Thursday, December 9, 2010

Can't We All Just Get Along?

This episode Claire went up against Gloria, Jay went up against Phil, and little Lily went up against everyone.

Gus the janitor
Claire is such a control freak so it makes perfect sense that she would want to run her son’s school dance. When Gloria decides she wants to help run it as well, I knew Claire was going to have a problem with it.  You know Claire was proud of the little setup she had at the school: the other moms look up to her and Gus the janitor has a little crush on her. Obviously it was hard for Claire to deal with Gloria swooping in and taking over so easily. It’s always a competition with these two, and it was a little sad to see Claire come up short. The worst part was when Gus, focused all his attention on Gloria, completely ignoring Claire during her time of need (some kid poured juice all over her dress during the dance).  I thought this was kind of funny though: Claire getting all jealous that Gus now has a crush on Gloria…it was like she was back in middle school. Even more like middle school is how the two of them make up in the girl's bathroom during the dance. 

Phil taking revenge on the cologne guy
Jay and Phil also had some issues during their trip to the mall. Jay kept picking on Phil for being too soft: Phil didn’t get mad when someone stole the parking space he'd been waiting for, and he let someone cut in front of him at the check out. Jay isn’t the type to let anyone walk all over him, and when his son-in-law does it, it really upsets him (especially when it happens in front of Manny and Luke).  I loved how Phil kept his feelings to himself until some poor department store employee sprayed him with cologne without his permission. All of Phil’s pent up anger just came out! Seeing Phil chase that man around the store with a bottle of cologne was too funny. Glad he got it out of his system. A part of what makes this such a great show is that Phil and Jay are such opposites…they’re always clashing. Although Jay has started to break away from his tough guy mentality (ever so slightly), I think Phil and Jay are going to keep butting heads. And it makes for great comedy. 
Cam and Lily right after she bites him for the 1st time

Speaking of great comedy, seeing Cam and Mitchell handle Lily’s teething/biting problem is quite comical. Up until now Lily has been a sweet, perfect little angel. That changes when she starts biting everyone in sight. I think it’s tough for Cam and Mitchell to admit that their little girl isn’t so perfect. They don’t even believe it when a parent says that she bit another kid.  But when Lily bites Cam (repeatedly), they have to face the truth. Leave it to her parents to blame each other for what is considered to be a natural occurrence in a baby’s life. This episode made me realize that I’m looking forward to Lily getting older so that we can see what kind of personality the writers give her. I could definitely see her having some attitude like Cam. Can you imagine Mitchell having to live with two drama queens? That would be entertaining!

I watched this episode with two friends who don’t normally watch the show and they were cracking up (as was I). So I guess this means it was a good episode!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Breakup

Haley and Dylan during happier times

Well, it finally happened. The day Claire has been waiting for: Haley and Dylan are no longer together! I’m not sure who took it harder: Haley or Phil.  Phil’s reaction to the break up was sweet and sad at the same time.  It was nice to see that he really empathized with Dylan about being dumped, especially since Claire was so harsh about the whole thing.  But come on Phil, you’re a grown man, get over it. This wasn’t your relationship. Dylan's not even your kid. I don’t think it’s appropriate for a father to hang out with his daughter’s ex-boyfriend right after they break up. But of course Phil isn’t exactly the most appropriate person. He saw Dylan as a son (or maybe as a friend since Phil can be just as immature as this teen boy). I’m not sure that Haley and Dylan are really done. I think they’ll eventually get back together. Let’s be honest, they’re perfect for each other. But now that Haley can start dating different guys her storyline might get a little more interesting.  Think of all the weirdos she could bring home. Claire might actually end up regretting that she pushed Haley into dumping Dylan.

Barbara and Mitch: Too close for comfort
Inappropriateness seemed to be a theme in this show as Cam’s mom, Barbara, was a complete mess! I’m not really surprised that she was strange because Cam is a bit off, and I was sure his mother would be as well. Turns out she’s a groper (didn’t see that coming). And leave it to her to touch her son-in-law, a man who has issues with boundaries. I felt so bad for Mitchell. That lady had her hands all over his skinny body, and Cam was completely oblivious. When Barbara overheard Mitch confronting Cam about it I was so sure she would deny it and cause a scene. But she actually apologized. She did it while Mitch was taking a bubble bath (oh the irony), but at least she apologized.

I didn’t really care for the Gloria and Jay’s storyline. The writers keep portraying Gloria as this cold woman. This time she didn’t believe that Jay was sick, she thought he was just being a baby. Turns out he had appendicitis.  Boring. Even Manny couldn’t save this. I’m not even going to waste my time talking about it anymore.

