Valentine’s Day returns to Modern Family as two of our three main couples struggle with intimacy in a generally solid episode.
Let’s bitch it out…
It’s a Modern Family tradition to bring out Phil (Ty Burell) and Claire’s (Julie Bowen) fake personas for the love holiday. Unfortunately this year our time with Clive Dixby and Juliana is cut short as Claire passes out from a genetic heart condition before their romantic blimp ride and figure skating adventures. I know that I’d been looking forward to the return of these two “characters” as I’ve always enjoyed Phil’s terrible Dixby come-ons, and watching Claire get surprisingly turned on by his doofus antics. I can’t say that the ultimate punchline – Claire and Phil end up bloodied after he suffers a nosebleed while they make-out prompting the kids to freak out – works for me because a) it’s gross and b) how would Claire not notice that she is covered in blood? Still, this is easily the “funniest” of the three vignettes, if only for the silliness of the writing.
If the first part is the funniest, then the second is the most heartfelt. In what amounts to a one-joke premise, Jay (Ed O’Neill) and Gloria (Sofia Vergara) are desperate to rip off each other’s clothes and get bizzay after six weeks of sexlessness since the birth of baby Joe. It’s a super relatable topic for new parents, which also makes it feel a little easy and simple as a storyline. Distractions and complications arise each time they inch closer to copulation before the two ultimately give into their parental desires rather than their carnal ones. The result is a touching moment as they each call their respective kids: Jay calls Claire to check on her post-hospital and Gloria telephones Manny (Rico Rodriguez), who may be getting punked by the cool kids. It’s sweet and proves a nice pay-off in an otherwise “okay” segment.
Which leaves Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet) with the dud storyline. While not terrible by any measure, the repeated reveals of crazy things that Mitch did while in liquid-fun mode feel oddly reminiscent of the Gloria/Jay storyline. It’s simply one thing after another without changing the punchline. I’ve long felt that Modern Family focuses far too much on a single kind of comedy or joke and Cam & Mitch’s piece suffers in comparison because it bears too much resemblance to Gloria & Jay’s and follows immediately afterwards.
With that said, the “pink cougar” and stolen reindeer decorations are far funnier than the “joke” about inviting Dylan (Reid Ewing) to live with them. Falling off the roof and getting told off by Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons)? Not tickling my funny bone.
Still…2 out of 3 ain’t bad.
- Now that Lily is older it seems that the show has very little idea what to do with her, no? She’s the living equivalent of Where’s Waldo: she’s like a miniature day-player who randomly appears in scenes without much purpose, delivers a limp zinger and walks away
- Did something happen to Reid Ewing? Because he looks kinda gaunt and weird
- I’m not one for animal cruelty, but the sight of the dyed pink cat ias pretty amusing. Side note: kool-aid can’t just be washed out. That cat should be pink for a good long while
- While I appreciate the chronological format for consistency’s sake, is there any purpose for it? Aside from the need to hire a babysitter for Lily, these stories are fairly independent of one another
- Finally, how many jokes are at the expense of Phil mistakenly saying something that makes him sound gay? This feels like a continuation of a joke the writers found hilarious in 4×08 ‘Mistery Date’ but I imagine longtime viewers can confirm that it likely goes back way further? I have a love-hate reaction as some of the lines are so over-the-top that they’re funny, but it still seems like the joke is that he’s simply talking about “gay stuff”, which isn’t very funny at all
- Phil (tying a cherry stem hands-free): “I can make any kind of knot. It’s like I have a sailor in my mouth.”
- Phil (requesting Claire order them massages): “Just you me and a couple of Cambodian guys to work us over.”
- Claire (after Alex passes out at the sight of Claire covered in blood): “Hailey, revive your sister.”
- Gloria (getting increasingly turned on watching Jay do mundane things): “And the drilling…so much drilling”
- Mitch (to Cam): “Okay come on – don’t act like you’ve never had a couple of cocktails and dyed a cat pink with cherry kool-aid”
Which vignette did you prefer? Do you, like me, find Cam and Mitch to be the least funny of the three main couples in general? Is there any funny to be found in Lily’s future? Hit the comments below
Modern Family airs Wednesdays at 9pm EST on ABC