As Sunday’s Emmy Awards proved, Academy of Television Arts & Sciences members are still gaga for Modern Family. Six out of twelve Outstanding Supporting Actor/Actress nominees hailed from ABC’s flagship sitcom; cast members Eric Stonestreet and Julie Bowen won their respective categories, both for the second time. The show itself took home its third consecutive Outstanding Comedy statuette, as well as awards for writing and directing. Maybe Phil didn’t need to fix that step after all.
But for some viewers, this outpouring of Emmy love might seem misplaced. Modern Family‘s third season was funny, but it was also uneven — and too often, it featured characters hitting the same notes over and over. A show that once won praise for its innovation had started to feel just the tiniest bit stale. This is inevitable for any long-running show, especially a family comedy like ModFam — but still, it’s tough to say whether the series is simply settling into middle age or beginning a slow but steady decline.