Overall a decent episode, although I didn’t laugh nearly as much as I did last week. I hope that Gloria, Jay, and Manny get a better storyline next week.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Manny!

How fitting is it that one of the best episodes of the season was the one where the family celebrated Manny’s birthday! 

It takes Manny turning a year older for him to realize that he has missed out on his childhood.  So he takes this day to do all the things kids do: mix different sodas together, play on a skateboard, and float around in the pool. It just looks awkward when he does these childish things; he’s such an old soul. He gets mad when Jay calls him a man. He just wants to be a boy today.  Of course he realizes in the end that his old man ways are just fine, and, judging by the way the adults act, he has plenty of time to be a kid later. That’s fine by me; I need Manny to stay the same.

Meanwhile Mitch and Cam are walking to the restaurant to meet the family, but Cam is getting distracted along the way: he stops for a free lotion sample and then tries to help an old couple reconnect (turns out they’re cheating lovers!). Mitch is getting irritated about being late. I didn’t understand why he cared so much until they made there way to the promenade and he performed a flash-mob dance number with about 50 other people.  It was so unexpected! Watching straight-laced Mitch do this ridiculously choreographed dance was hilarious. Cam’s reaction to this dance was ridiculous. I don’t get why he was so upset.  I think Cam just wants to be in the center of attention, and he didn’t like seeing Mitch let loose without him.  Saying that Mitch “cheated” on him was a bit over the top. Especially when Cam is always complaining that Mitch doesn’t know how to have fun.  Honestly, had Cam known the moves to the dance he wouldn’t have felt so bad. But that’s Cam for you. Regardless of Cam's attitude, I absolutely loved this storyline.

Other highlights are Gloria’s use of the BB gun to get her way (she knows her way around a gun; don’t mess with this woman!) and Phil’s breakdown in the car after finding out his kids don’t want to go to Family Camp (was that really a surprise?).

I truly enjoyed this episode. I haven’t laughed so hard in a while. The plot was not predictable and that’s what made it special. I really hope the writers keep this up.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Phil is home for the day because a few of his real estate appointments fell through. To make matters worse his wife and daughter are at home sick, he can’t find the beeping smoke detector, and his son is making him feel bad about how poorly work is going.  Definitely not a good day. It was interesting to see Phil in a slightly more serious light .  He really does want to provide for his family and even something as simple as changing the battery in a smoke detector takes on a greater meaning to him. You really feel for him. It was nice to see his serious side, but I’m glad the writers didn’t make it too sappy (he was still being goofy: frustrated with the beeping smoke detectors he starts whacking all of them with a baton).

While Claire and Haley are at home together, Claire takes this time to try to convince Haley to see other boys.  Claire just doesn’t like Dillon and thinks her daughter should try to see who else is out there.  Instead of just coming out with her feelings, Claire attempts to talk about the failed relationship of a woman on the soap opera they are watching.  She hopes that Haley will see herself in this relationship. Claire’s plan fails as Haley thinks that Claire is actually comparing this failed relationship to her mother’s marriage. The mix-up is not only understandable but also hilarious. Haley becomes the mature adult, telling Claire she owes it to this family to give her marriage another try.

Jay fires one of his employees after he lets Manny drive a forklift by himself….into a wall.  Manny is so upset by the dismissal that he stops talking to Jay. However, once Jay explains that he wouldn’t ever work with someone who harmed his kid, Manny has a change of heart. This is the first time Jay has referred to Manny as his son.  We all know how hard it is for Jay to show emotion, so this is a pretty big deal to Manny. Sweet storyline, but I must say that I’m a little disappointed that Manny wasn’t funnier.  I’m used to him being so mature, but this episode proved that he is still a kid who seeks the affection of his step-father.

Best storyline involves Mitch, Cam, and Lily.  Against Mitch’s wishes, Cam has decided to make an actress out of Lily.  It was only a matter of time before he tried to rub his love for theater off on his daughter. Despite Mitch’s objections (which Cam brushes off as jealousy of “theater folk”), Cam gets her a role in a furniture commercial.  Unfortunately the commercial ends up being a racist parody of Godzilla, complete with stereotypical Japanese voiceovers. It’s clear the only reason Lily was chosen for the role is because she’s Asian.  Cam finally comes to his senses and tells the director off.  He also informs the director that his kid is Vietnamese, NOT Japanese and how dare he assume that all Asians look alike.  Right after he says this he grabs the wrong Asian kid. Pure comedy.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Leave it to this family to have a few mishaps on Halloween. 

