The rules: Don't be afraid to shine
Julie Bowen breaks the rules. Photo: Getty Images
<i>Modern Family</i>'s golden girl, Julie Bowen, seizes her place in the pop-culture pantheon in a silver sensation with lots of lustre.
This woman can do no wrong in my eyes. She could be wearing a matchy-matchy outfit in red and black with the highest platform flesh-toned pumps that Christian Louboutin has ever minted and a bubble perm in a scrunchie and I would still adore her.
Why? Because she's in Modern Family, the funniest show I've ever watched on television. Modern Family is so funny and so clever, I have to pause it to laugh in case I miss the next gem. I couldn't possibly say who is my favourite character as they're all so hilarious and brilliantly acted - even the two-year-old, Lily.
The scripts are like sparkling gems, in both the storylines and dialogue, and I love the mockumentary format and sudden cuts between settings. No sweeping vistas, just chop. New place. It so adds to the pace.
There are too many golden moments to list, but the episode that stands out for me as almost a masterpiece of experimental theatre is the Halloween special.
It's the one where Claire - as always - wants everything to be perfect and enlists the entire family to play a part in the ghoulish tableau that will greet trick or treaters calling at the house.
It ends up with each character simultaneously doing their own messed up version of her plan, with Cameron's voice audible above it all: ''Then they all said 'Chase Quasimodo! Chase Quasimodo!' …''
Oh how we laughed and I would say ''maybe you had to be there'', but I won't. I'll say ''if you haven't seen it, get on to it''. (Although if you haven't seen any Modern Family yet, don't start with that one - it's worth working up to.)
Another reason I particularly love the show is that I've watched the first two seasons with my daughter on the laptop, sitting in bed together. At 10, she's just old enough to get it, and there's something so special about the shared joy of funny TV. Which is probably why it comes to define eras of our lives.
Ab Fab captured the '80s, Friends pretty much summed up the '90s, and the noughties were perfectly described by Little Britain, with top notes of Sex and the City.
For me, this decade will be remembered as the Modern Family moment - and that's exactly the right term for it.
It is a ''moment'', with all the fleeting connotations of that word, because however hilarious it was at the time, TV comedy doesn't seem to endure. Have you seen an episode of Happy Days recently? Even Little Britain looks a bit old now.
Funny films stay funny - watch The Odd Couple, if you're not sure what I mean - but television dates, so I've learnt to suck it up while I can. So if you haven't seen it yet, get it before it goes.
Also take some tips from Julie Bowen's style here. She knows that - just like the show - she's having her moment and she's working it. Forget playing down this gorgeous Alberta Ferretti silver sequinned strapless cocktail dress with muted accessories, Bowen has gone silver all the way, with matching shoes and bag.
Normally, I run screaming from too much matching, but this is so bold, it's brilliant - especially as all the rest of her is golden. Her hair is golden, her skin is golden - she is golden, right now - which makes having everything else silver very chic.
Even her lips and fingernails are neutral, with simple pearls at the ears. The only other colour in the whole ensemble is a little bit of burgundy on her toes, just peeping out.
Like the TV show she's in, it's pitch perfect for this particular moment. She knows it's her time to shine and she's seized it. And I'm off to get the box set of series three.
Maggie Alderson's new novel, Everything Changes But You, is out now.