Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kiss Me….

A kiss is just a kiss…unless you’re watching Episode 2 of Modern Family. Then, a kiss is the source of all sorts of trouble.

Claire, being the typical mother who wants to know all about her kids’ lives, snoops in Alex’s phone and discovers that she’s been sending flirty text messages to some boy. She sends Haley to investigate.  We find out that Alex does indeed have a crush on a classmate, Jeremy. But she’s never kissed a boy.  This shocks Haley, who started kissing at the tender age of 11 (no surprise there).  Haley is glad her sister's life has gotten "interesting," admitting that she thought Alex was a lesbian before this happened.  Honestly, I thought Alex might be gay too, simply because there was never a hint that she was into boys. Guess Haley and I were both wrong. Oh well.  Haley tells Alex to hurry up and start kissing before Jeremey thinks she’s a lesbian too.  Now, Alex prides herself on being smarter than her sister….I find it hard to believe that she would actually listen to any advice that Haley gives her.  But I guess when it comes to this particular subject Alex feels Haley knows what she’s talking about. Big mistake.  Taking Haley’s advice leads to Alex admitting to Jeremy that she likes him and wants to kiss him.  Unfortunately, his entire soccer team hears the whole thing.  You can just see the horror on her face. Her world has officially come to an end.  Naturally, she runs away (there’s really nothing she can do to save that situation).  Of course it all works out in the end: Jeremy tells Alex that he likes her too and offers to kiss her. Alex, apparently having come to her senses, politely declines….you know, since this is only their second conversation face to face.  How cute.  Also, how unreal.  Kids these days are doing a lot more than kissing at her age, but I guess ABC has to keep it PG.

Speaking of keeping it PG, that’s exactly what Mitchell wants to do when it comes to showing PDA with Cameron.  He absolutely hates kissing in public, and, of course, this bothers Cameron who craves attention.  I’m on Cameron’s side with this: I’m sorry, but anyone who high-fives their significant other on New Year’s Eve has got a serious problem!  Mitchell apologizes and tells Cameron that he’s working on it.  This is such a lie.  Later at a family dinner, Cameron leans over to kiss Mitchell, but Mitchell quickly pulls away causing Cameron to fall over the couch. Best scene of this episode: watching Cameron’s large body tumble over the couch and onto the floor was hilarious.  But I think it’s ridiculous that Mitchell is basically married to the guy, adopted a kid with him, and yet can’t kiss Cameron in front of his own family.  What kind of relationship is that? We find out that Jay is the source of this problem.  He never showed affection to his kids when they were growing up, and it screwed Mitchell up.  Gloria makes father and son kiss in what can only be called an awkward moment.  But I guess it was worth it, because both Mitchell and Jay appear to be doing better with showing affection by the end of the episode.

Other points I feel compelled to mention: Claire is exposed as being a skanky teen back in the day (arrested while skinny dipping); after Jay makes fun of Gloria's claim that she saw her dead grandmother, Gloria seeks revenge by tricking him into doing stupid stuff around the house (any man who actually thinks that slapping raw chicken or wearing shoes around your neck is a Columbian “tradition” may need to seek professional help); and Phil spends 4 hours trying to fix Jay’s printer only to get a half-hearted “thank you” in return (poor guy!).  Really wish Manny had more of a presence in this episode....he seemed like more of an afterthought this time around.

Funny episode, but I'm still waiting on Alex to get her first kiss. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

You Can Always Count on Change...

When I turned on the TV tonight at 9pm I fully expected to be amused for 30 minutes…the season opener of Modern Family did not disappoint.   The family crammed more problems into the half hour than most families have in a month.

While rummaging through their junky garage Phil and Claire rediscover their old '83 station wagon.  It’s truly a mess: the doors don’t open, windows can’t roll down and it just takes up space (every family has something in their house like this….maybe even more than one thing).  Claire is adamant about selling the car until she realizes that its filled with memories…literally: from Luke’s old jar of sunshine (which he naturally still wants to keep because he still actually thinks he caught sunshine in there) to Haley’s old blanket…that Luke threw up on years ago.  Claire breaks down, crying about how the kids are all grown up now: “A minute ago they were babies. Soon they’ll be driving, then we’ll all be dead.”  Claire is actually showing some feeling here, revealing that she can be human at times. Amazing!  So what does Phil do to make her feel better? He builds a time machine of course!  The time machine turns out to be the station wagon, with a hand made sign that says simply "Time Machine." Against the kids wishes, he takes the whole family out to Granger Point for a picnic.  Its a nice thought, but of course, it's Phil we're talking about, so things don't go smoothly. Everything falls apart during this outing and the car winds up in a ditch.  But while the car might not be salvageable, Claire’s spirit is brightened and the family has a good laugh.  I know this is following the typical sitcom formula, but I find it funny here, even if it's a little ridiculous.

So while the Dunphy’s are digging up old memories, Cameron and Mitchell are busy trying to create new memories with Lily by building a princess castle for her to play in.  This would seem like an easy enough task except for the fact that Mitchell is a klutz and is clearly the last person you would want holding a nail gun.  The sad part is he has no clue that he’s not the next Bob Vila…he’s more like Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor.  Cameron can’t deal with it so he calls on Jay to come over and help.  When Cameron finally realizes that the two are in “cahoots” (his word, not mine), his pride is hurt. He tries to finish the castle alone and ends up getting locked in the playhouse.  Now Mitchell might not be the stereotypical manly man, but he certainly acts like the average Joe here: refusing to admit that he screwed up.  