Mitch, new to the law firm, wrongly believes that employees dress up at the office on Halloween. He quickly realizes his mistake when he shows up to the office dressed as Spiderman and everyone else is dressed in suits. I had to feel sorry for Mitch. He was really trying to make a good impression at work, and it just went all wrong. The lengths that he goes through to not be seen in his ridiculous costume is just that….ridiculous. While I did laugh at him climbing out of the window dressed as the superhero and stealthily making his way to the car (in a very Spiderman like fashion), I couldn’t help but think: who would put themselves through this? If you’re really that embarrassed, go home and change! Who cares if you’re late to work? It’s better than looking like a total idiot in front of your boss. But that's just me.  Anyways, according to Mitch this was his worst Halloween. But, of course, Cam didn’t think the situation was that bad, especially not compared to his own Halloween nightmare. He continues to bring up his terrible past experience that scarred him as a child, but stops short of actually telling us what happened.  When he finally spits it out at the end, it turns out he was wrongly blamed for stealing candy and ended up peeing on himself while trick-or-treating.  Leave it to Cam to make that story seem so much bigger than it was.
This episode showed the crazy side of Claire. So Halloween is kind of a big deal for Claire.  Apparently all of the other major holidays have been taken over by other members in her family: Gloria has Colombian traditions on Christmas and “the gays” (her words, not mine) have Thanksgiving.   She sets up this haunted house and drags the family into it. She's really excited about scaring the kids (a bit more excited than a grown woman should be, but it's Claire, so I'll let it slide). Of course her family is no help: Gloria and Jay are arguing about her Colombian accent (side note: Gloria's "American" accent scared me it was so horrible!), Phil is determined to keep his marriage alive after hearing about his neighbor’s divorce, Cam continues to complain about how Halloween traumatized him, Haley wants to wear a costume with the least amount of material (she goes through three costumes and even managed to make her Mother Teresa costume look like a stripper getup), and Alex is too busy studying to care. It seems like the haunted house is a flop, but her family finally pulls it together in the end.  

The best storyline goes to Mitchell. Even though I think he was stupid for staying at work in that costume, it was pretty funny to watch him squeak down the hall with the costume under his suit.  I wish Cam’s traumatizing experience had been more interesting: it really didn’t seem like the kind of story that would upset someone over 20 years later. But maybe that was the point. Cam is a big drama queen after all. His over the top reaction to what happened so long ago is pretty fitting with that role.

This family is crazy, so I expected them to have a crazy Halloween. This episode didn't disappoint.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Desperate Times...

This week the families all dealt with typical issues: an annoying dog next door, too much technology ruining family time, and the anxiety of getting your kid into preschool.

Gloria s fed up with the constant barking of the dog next door. She confronts her neighbor and tells him he needs to do something about his annoying dog.  The next day the dog turns up missing, so of course the neighbor suspects that Gloria had something to do with it….so do Manny and Jay.  Apparently this wouldn’t be the first time that Gloria hurt an animal (according to Jay she has a “high comfort level” when it comes to killing).  Best part of this storyline is when Jay goes to Manny to see what he thinks about the possibility of Gloria hurting the dog. Manny is sipping on his 5th cup of espresso (pinky out) while reading Hemingway.  Manny always cracks me up. I know that has almost nothing to do with the plot, but I love Manny’s old man mannerisms. Anyways it turns out Gloria didn’t kill the dog, she just stole it and gave it to her hairdresser’s brother’s kids in the country. As bad as this may sound, I think it would have been funnier if Gloria had killed the dog.  Her giving the dog away was anti-climatic, especially since the writers kept building her up to be this crazy woman.  I'm not condoning animal cruelty, but I just felt like this needed a better ending. 

Annoyed by how dependent her family has become on their personal technology, Claire forces the family to go a week without cell phones, iPads, laptops, videogames etc.  I’m not going to lie, I would die if my mother had said something like that to me. Teens need their cell phones and computers, there’s just no way around that.  The kid’s reactions were pretty accurate. It was like their world came to an end. Phil then has the bright idea to make it into a game: whoever stays off the electronics the longest wins.  Alex wants a new computer, Luke wants a chicken, and Haley wants a car. Phil stupidly agrees to all of this. Honestly, no matter what my parents promised me I would probably cheat.  This family is no different: Luke and Alex quickly drop out, and even Claire can’t stay off the computer. I thought it was hilarious that Alex had to use encyclopedias to write her report. Who has those anymore?  Anyway, Haley schemes her way to victory.  There’s just one problem—her parents don’t have the money to get her a car.  Um, duh!! I don’t know why this surprised Haley. I mean she lives with these people; she had to know that a car wasn’t really possible.  I know the girl is dense, but sometimes the writers take it too far.

