IN­SIDE: Seven days of TV view­ing

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - DEBBIE SCHIPP MODERN FAM­ILY, TDT, Mon- Thurs, 7.30pm

ALEX Dun­phy is the brainiac mid­dle child in US hit com­edy who prefers a good book and a sar­cas­tic one- liner to talk­ing about boys.

But Ariel Win­ter ( pic­tured sec­ond from right) says in 2012 her char­ac­ter is ready to come into her own on Aus­tralian screens.

Win­ter, who turns 14 on Jan­uary 28, says in fresh episodes of the show – due to screen on TDT later this month –

fans will see a new side to Alex. ‘‘ Alex is evolv­ing a bit more and I think she’ll have a few boyfriends,’’ Win­ter said on a re­cent hol­i­day in Syd­ney.

‘‘ I like that there’s a lot of grow­ing room for her on the show.

‘‘ Ha­ley [ her on- screen older sis­ter, played by Sarah Hy­land] has al­ready evolved. Luke [ Alex’s younger brother, played by Nolan Gould]? Well, Luke is Luke.

‘‘ But Alex is at the age where she can trans­form. They’re try­ing to show that


Modern Fam­ily

Modern you can be cool and smart and not be a stereo­typ­i­cal teenage girl.

‘‘ I think we’ll see more of the cool girl, but she’ll still be re­ally smart.’’

In sea­son three, she also gets a chance to rant. She lets loose on a sales­man be­cause she thinks he is mak­ing judg­ments about her un­cle be­ing gay.

‘‘ We’ve never seen Alex go on a rant, I had a blast do­ing it,’’ Win­ter says with a grin. ‘‘ Usu­ally it’s a one- liner and she’s out of there.’’

For Win­ter, join­ing the cast of the hit com­edy has meant dis­cov­er­ing a whole sec­ond fam­ily. When the cam­eras stop rolling, there’s a fam­ily- like bond be­tween all of the young ac­tors on the show.

Win­ter landed her first act­ing gig at the age of four, but she re­mains a grounded 13- year- old. This is largely thanks to her real fam­ily, and her one.

‘‘ My dad told me I wouldn’t be able to act if I didn’t get good grades,’’ shrugs Win­ter, who at­tends school on the set along with her young cast mates.

‘‘ Nolan and Rico


Modern Fam­ily [ Ro­driguez, who plays Manny] are like my broth­ers and we’re all go­ing through the same thing – grow­ing up in front of Amer­ica – so it’s like hav­ing two lit­tle part­ners in crime,’’ she laughs.

‘‘ Nolan has to play dumb as Luke but he’s re­ally smart – he’s a mem­ber of MENSA. He’s in the 10th grade and he’s younger than me. He helps me with my home­work some­times.

‘‘ Sarah [ Hy­land, who plays older sis­ter Ha­ley] gives me guy ad­vice, I give Nolan girl ad­vice – he needs to work on his swag­ger – and Nolan tries to hook me up with his friends, so we def­i­nitely have a ’ Modern Fam­ily’.’’

Win­ter says the only per­son more ex­cited than her when she landed the

role was her fa­ther, a de­voted fan of Ed O’neill ( pa­tri­arch Jay Pritch­ett on the show) from his days play­ing Al Bundy on


Mar­ried . . . With Chil­dren. O’neill is like a grand­fa­ther to her on set. ‘‘ I say to Ed: ‘ Dude, re­mem­ber that

episode? I re­watched it last night’, and he re- en­acts things for me, it’s hi­lar­i­ous.’’

She is clos­est to her on- screen par­ents Julie Bowen and Ty Bur­rell, but if she could swap roles for a day she would love to play glam­orous Sofia Ver­gara’s Glo­ria. ‘‘ I’d to­tally say Sofia,’’ she grins. ‘‘ She’s just so funny. We all love do­ing her ac­cent. And, of course, we’d all want Sofia’s body. Who doesn’t?’’

Stay­ing grounded is Win­ter’s rule to live by, although she rel­ishes the ‘‘ snarky re­marks I can use that I’ve learned play­ing Alex’’. ‘‘ We’re both sar­cas­tic. My dad says that I’m prob­a­bly more sar­cas­tic than Alex in real life,’’ she says. ‘‘ But I’m a nor­mal teenager. I get pim­ples, I had braces.

‘‘ I have a great cir­cle of friends out­side the show. They say ‘ go act, then come back and let’s hang out’.

‘‘ If I tried to get a big head my Mum would be ‘ Uh- uh, go sit in your room’.

‘‘ A po­lite, re­spect­ful ac­tor is far bet­ter than a mean diva.’’ You wait for the sar­cas­tic Alex Dun­phy fol­low- up. In­stead Win­ter smiles, gives you a style hug and leaves the room.

Mar­ried . . . With Chil­dren


Modern Fam­ily

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