A few characters on “Modern Family” are cliched and feel less truthful. Claire, the mother in one of families, is portrayed as just that- a mother, with no apparent life outside of her family. She is also shown as a catty, malicious woman, jealous of the beauty of her father’s new wife and constantly absorbed in revenge plots against everyone around her, including her children. This harmful stereotype brings down women by implying that they are inherently jealous and vengeful.
The other character who is quite cliched is Jay, the father of Claire and patriarch of the family. He is portrayed as a classic older, white, wealthy man- he spends most of his time at the country club playing golf, advocates for old-school manners, and dislikes his son-in-law. However, Jay’s relationship with his adopted son Manny shows him in a different light, making him a more unique and thus more truthful character by showing him within a realistic relationship.
Although Jay and Claire are somewhat unrealistic, stereotyped characters, other aspects of “Modern Family” are more true. For example, one of the families featured on the show is made up of gay partners, Cam and Mitchell, and their adopted daughter Lily. Their family presents an alternative the American ideology of a “cookie cutter” suburban family made up of a mom, a dad, and 2 or 3 children.
Another true element of modern family are the characters Haley and Alex, the two daughters of Claire. At first glance, these teen aged girls seem to fit into the false ideologies of American society- Alex is the geeky smart girl, while Haley is the dumb-but-pretty popular girl. However, their characters are rounded out and revealed to be far more nuanced as the show goes on. Haley is shown to be much smarter than she initially appears, albeit in a street-smart rather than book-smart way. She also reveals ambition, shrewdness, and kindness as her story progresses, all traits that do not fit into her stereotype. Meanwhile, Alex is shown to have a large group of friends who share her interests, a much-needed challenge to the ideology that “nerds” have no friends at all.
What is most truthful about Haley and Alex, though, is their relationship as sisters. Like real sisters, they alternately love and hate each other, best friends one moment and worst enemies the next. But their relationship does not only exist at extremes, and sometimes, they’re just normal sisters living together and facing everyday challenges, doing homework and worrying about applying to college. The truth of their relationship and their lives allows viewers to relate, making the show as a whole more successful.