Modern Family: Season 4, Episode 16 — “Best Men”

KIP MOONEY: Modern Family never met a sitcom trope it didn’t like. That’s usually OK because the writers typically find a to tweak them so it doesn’t quite seem like we’ve seen it before. Unfortunately, this week’s episode failed to tweak anything. It was just rehash after rehash.

The first of tonight’s four (yeah, four) plots had Phil playing Cyrano for Luke, which it turns out Luke’s date’s mom was doing the same thing for her. Of course mom is single and starts hitting on Phil. Ty Burrell gracefully bumbles his way through this awkwardness, as he always does, but it all felt painfully familiar.

Then Claire tried to buddy up with Haley, and of course Haley bailed on her the second something more interesting came along. But their reunion at a coffee shop let them hear Alex’s band, which was actually pretty good. (This show’s finest musical moment will still be Dylan’s “Moonlight [I Just Wanna Do You].”) Again, nothing we haven’t seen before.

Manny, meanwhile, has been drawing the female form extensively as an ode to his little brother’s somewhat buxom nanny. Of course, anyone is petite compared to Gloria. Manny’s candlelit dinner for his new love interest ends exactly as you’d expect (especially since the nanny is in her 20s and Manny is just now going through puberty). I was specifically reminded of Everybody Loves Raymond in the former section and dozens of other sitcoms in the latter. Yawn.

Finally, Mitch and Cam get a visit from their old pal Sal (Elizabeth Banks) who announces she’s getting married. There was plenty to be mined here about a former party girl deciding to settle down, but it’s a little difficult to get there when you’ve got three other pots to compete with. This didn’t feel so much like a lot of other sitcoms, just like the last time we saw Sal.

BEST LINES:
Jay to Gloria about the last time she breastfed at the dinner table: “Phil almost ate a candle!”

Mitch: “Hashtag politics.”

Luke: “Kids don’t eat dinner.”
Phil: “What do you mean, you don’t eat dinner? What do you do?
Luke: “I don’t know, you just walk around and jump off stuff.”

About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney is a recent graduate of UNT's Mayborn School of Journalism and big-time opponent of going to grad school. Working as a freelance writer in the DFW area, he's always ready to go in-depth with his opinions on film, television, music, religion and the sorry state of politics in America. He continues to work independently, as each of his non-college jobs has resulted in the company experiencing serious financial troubles once he leaves, including Blockbuster and the trashy restaurant D's Country Kitchen. (The lesson here is hire him, but don't let him leave.) His literary heroes include Roger Ebert, Donald Miller and Matt Taibbi. Kip has written for The Dallas Morning News and Pegasus News and served as editor-in-chief for the North Texas Daily, but he is perhaps best known as the inspiration for Christian Lander's well-known blog Stuff White People Like.
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