The best storyline revolves around Manny (of course!) and the girl he brings home, Kelly.  Although Gloria claimed that she wasn’t the typical Colombian mother who hates her son’s girlfriend, I knew as soon as Kelly stepped foot in that house that Gloria was going to have a problem with her.  To the dismay of his mother, Kelly and Manny quickly evolved as a couple in just one day: Manny starts eating what Kelly eats (which doesn’t include his mothers empanadas, since they’re full of trans fats), Kelly “moves her homework in” to Manny’s folder (which Gloria thinks is too sudden), and then Kelly tells Gloria that she should let Manny make his own decisions regarding how he drinks his chocolate milk (with a pinch of salt, at Kelly's suggestion).  I thought this was all too hilarious! Manny acts like such an old man; of course he would have a girlfriend who  likea to rush things! But when Manny dumps his mom to go to the movies with Kelly, we find out that the perfect couple isn’t going to be celebrating any anniversaries anytime soon.  Kelly orders for him at the movies and doesn’t approve of his burgundy dinner jacket (which I thought he looked adorable in).  But Manny bounces back, moving on to Alicia, another classmate, as soon as his failed date is over.  His mother is upset that he would just move on so quickly.  I, on the other hand, was quite proud of him.  Last season Manny had trouble talking to girls, now he's a player.  Is this change believable? Not really.  But do I approve? Absolutely!

The theme of this episode, which Phil nicely summed up in the end, (again typical sitcom style) was that nobody loves change (clearly Claire and Gloria have difficulties with it), but life is all about letting things go. Mitchell and Cameron's storyline doesn't quite fit this theme: I didn't really see any change going on.  Overall I guess it was a nice lesson hidden amongst this family's chaos.  But what I really took away from this episode was the fact that chocolate milk + a pinch of salt = tasty treat.  Might have to try that...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Modern Family 101

I love to laugh.  Needless to say this is one of the reasons why I'm excited about the return of ABC's Modern Family. This well-written comedy about family dynamics in the 21st century always made my roommate and I break out into laughter (sometimes to the dismay of our next door neighbors). I'm sure this season will be no different. Before the new season begins (Wednesday, September 22), I think it's only appropriate that I introduce you to the show's basic premise, in what I'll call Modern Family 101.

The sitcom offers a fresh take on an American family living in the 'modern' world.  We get a glimpse into this extended family's somewhat dysfunctional and always hysterical everyday life in the form of a mockumentary.  Revolving around three separate households (comprised of the Dunphy, Pritchett, and Pritchett-Tucker families), Modern Family shows us what happens when two parents attempt to control their three unruly kids, a gay couple adopts a baby, and a grandfather marries a woman half his age.

Phil, Claire, Alex, Haley, and Luke
The Dunphy Household 
Claire and Phil Dunphy are the parents of three children: Haley, Alex, and Luke.  Of the three households, the Dunphy's are the most typical (if there is such a thing).  Claire is clearly in charge of the family, as she is more serious than her husband.  She's struggling to keep her three kids (really four if you include Phil) in place, while dealing with the fact that her father just married a woman who could be her sister. Phil is a goofy guy who means well, but usually screws up in one way or another, and usually ends up embarrassing everyone (although he's oblivious to it).  He's the perfect example of what happens when a dad tries too hard to be "cool."  Haley is the typical teen--she's dense, boy crazy, and not impressed by her parents.  Alex, the middle child, is the smart one. She makes fun of her sister's lack of depth and sees her parents as silly.  You get the feeling that she's constantly rolling her eyes at how ridiculous her family is.  The youngest child, Luke, isn't the brightest crayon in the box, but he's young so it's ok (for now).

Jay, Gloria, and Manny
The Pritchett Household
This home is comprised of Jay Pritchett (Claire's father),  his sexy young wife, Gloria, and Gloria's son from a previous marriage, Manny.  Jay and Gloria are opposites in every way. Jay is white and Gloria is Colombian.  While Jay is more subdued in his old age, Gloria is full of life, which is to be expected when you're so young and hot.  Gloria is gorgeous, showing off her curvaceous figure in bright, tight, revealing clothing (as evidenced by the fact that Phil can't keep his eyes off her...even when his wife is around). Jay on the other hand is not much to look at in his jogging suits. I don't know what Gloria sees in Jay, but it's clear that these two truly love each other, proving that "age ain't nothin' but a number."  Jay is still trying to come to terms with the idea of having a gay son (Mitchell), while also adjusting to the fact that he is once again the father of a young boy (Manny).  Manny is truly one of a kind.  Although in middle school, he carries himself like a middle-aged man.  The kid is more comfortable playing chess than video games. He's intelligent and speaks with great maturity, making most of the adults look like children in comparison.  Not your typical preteen, but he has no problem being himself. He stands out in this crazy family and I love him for it.

Cameron, Mitchell, and Lily
The Pritchett-Tucker Household
Mitchell (Claire's brother) and Cameron are the proud adoptive parents of a baby Vietnamese girl, Lily.  Again we have another couple made up of opposites: Cameron, a stay at home dad, is a drama queen who's in need of attention, while Mitchell, a lawyer, is more serious and cautious.  Cameron is in your face and over the top (singing, dancing, causing a scene), sometimes this annoys Mitchell, but he always gets over it.  This may be a gay couple, but they deal with the same problems as any other couple (from the trials and tribulations of being new parents to disagreements about the way the other dresses).

So there you have it, Modern Family, has a little bit of everything for everyone, which is why each episode is so fun.  It also explains why the show won three Emmys this year for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series and Outstanding Actor for a Comedy Series (Eric Stonestreet, who plays Cameron).

Tune in next Wednesday on ABC for the season premiere, and then tune in here to see what I have to say about this family's crazy antics!