KIP MOONEY: I think I’ve realized what sets Modern Family apart from almost every other sitcom on TV: when it falls, it falls pretty hard. But when it’s good, it soars unbelievably high. That’s much better than a season full of mediocrity (I’m looking at you, CBS).
The show continues to dig up rusty clichés and then spit-polish them with the best team of writers since The Dana Carvey Show. (Don’t believe me? Click here.) Each of tonight’s storylines sounds trite on paper, but each is executed with serious wit and major laughs.
This episode’s main gag involves the Dunphy children walking in on their parents mid-coitus, which leaves Haley screaming, Alex flushing her eyes like a test tube has blown up in her face and Luke being simultaneously dumb and profound, which is definitely his niche.
Claire is her usual flustered self, but in a way that feels realistic, not gimmicky. Phil, on the other hand, finds the situation humorous. And, as a man, wants to continue the second the kids flee the scene. To say he’s my favorite character is an understatement.
Earlier, Gloria writes a particularly nasty e-mail to Claire, calling her out for being a control freak, but then accidentally sends it (“I sended it!” she screams. “Pleece comb back!”). Jay promises to fix it, but Claire won’t answer the phone because she’s too upset. It’s classic sitcom set-up, but pulled off flawlessly.
The Cam-Mitch storyline tread some well-worn ground as they try to buddy up to the mother of Lily’s classmate. This isn’t the first time Cam has ruined a valuable item of someone’s while Mitch tries to impress him, but the way they devise covering up their mini-disaster has a sinister side, which is what sealed the deal for me on this episode.
But then there’s the emotional pay-off that this show has become so adept at providing. As the Dunphy kids sit on the curb at a gas station, contemplating the horrors they’ve just witnessed, they come to the realization that lovey-dovey parents who do it on a regular basis are much better than loud, bitter divorcees. And as someone who has the former and plenty of friends who have the latter, I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am for that.
Haley: “They’re impossible to buy for. At least, I think they are. We haven’t tried really.”
Phil: “We were, as they say, having the sex.”
Luke: “Whatever they were doing, it looked like Dad was winning.”