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Youngstown’s Ed O’Neill returns to television

September 23, 2009 - Andy Gray
Ed O’Neill, the Youngstown native who played Al Bundy on “Married with Children” for more than a decade and brought back Joe Friday in a reboot of “Dragnet,” returns to television tonight with the new sitcom “Modern Family.”

I got a chance to get an advance look at the first episode, which airs at 9 p.m. today on ABC-TV, and thought it was very entertaining. NBC’s “Community” seems to have more critical buzz, but I actually laughed out loud more often watching “Modern Family.”

The concept is simple, focusing on three connected, but very different family units. There’s a “traditional” family with a husband, wife and two kids; a gay couple that just adopted an Asian baby; and a divorced older man (O’Neill) who married a much younger woman and is helping to raise her son.

The sitcom uses the mock documentary technique of “The Office” with cast members sitting down for interviews and, essentially, addressing the viewer directly. I think the storytelling technique has become overused, but the execution here makes it work. If the rest of the episodes live up to the debut, O’Neill could have another long-running hit.


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