Monday, October 11, 2010

What I’m Watching: Modern Family

Modern Family: Season 2, Episode 3 “Earthquake” (B+)

I’d like to commend this show once again on defying the odds and opting not to take advantage of “event” episodes in the way that some other shows do and instead utilizing a natural disaster (of infinitely small proportion) or a family vacation to help develop these treasured characters. As tends to be the case, the Dunphy family storyline is the most daringly clever one that feels relatable to many modern American families, as Phil hilariously takes advantage of Claire being trapped in the bathroom to fix something he had promised he would fix months earlier. The fact that both Luke (not so convincingly) and Alex spring to his defense so quickly indicates the divided loyalties that often exist in such unserious situations involving light parental disputes. Jay’s anti-church attitudes are hardly surprising, and the same can be said for Gloria’s strict observance of what she has been taught is right. As always, Manny seems to be years older than he really is, and watching him flip-flop between warring spouses was entertaining. Then there was Cameron and Mitchell, who chose to use the earthquake as an excuse to get out of their friend’s extravagant parties (“Seder-night fever” was one of the funniest ideas he had). And who better than Nathan Lane to play the over-the-top friend who insisted on coming over when he heard that Mitchell had been injured in the very minor earthquake? He’s a great actor who’s been doing a lot on the stage and hasn’t been in a really great film any time recently. He’s always welcome on this show, following the trend of strong guest actors being used appropriately and not stealing the spotlight from the stars of the show.

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