Modern Family

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Modern Family TV Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Brilliant, poignant comedy series has mature content.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 62 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 250 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Families, from traditional to blended, straight and gay, all are valuable and important. Some stereotyping (Latinos, homosexuals) played for laughs and rounded out with positive portrayals.

Positive Role Models & Representations

No one is perfect, but the adults do their best, and the kids overall are good. They all love and support each other despite their dysfunctional moments. 


Mild family squabbles are frequent, and instances of punching and shooting toy guns are meant to be funny but sometimes are questionable. References are made to murders in Colombia. 


Some sexual situations/innuendoes between married couples; occasional moments of undress and suggestive positions. Teen crushes are themes. 


Intermittent use of words such as "damn," "bitch," "whore," "crap," and "hell." Derogatory words used to describe gay characters ("cream puff").


Visible use of MacBooks, iPads; mention of Google, Facebook, and stores such as Costco and Pottery Barn.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink wine, beer, and mixed drinks socially and at meals. Underage drinking at parties is implied but usually results in negative consequences. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Modern Family is an ensemble comedy that offers a poignant and laughably honest portrayal of contemporary family life. The three families featured include a same-sex couple and their adopted daughter, and a post-midlifer and his much younger Latina second wife and stepson. It contains some stereotyping, as well as some rare sexual moments played for humor (characters in underwear; some suggestive positions) and conversations about safe sex. Salty language ("damn," "bitch," "hell") is fairly frequent, and teen drinking is referenced but not favorably. Mature teens will probably find themselves laughing -- a lot. 

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bykarenmaeshwari March 20, 2012

For 12 and up- great!

Honestly, this show is fine for the 6th grade and up. Maybe 7th. I am extremly picky about what my kids watch (I have a 12 year old and a 14 year old), but this... Continue reading
Adult Written bycadiomals January 23, 2012

There isn't much to actually dislike about this show...

...Unless of course, you're a conservative. There are some conservative reviewers on here underrating the show simply because it is "non-traditional.... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 4, 2016

Really Funny!

I recently started watching this show and i found it hilarious! This is not a good show for younger kids though.
Kid, 12 years old January 4, 2011
Best show on television my whole family including my 8 year old sister can all sit down and watch this. The language isn't that bad and just a great family... Continue reading

What's the story?

MODERN FAMILY centers on the daily lives of three different but related families. There's Jay (Ed O'Neill) and his second, much younger wife, Gloria (Sofia Vergara), and her son, Manny (Rico Rodriguez). Jay's grown daughter, Claire (Julie Bowen), lives nearby with her husband, Phil (Ty Burrell), and is a full-time mom to their three teens. Claire's brother, Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), and his life partner, Cameron (Eric Stonestreet), are raising their adopted daughter a stone's throw away from the rest of the family. The series chronicles the ups and downs of parenting, marriage, and family relationships. Later seasons have seen developments such as Claire and Phil's oldest daughter leaving for college, Mitchell and Cameron's attempts to adopt another child, and an unexpected baby on the way for Jay and Gloria.

Is it any good?

This show is expertly scripted, the cast is superb, the character evolution is a thing of beauty, and it doesn't shy away from a down-and-dirty look at family life. It's no surprise that Modern Family has been showered with accolades since its debut in 2009. Balancing the good times and bad times isn't always an easy task in a comedy, but this series never disappoints and always ends on a heartwarming note that reflects the beautiful imperfection of family relationships. At the same time, it offers a new take on the picture of the modern American family in its presentation of three very different -- but equally loving -- household structures.

That said, Modern Family isn't for everyone. There are a lot of stereotypes to weed through, and not everyone will be comfortable with the depiction of a gay couple raising a child. The plot often deals with sex, which is discussed openly in teens' company, as well as other mature themes such as death, divorce, and, to some degree, prejudice. Much of the humor revolves around Mitchell and Cameron's life together and Jay's unconventional marriage to his young Latina wife. Take into consideration your family's values before opting into this series, but if you do watch with your teens, know that its ultimate message is one of tolerance and the lasting connection among family members of all shapes, sizes, and colors.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Modern Family compares to other family-centered shows. Does the content seem more or less realistic than others? Do the central relationships seem nontraditional to you? How are they different from other sitcom families?

  • How does your family compare to the characters in this show? What aspects of your family might be considered nontraditional? How do the characters change over the course of the series? In what ways does this show emotional growth on their part?

  • How does the media portray relationships in general? Is it ever appropriate to use stereotypes as a way of portraying them? Why do you think topics such as unplanned pregnancy, divorce, sex, and sexual identity are dealt with so frequently on TV shows and in movies? 

  • How do the characters in Modern Family demonstrate communication and humility? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

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