Modern Family was one of last year’s breakout hits, and, while the quirkiness of this extended family is no longer new, this season still has more good episodes than bad, with some greatness here and there.
Was this one of the great episodes? Maybe not, but it was certainly a good one. One weakness I would say the show has is, every once in a while, it short shrifts one family in favor of the other two, or–often–the Dunphy family storyline dominates the entire episode. This ep didn’t do that.
You could argue that there were three plots as usual. However, I’m more of the opinion that there were two main storylines in this episode.
The A-story centered on (as it often does) the Dunphy family. I get it. They’re the “normal” family. It’s easy for mainstream America to relate to them. They also have the most members, so hijinks are always nigh.
This week, the Dunphy story had two parallel streams. In one, Claire and Phil disagree with their son’s development and possible need for a psychiatrist. In the other, the two girls spend an afternoon together, unwittingly discovering truths about each other and having a After School Special heart-to-heart after vandalizing school property.
The B-plot was an interconnected story between the Pritchett-Tucker family and the Pritchett family. Mitch and Cam are editing their will and realize the need to choose a just-in-case guardian for Lily. While considering Jay and Gloria, the two lovebirds accompany Jay and Manny to a camping store where they witness Jay’s tough love.
Two small, but important, side plots include Cam’s increasingly humorous suggestions of increasingly deranged relatives as Lily’s guardian, and Jay and Manny’s heartfelt discussion of strength and support.
The talk between Jay and Manny rang true and felt true, which only served to highlight the relative inexperience of Sarah Hyland, whose lack of emotion made her scene with Ariel Winter ring false to me. I still can’t get over Ed O’Neill not getting an Emmy nod last year. Sacrilege.
The episode, in a word, worked. Pacing was good, jokes elicited laughs, plots were predictable but believable. As always, the episode concluded with a happy ending. The show’s not subversive, it’s not out to challenge you, it’s here to entertain, give you a few laughs, and warm the cockles of your heart once a week. What more can we ask for?