'Modern Family' at PaleyFest: Bringing the Laughs
Thursday, March 15, 2012
The cast and creator Steve Levitan from the hit ABC comedy Modern Family gathered to discuss the show -- at the heart of it all is a group of very funny, witty people. I know, such a surprise. I've had the chance to cover other PaleyFest panels and this cast is the one where I truly believed them when they said they love coming to work every day, and that the cast is like their second family. I can only imagine how much fun they have on the set.
Now in its third season, the show has won just about every award it's been nominated for. Has the show ultimately changed because of it?
"We got into some bigger arcs this year that was a little bit of a change, but we're all very proud of the season," creator Steve Levitan said.
On the Swear Word Episode
Levitan said a lot of "prelash" was generated prior to the airing of the episode where Lily swears. But afterward? Crickets.
"Everyone saw the episode and (the critics) went silent," Levitan said. "There's not a family on this planet that can't say it hasn't happened to them."
More on the character of Lily, who changed actors this season: Stonestreet said he was surprised at the move's negative reaction. He said the previous twins who played Lily didn't enjoy their time on set. He also stressed the age of the character on the show never changed, and that the actors are actually the same age -- the current one just happens to be taller and more vocal.
On Bryan Cranston, Director
Did you notice in the credits that Bryan Cranston was the director of "Send Out the Clowns"? It was, indeed, the Breaking Bad star, who is a big fan of the show, and also directs.
Julie Bowen said it took her a few days to get the Walter White character out of her head. Ty Burrell said Cranston was a genius, saying "Every time he gives you a note, he can do it better."
For Stonestreet, the experience was a bit of a coming full circle. Stonestreet's first acting job more than a decade ago was Malcolm in the Middle with Cranston.
On Funny Moments
Levitan brought up the Hawaii scene where Jay and Phil rock -- hilariously and uncomfortably -- on the hammock. He pointed out it wasn't ever scripted to be that long, but the hammock's creakiness made it possible to drag it out.
"Imagine it being funny, funny, funny ... then uncomfortable ... then funny again -- for a long time," he said.
On Cam's Dad
Barry Corbin will be playing Cam's dad, who will butt heads with Jay. Levitan explained both fathers are strong, tough, gruff men with a gay son, so the dynamic will be interested to see -- in a Modern Family way of course.
On the Show's Longevity
Levitan: "As long as it's good. ... We would like to go out strong and not (be lifted out)."
An audience member asked the crew what THEIR favorite TV shows were. Here's what a few of them said said:
Jesse Tyler Ferguson: Parks and Recreation and Breaking Bad
Sarah Hyland: Community, Southland, Shameless
Rico Rodriguez: New Girl
Steve Levitan: Archer
Sofia Vergara: Revenge, because it's "a Latin soap opera, but people have much more money."
Ed O'Neill: Luck
(Image courtesy of ABC)