Modern Family - Dude Ranch/When Good Kids Go Bad

Starring: Ed O'Neill, Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Sarah Hyland, Ariel Winter, Nolan Gould, Rico Rodriguez, Aubrey Anderson-Emmons
Rating: ****

Air Date: Friday 23rd September, 8pm - Sky1

The Emmy Award winning sitcom is back, and what a joy it is. It gives you that familiar feeling of seeing your dysfunctional family for Christmas, and what a lovely feeling it is.

So this is season three and it is just as funny as before. The characters are as crazy and lovable as always, and it is still feels fresh and new. Nothing ever feels laboured or recycled and that is down, partly, to the actors. Each star fits their character so perfectly and portrays the character so brilliantly that it all feels so natural, and that is what helps it to be so funny.

Claire and Phil (Bowen & Burrell) are the parents of the Dunphy family, and they are still as hysterical as they were in season 1. They constantly try to one up each other, but you know they still love each other and that is what makes them so sweet, but at the same time relatable. Of course it is their constant bickering and one upping each other that makes them funny, and in this opening double bill they are still at it and still making me laugh. Their children, Haley, Alex and Luke (Hyland, Winter & Gould),  are all so perfect in their bickering sibling roles, and constantly make me chuckle to myself. They all have brilliant chemistry  together and make the characters really believable and funny. Who'd have thunk that Hyland is 20 and Gould is a genius, that is good acting right there.

Michael and Cameron (Ferguson & Stonestreet) are the caring, loving and very opposite gay couple in the show, and their relationship is so sweet, genuine and fun that it is such a joy to watch. Their performances are brilliant and they really warm your heart just watching their behaviour together. The chemistry is spot on and their relationship with their daughter, Lily (Anderson-Emmons) is delightfully funny. This season we have a new actress playing Lily, and despite the fans disappointment, I see why they have done it and it has worked for the better. Yes, old Lily was cute, But new Lily is able to talk and interact, so actually provides the show with some funny lines and moments. Also judging from cast interviews, the old twins were very unhappy on the show, so it was only fair to change them while they still can.

Jay and Gloria (O'Neill & Vergara) are very different people, but yet they work so well together. Gloria is younger, loud and very high maintenance, whereas Jay is older, quiet and would happily just sit and read a book. Because the characters are so opposite they work perfectly and the actor chemistry is brilliant. Gloria is my favourite character in the show, and that is because Sofia Vergara is a genius. She plays it so well, and makes me laugh with every line she shrieks. Gloria's son, Manny (Rodriguez) is hilarious and fits perfectly into the family. he is the perfect blend of Gloria and Jay and it is remarkable how a actor this young can play such a refined character. He is like an old man in a little boy's body, but he also has the Columbian fire that his mother has, and Rodriguez portrays this excellently.

The writing is brilliant and I never once felt like they had let it slip or they had reached the end of their story. In this first double bill, I was laughing, smiling and enjoying as much as all the other seasons. The acting is spot on as usual (hello Emmy Awards!!!), and everybody seems so comfortable and happy in their respective roles and on the show, that it is really enjoyable and easy to watch. The next episode is on next Friday, the 30th, and I'm sure it will be just as funny a this weeks, if not funnier.