During Modern Family's second season, the cast and writers impressively maintain the high level blend of humor and charm that earned the first season so much praise from critics and audiences alike. The on-going faux documentary takes viewers into the extended Pritchett family for one more year revealing more about the characters and their relationships with each other.
What makes the show so accessible is the relatability of the different familial configurations. Jay (Ed O'Neill) is the patriarch and a successful businessman. Gloria (Sofía Vergara) is his second wife. She is gorgeous and much younger and being from Columbia leads to some humorous culture clashes. She has a son, Manny (Rico Rodriguez), from her first husband. He is roughly 12, and while he has a mature approach at times, the young boy he is never gone for long. Jay also has two children from a previous marriage, Claire (Julie Bowen) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson). Claire is a stay-at-home mom who can be high strung at times. Her husband Phil (Ty Burrell) is a real estate agent. He tries to be the cool dad and wishes for a closer connection with Jay. Claire and Phil have three kids: pretty and popular Haley (Sarah Hyland), a junior in high school; smart middle sister Alex (Ariel Winter) in her last year of middle school; and Luke (Nolan Gould), who tries his best but certainly inherited his dad's goofiness. Mitchell and his partner Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) are the adoptive parents of toddler Lily from Vietnam.
Over another 24 episodes, the series' strength remains its focus on the love these family members have for each other no matter their quirks and misunderstandings as they grow up and old. And this group of characters has quite a few entertaining quirks. There are quite a few highlights from the season. In "Strangers on a Treadmill" Claire and Mitchell agreeing to tell the other's spouse to stop doing something embarrassing. Shelly Long returns as Claire and Mitchell's mom for Lily's birthday party in "Princess Party," though it is slightly odd when revealed her boyfriend (Matt Dillon) used to be Claire's. Claire and Phil switch roles as the stern parent and the fun parent in "Good Cop Bad Dog" much to the children's chagrin. This season certainly impressed Emmy voters. The entire adult cast was nominated for Supporting Acting Awards. They repeated wins for Outstanding Comedy Series, Writing, and Supporting Actor (though Burrell won in place of Stonestreet), and added Directing and Supporting Actress for Bowen.
Just like the previous season set, the video is presented with a 1080p/ MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and the audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, delivering a solid presentation. Colors are bright and blacks are deep. Skintones remain consistent throughout and objects deliver clear edges and textures. The dialogue-heavy track is focused in the front and there's very little ambiance or bass effects to make use of in a surround system.
The set is full of extras, all of which are presented in high definition. Deleted Family Interview (11 min) and Deleted and Extended Scenes" (22 min) are featured on all three discs. Disc One also features the "Strangers on a Treadmill" Table Read (38 min) held on 8/3/10 at the Zanuck Theater with the cast and Levitan, who reads stage directions. Mitch's Flash Mob (3 min) is a behind-the-scenes look at the scene from "Manny Get Your Gun". Disc Two includes “Imagine Me Naked” Music Video (4 min) from Haley's boyfriend Dylan (Reid Ewing). It looks better than it should for this silly song from the Valentine's Day episode "Bixby's Back". Disc Three has a funny Gag Reel (8 min). Modern Family Holidays (13 min) allows the writers to get some screen time as they discuss the holiday-themed episodes (Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Halloween) they wrote. Waiting for Oprah (4 min) finds the actors getting ready for their appearance on her show. It would have been nice if that had been included. Chatting with Steve Levitan (4 min) finds the executive producer/co-creator sitting down to chat about the series. Lastly, production designer Richard Berg takes viewers on a tour of the families' homes in At Home with Modern Family (6 min).
Modern Family is the best family sitcom currently airing and The Complete Second Season is proof why.