Americans are infamous for embracing fads and granting the fabled "15 minutes of fame" to people and phenomena who don't necessarily have the staying power to stretch their notoriety to the half-hour mark or beyond. From the Pet Rock to reality television to Jeremy Lin, we're quick to lock onto a blazing new star that we know will fade. Every once in awhile, though, something new comes along and burns a bright trail from the very beginning while digging roots to hang on for the long haul. These start-to-finish greats are destined to become cultural classics and tend to appeal to a wide swath of American society.
In the world of sitcoms, no recent show has exemplified this story of a nascent television legend than "Modern Family," which debuted in the fall of 2009. Since then, ABC's big hit has picked up award after award, and the hit parade kept rolling on April 21 when " Modern Family " was named as outstanding comedy series by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
It really shouldn't come as a surprise that GLAAD has taken notice of "Modern Family." After all, the sitcom brings the relationship of Cam (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) to television screens across the nation, and we're all left rolling at their antics. Part of the beauty of "Modern Family" is that it lets audiences see the common, and humorous, situations that nearly all American families find themselves in from time to time, regardless of the makeup of those families. Cam and Mitchell face the same problems raising daughter Lily from a baby to a toddler that all parents of do, with the added dynamic of living as a gay couple in an extended family that is still coming to terms with that relationship after all their years together. The writers and actors blend it all together seamlessly making Cam and Mitchell's family like any other, while occasionally reminding us that they are not Cleavers .
As "Modern Family" wraps up its third season, the sitcom has moved well beyond the shooting star stage of its early success and is busy laying roots for what promises to be a long and successful run. The witty dialog and complicated, interwoven story lines are attention-grabbers, but the development of the diverse characters and the issues they represent hold the real key to how far this show can traverse down the road toward being a classic. As the recent GLAAD award demonstrates, "Modern Family" is making major strides with many different demographics, and the future looks bright, indeed.