Improv Corner – Improv In The Media – Modern Family (again)

There is one thing that fascinates me about improv and that is how it is portrayed in Television and Film. This is becoming more and more apparent in recent years because the comedy art form is sort of in fashion. There are some interesting topics that we can gain from these ways they are displayed so every so often we are going to look at different scenes from different shows and films.

When it comes to improv in the television show Modern Family, it has been mentioned ever so often and I am sure I have written about it before. When it comes to season 10, there are a lot of segments that are specifically about the world of improv and I have mixed emotions about it.

*A few spoilers beyond this point*

This is the season where we finally see Manny have a girlfriend and what is it that she does as her favourite hobby? Yes, you guess correct, improv. In one of the first episodes that we see her in, we see that she is staying with Manny and his family and that she has an obsession with improv and wants to work in theatre.

At first the storyline is quite humorous, then you realise as you go on that they are using it to as a gateway to explain why she is so annoying for Gloria and Jay not to like her. I discussed last week about Schitts Creek discussing improv in a negative way however I still believe it was tongue in cheek.

In Modern Family it is obviously used in a very negative way. I watched the entire episode but still walked away not very happy with the episode.People who perform improv are always seen as quirky or bizarre in modern day comedies that are starting to become a cliche and a bit annoying. I have stated before that improv is always used as an excuse for a negative thing and I think it is getting a bit boring and also it is not fair for it to be a common stereotype.

There are people from all different walks of life and experiences that perform improv and I think it can be even more diverse sometimes that actual mainstream comedy as there are so many different versions. themes, communities who are able to stamp their own brand and identity on it. The fact that it keeps being shown in a negative way is wrong and it is putting performers in a box. I think yet again it is predominantly American shows that are doing this and I assume that there is a saturation of improv in the country that it is now being used as the common joke.

I don’t have an issue with that as I understand that, what I have an issue with is that it is being used to explain why someone may be weird or bizarre in a show. I feel in some ways it is the modern day replacement for a clown which is completely different and not a great representation. Whilst they eventually start to like the girlfriend, improv is yet again used as a fault or problem of someone and this is not the only time that it is used in this way in the show. There is another time and we will discuss that at a later date.

Due to festival season Improv Corner will be taking a break and will return in September

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