patches behind it and start making audiences laugh again on a weekly basis. Before Season 4 of ABC's hit sitcom debuts on September 26, though, the "Family" will take aim at yet another set of awards when the 2012 Emmys roll out the red carpet on September 23. Already an old pro at taking home hardware from these types of ceremonies, "Modern Family" is nominated in a slew of categories, including the big enchilada, Best Comedy. While most pundits feel that "Family" can and will take the cake in most cases, it's not necessarily a clear path to the top in any of the categories. And, as Tom O'Neil at HuffingtonPost.com points out, the comedy favorite was not even nominated for comedy writing.
That last bit is especially surprising, because, while the cast is stellar and their timing is impeccable, they really wouldn't have much to hang their hats on without the show's writing team, which includes Dan O'Shannon, Steven Levitan, and Carol Leifer. This group routinely weaves together seemingly disparate story lines as deftly as anything we've seen since "Seinfeld," and their use various sight-gags and physical devices hearken back to earlier television eras.
Once again, "Modern Family" has flooded the Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress categories, eschewing the opportunity to bump one of its main characters into the leading man or leading lady slots for consideration. While the nominees in each of these supporting areas may steal a little thunder from each other when it comes to votes, there is a great chance that the ABC staple will garner the nod in one or both of these categories.
For any sitcom, though, the biggest honor that the Emmys can bestow is the title of Best Comedy. "Modern Family" is the two-time defending champion, and it probably benefited somewhat by being a relative newcomer in 2010 and 2011. Novelty has a way of garnering attention, but "Family" is decidedly a veteran of the sitcom circuit at this point in its history. If it is to win for a third year in a row, the show will have to stand on its solid acting and writing instead of its utter freshness. In the end, the perceived quality of the on-screen product will carry the day, one way or another.