Wednesday, April 16, 2014

L.A. Cameo: Slate on "Modern Family' And Its Accurate Los Angeles Geography

Over the years "Modern Family" has gone from barely acknowledging its setting to taking full advantage of its Los Angeles locale. The comedy's characters shop at the Grove, regularly show up at the Century Plaza Hotel (above, which doubles for many locations) and plenty of other West L.A. locales.

In a column for Slate, writer Andy Bowers sees even more similarities between the show and his life on the westside:

Mitchell Pritchett has taken over my office. I mean that literally, or as literally as possible when one is discussing a fictional character. If you watch last week’s episode of ABC’s Modern Family, you’ll see Mitch start a new job at the Center for Justice. They give him an office with an exposed brick wall, the office in which he finds several intriguing notes left in the desk drawer by the previous occupant. But in real life, the previous occupant of that room was me. (I recently moved to another office that also appears briefly in these scenes; it’s the one to the right of the vending machine, a machine that, sadly, they only brought in for the shoot.

If you live or work in West L.A., you’ve probably had a few Modern Family encounters of your own. And if you live around here and watch the show, it’s easy to forget these people are fictional. They feel like real neighbors who inhabit the same world we do, much more so than any other TV show I’ve ever seen. They’ve filmed at my daughter’s middle school, and Luke and Manny currently attend the public high school (Pali) that they’d probably attend if they were, you know, real people. The Pritchett and Dunphy kids use the playground and sports facilities at the same park we do. Claire’s firing range is in a strip mall that is walking distance from my house (although that particular business does not exist), and the intersection where she tried to get a stop sign installed is one I pass through every day on my bike ride to work (thankfully, it already has a four-way stop). We also regularly see the MF crew as they shoot driving scenes—which involve complicated rigs in front of the characters’ car—all over the local streets.

That's nothing new in Los Angeles, even in this age of runaway production. Film shoots are a regular way of life here, of course. And we regularly chronicle how "Mad Men," "Parks and Recreation" and some of our other favorite shows use Los Angeles spots to double as out-of-town settings. But Bowers points out a rare opportunity: "Modern Family's" Dunphy house is actually on the market right now, and for sale at $2.3 million.

OK, the fantasy of living in pricey Los Angeles real estate. That is the stuff that Hollywood dreams are made of.

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