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.