I started watching Modern Family. Wednesdays at nine on ABC, set your Tivo, pull yourself away from American Idol, whatever you have to do to get a look at this show, it’s worth it. It’s the funniest new show on network TV that I’ve seen in the last, five (?) years. It has a pretty good ensemble cast, including Julie Bowen (who’s always had a special place in my heart), but for me, it’s Ed O’Neill just dominating every scene he’s in. O’Neill has always struck me as the kind of guy that would be hilarious in person, a guy that could write his own lines. Some actors deliver a line well, but the humor just naturally flows from Ed O’Neill.
Now, he’s had a nice career. Married With Children was a groundbreaking, long-running show, and I guess once the image of Al Bundy was burned into everyone’s minds, it was probably tough for O’Neill to branch out. It’s a shame. I think a lot of people who would have liked O’Neill wrote him off just for being Al Bundy on a show that would probably seem tame by today’s standards, but was pretty controversial 20 years ago. Not only that, but it was on FOX, which was also a minor player then considering where they’ve gotten to in the present.
I guess I just feel like O’Neill could have been nailing character actor roles, and supporting roles in movies for the last few decades, but we’ve hardly seen him anything. I think he’s finally back and succeeding, because most people have finally forgotten about Al Bundy at this point. Of course, his rare appearances on the Big Screen were usually gems. Two of my all-time favorite underrated classics star Ed O’Neill.
The first is Little Giants, which isn’t really a good movie at all, but O’Neill is hilarious. The presence of Rick Moranis is kind of a letdown, but this flick defines watchable. It’s nothing something you rush out and buy on DVD, but it’s one of those kids sports movies that you find yourself watching every time they come on, kind of like, The Sandlot.
O’Neill’s other big starring role was in the epic, Dutch. I hope everyone has seen this one. It’s classic. It’s kind of a generic premise, and the humor is slightly low brow at times, but a couple scenes in this movie get me every time, and it’s all big Ed, carrying the show. I’m also forever in debt to Dutch for sprouting the lines, “I don’t care if you live, die, or grow mushrooms in your crack.” And, “I might not look like I can finance a trip to the Zoo, but I make a pretty decent living.” If you say either of those to me at any moment, I will laugh. All because of Ed O’Neill, the comic genius, catch some Modern Family.