Cam and Mitch discover that Lily is the only kid in her circle of friends who hasn’t enrolled in preschool. *Gasp* So naturally they do what all first time parents do: they freak out.  They scramble to get an interview at Wagon Wheel, the school where Claire’s kids went.  But then they find out that because they’re the gay adopted parents of an Asian kid, they’re even more desirable to schools.  So they decide to pass up Wagon Wheel and try their luck at the hoighty-toighty “Harvard of preschools.”  It seems like they’re in, until….in walks a disabled interracial lesbians with an African kid.  Clearly some tough competition here!  Trying to even the playing field, Cam claims to be 1/16 Cherokee during the interview and starts talking like a stereotypical Native American. The accent is horrible! Needless to say they don’t get in.  Cam is truly crazy for thinking that his little Cherokee angle was going to help them.  I know desperate times call for desperate measures, but I could really have done without the racist comments.  It was a little much.

I like how Modern Family takes the simplest of issues and makes them into funny storylines. Basically everyone in this episode did the wrong things for the right reasons.  It definitely was realistic, and for the most part, it was funny. The endings just needed a little work.  

Friday, October 15, 2010

I Hate to Break It to You, But....

A much better episode this week. The storylines were funnier, and I felt like this was a genuine family again.

We open with Phil telling terrible jokes (nothing new) and then find out that he’s practicing his material for the SCARB, a big real estate banquet that he’s hosting.  Claire just knows that Phil is going to bomb at this banquet. I mean he’s telling jokes like “I’m going to ‘Phil’ in as host.”  Only his son thinks he’s funny (you know, since Phil has the sense of humor of an 8 year old).  Claire just doesn’t know how to break it to Phil that he’s not that funny.

It turns out Mitch is also having some trouble telling his significant other the truth, only his issue is biking shorts. Cam has started working out again and he wears these terrible biking shorts that expose everything. It’s so bad that they just blur it out (nice touch). Of course, Cam is ridiculously sensitive about his body (he’s ridiculously sensitive about everything) so Mitch doesn’t say anything.  Then Mitch has the great idea that he and Claire can do each other’s dirty work: he’ll talk to Phil and she can talk to Cam. This way Mitch and Claire don’t look bad to their significant others.  Claire mans-up and tells Cam (which ends with Cam running away in tears). But of course, Mitch just can’t break it to Phil.  Terrible.  But surprisingly Phil does really well at the banquet. Everyone finds him funny…even Claire. I knew this was going to happen because we can’t have Phil realize how bad his jokes are….we need his corniness for the next episode.  Back to Mitch and Cam.  Cam overhears Mitch complaining about the risqué biking shorts, they have a fight, they kiss and make up. Everything’s great until Mitch accidentally alludes to the fact that Cam has hairy shoulders. Yup, Mitch shot himself in the foot with that one. He just can’t win today.

Meanwhile, Gloria makes Jay go to his employee’s daughter’s Quinceañera (basically like a Sweet Sixteen) because he never goes to any parties thrown by his employees. She thinks he’s an elitist, which of course he is.  Jay wants to prove his wife wrong, but when he gets there he doesn’t know anyone’s name. He pretends to know everyone there, even paying Manny to help him learn people’s names. But of course his plan goes wrong when Gloria learns that they aren’t even at the right party; this is an engagement party!  No wonder Jay doesn’t know anyone here.  Jay is totally clueless and is shamelessly pretending to be friends with these people.  Apparently all Hispanic people look the same to him.  The climax is when the bride and groom dance, and Jay thinks it’s a father dancing with his daughter….and then they kiss.  Jay is outraged!  You can just see the disgust he feels, especially when the audience starts clapping. What was interesting is that there was no conclusion to this storyline…it ends with Jay trying to break the couple up. Maybe the writers are trying to spice things up by NOT neatly ending every story, but this just seemed like they forgot to come back to this storyline at the end. I would have liked to see Gloria stick it to Jay for being so ignorant.

Haley helps Alex become popular because it’s not good for the family (i.e. Haley) if Alex runs around doing the popular girl’s bidding.  Alex takes Haley’s advice and soon it seems like she’s got the hang of it. Then one minor slip up ruins it all.  I would have liked to see Alex be popular for a little longer than just 2 minutes in one episode.  At least give her a whole episode to feel the power of popularity.  It would have pissed Haley off if she wasn’t the only cool kid.  I liked this storyline; I just wish they had spent more time on it because it definitely had a lot of potential.

Overall I enjoyed this episode way more than last week’s. I appreciate the fact that every storyline didn’t have a neat, happy ending.   Seems like even the writers were getting tired of the standard formula.