CNET gets shout-out on ABC's 'Modern Family'

A gadget-inspired family tussle on ABC's quirky sitcom yields a CNET name-check.

John Falcone Senior Editorial Director, Shopping
John P. Falcone is the senior director of commerce content at CNET, where he coordinates coverage of the site's buying recommendations alongside the CNET Advice team (where he previously headed the consumer electronics reviews section). He's been a CNET editor since 2003.
Expertise Over 20 years experience in electronics and gadget reviews and analysis, and consumer shopping advice Credentials
  • Self-taught tinkerer, informal IT and gadget consultant to friends and family (with several self-built gaming PCs under his belt)
John Falcone

Did you catch Wednesday night's episode of ABC's "Modern Family"? One of the subplots involved husband and wife Phil and Claire Dunphy (Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen) arguing over the relative ease of use (or lack thereof) of the household's new universal remote control. At the height of her frustration, Claire smashes the remote, claiming it's just too hard to use. Phil defends himself by pointing out that "the experts at CNET.com rated it the best remote."

At least one CNET staffer found the storyline to be fairly sexist: "The wife and daughter are unable to learn how to use the remote and must be taught by the father, while the son is 'good with electronics,' even though he is thought of as the stupidest member of the family." That very issue--gender stereotypes in the tech sphere--is the subject of Friday's Reporters' Roundtable podcast with Rafe Needleman and Molly Wood. (Watch it live at 1 p.m. PST/4 p.m. EST on Friday, January 22, or archived at the Reporters' Roundtable homepage.)

I, on the other hand, was slightly miffed by the joke's mixed metaphor: Burrell says the remote was awarded "three and a half mice," which is a longstanding Macworld metric. But in the end, we're just happy with the free advertising, especially on a rival network (CNET, you'll recall, was purchased by CBS in 2008.)

Oh, and in case you're wondering which remote controls we really like--for men and women, real and fictional--check out our list of best universal remotes.