‘Modern Family: The Complete First Season’ (Blu-ray, $59.99; DVD, $49.98)
So much of “Modern Family” is fall-on-the-floor funny because, come on, who doesn’t love families crazier than our own? Since making a buzzy landing last year on ABC (the show just launched its second season, airing 9 p.m. Wednesdays), this game-changer’s been a mighty comedic miracle, surging to the top of the TV pantheon and deservedly winning the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series.
It’s no wonder: The landmark show’s mingling of snappy writing, colorful characters (and what a cast playing them!) and some genuine, heartstring-tugging cuteness – shot in mockumentary style with the family doing sit-down couch confessionals – concocted such a delightful 24-episode first season, from the meet-the-bunch start to the awkward and sweet family-photo finish.
What came between – all the genius zings, awkwardness and physical comedy – was far and away better than anything TV sitcoms have offered in years. Seriously: “America’s Funniest Home Videos” couldn’t sift through enough family clips to find anything as amusing as some of the situations that these three broods – including one of television’s best gay couples ever, Mitchell and Cam (Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Emmy winner Eric Stonestreet, respectively) – wound up in: Cam as “Fizbo the Clown,” kicking ass and … making balloon animals; Mitchell’s bird-in-the-house freakout; the oopsy “ass touch” between Cam and his father-in-law. Also, of course, the classic pilot moment: our introduction to li’l Lily, the gay pair’s adopted baby, whom the family meets in outrageous Cam fashion – with lights dimmed, “Lion King” music cued, and a spotlight on our diminutive diva. Like that bit, “Modern Family” succeeds most at making mundane, everyday occurrences absolutely hilarious (A trip to Costco? Classic!).
Many of these moments are coolly culled from “Modern Family” crew’s real lives, discussed on one of many bonus features. Elsewhere, learn about Stonestreet’s real-life childhood aspirations to be a clown; see extended and alternate scenes; watch the cast flub lines during the charmingly hilarious blooper reel. Look through it all, really, because this family isn’t one you’ll mind spending time with.
‘Glee: The Complete First Season (The Gleek Edition)’ (Blu-ray, $69.99; DVD, $59.98)
Whether it’s the gayest major-network show in some time (and it is), “Glee” is so much more: fun nerd escapism, a music lover’s dream and a quip cache/biology lesson (Don’t tell me you already forgot that dolphins are just gay sharks!).
In the 2009-2010 premiere season of gay creator Ryan Murphy’s baby (new episodes, which began Sept. 21, air at 8 p.m. Tuesdays on Fox), the show-choir kids sang their way through teen pregnancy, coming out and cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester’s club-killing wickedness. They proved unstoppable, against Sue (Emmy winner and supreme lesbian Jane Lynch) and in the ratings; even with god-awful raps and ridiculous plot no-you-didn’ts, the exhilarating, satirical musical dramedy is crack. Heck, my mom, who threw out the show like the garbage after catching the pilot episode, is now in a committed relationship with it (that’s right, Mom, you’re officially a Gleek).
“Glee,” however, had me in a happy-go-lucky headlock from the start, with its addictive lollipop lining, smart snark and sweet heart. Then there was Madonna, whom they honored during the homage episode, “The Power of Madonna” – one of the best hours of TV ever, ever, ever. No, really – ever!
Truly, it didn’t get better, or gayer, than this mid-season stunner, as the New Directions club headed for regionals during these 22 episodes. It got pretty close, though: the pilot’s electrifying series-classic “Don’t Stop Believin'”; a touching Sue-goes-soft “Wheels” installment; and a fabulous Lady Gaga episode. One of the best storylines, though, belonged to Kurt Hummel, the gay outcast who so touchingly came out to his dad – and cracked the code for the football team’s success: Beyonce!
The series sang so many high notes during its debut season (oh, I almost forgot: Puck – all of him, all the time) that the only thing stopping me from going on and on is a word count. And that I’ve yet to gush over the special features, which include an ass-kissing look behind the Madonna event (because, well, it was!), promo interviews with Murphy and Lynch, and interactive how-tos on dancing and dressing like the cast. The coolest: How you can create playlists from the show’s songs with a nifty jukebox. Don’t you get all “Glee”-ful just thinking about it?