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.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lies and Earthquakes

Family members show their true colors when an earthquake hits...and it's not pretty.

Mitchell and Cam use the earthquake as an excuse to get out of going to their friend Pepper’s (played by Nathan Lane) ridiculous costume party.  Even when they do try to admit that they just didn’t want to go, they revert back to lying.  I'm not sure why they wouldn’t just come out with the truth.  You expect me to believe that these two men would rather tear their house apart than tell Pepper that they aren't interested in his weird parties? I'm not buying it! Pepper was just annoying and gave no reason as to why Mitch and Cam should spare his feelings.This really just seemed like a poor attempt to get Mitch and Cam to dress up like fools. 

Meanwhile, during the earthquake, a bookcase almost falls on Luke because Phil never got around to anchoring it to the wall...even though he told Claire he did (no suprise there). Phil doesn’t want Claire to know, so he keeps her locked in the bathroom while he anchors the bookcase AND pulls Alex in to cover up his lies. Great parenting on his part.

Against Gloria’s wishes, Jay goes golfing instead of going tochurch.  Even after the drama of the earthquake, Jay is determined to hit the green.  Unbelievably, the ever so spiritual Manny decides to go with him (even more unbelievable is the fact that Gloria allows this to happen).  On the golf course Manny starts asking Jay all types of questions about what heaven is like (he’s clearly shaken by the earthquake). Clearly, Jay is the last person Manny should be asking: it’s obvious Jay is just making the stuff up as he goes, and it all just upsets Manny who starts hyperventilating and saying things like “you’re playing pretty fast and loose with my soul.”  I love this kid's lines.

Honestly, this episode had a few funny moments (mostly because Manny is funny), but this week the show just wasn’t up to par.  The family just looked like a bunch of liars, and it wasn’t attractive or even that comical.  Hopefully, next week we'll see the family in a better, funnier light.