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Yesterday, as Emmy nominations were announced “Modern Family” proved that it was more than a fad. After a second season of consistently sharp writing, acting and execution, the ABC hit sitcom earned 17 nominations over all.

Ty Burrell, who plays Phil Dunphey said he was shocked that all six of the cast’s adult actors had been nominated for television’s highest award. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, he said:

“I’m sort of stunned. I never imagined that we could all be nominated. It was just really thrilling. It’s a really special day for the show…I feel like there are 1,000 actors who deserve it more than I do.”

While he was being a gracious nominee, reading his quote reminded brought to mind an article that ran a few weeks ago on AlertNet, titled,” Americans Seem To Love Huge Families, But Only If They’re White” In the article, writer Anat Shenker argues that while America has become enchanted with big non-traditional white families, it is not ready to embrace an ethnicity outside of that mold.

A quick click through evening television reveals America’s obsession with the huge white family. A short list would include oldies like “The Brady Bunch,” “The Partridge Family,” “7th Heaven” and “The Waltons,” as well newer entries in the scripted and reality show genres (“Big Love,” “Sister Wives,” “19 Kids and Counting,” “Kate Plus Eight”). If television programming is a cultural bellwether, we are really into white women having lots of kids… The last time we saw a large black family it was named Cosby. “The Cosby Show,” revolutionary in many regards, stands out for depicting a family of five African-American children in a well-to-do household. Since then, shows about families of color, like “Family Matters,” “George Lopez” or “All of Us,” allow the mothers depicted to have two children at most.

As a fan of Modern Family, I appreciate the writing and the ways the writers approach a new American family outside of the mother father and 2.5 kids. The episodes are light but hit core conflicts. Through the show’s humor, Modern Family avoids seeming forced. Still, for all its subtlety, it is still the story of a large white family with diversity in sexual orientation and nationality playing their own comedic role as well.

For Gloria, the outspoken Colombian trophy wife’s references to her past are often the basis for some of the shows unexpected funny moments. For instance, Gloria’s phobia of bikes due to a mother who told her riding could get her kidnapped instantly references the drug war past of her home country, a Latin American nation many in Modern Family’s audience could not find on a map. But then there are the more insightful moments like Mitchell and Cam’s discussion of whose last name to give their child- a dilemma that many in the audience may not have considered until then.

It’s unrealistic to think that Modern Family can tell every story represented in our nation’s fabric; no one show can do it all. But would America’s television audience ever embrace a big black family with it’s complexities as well?

What do you think Clutchettes? Share your thoughts and weigh in here!

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  • Militantsista

    Of course we could embrace a large black family, all you have to do is get some good writers together and go for it!! Remember people, when it comes to television, we don’t get what we want, we get what they give us. We would love to see more blacks on tv, it is just that they don’t want us there, claiming “poor ratings”, but they don’t give black shows a chance, not like other shows. They will run for two seasons with poor ratings, change the day it comes on and the hour its shown, but for black shows, as soon as they slip in ratings, they are gone!!!!!!! That is why I am not a fan of television at all!!!!!