After an extended absence from your family, is it better to be greeted with barely an acknowledgement, a huge banner-waving greeting, or a sincere hug? Thus, the quandary of Modern Family’s second season.
Do they pull all the punches out of the gate? Do they start off big and glamorous and show off what earned them their Best Comedy Emmy? Eh, there’s something to be said about firing on all cylinders but if you start out on top, the only place to go is down.
Or do they play it safe? Pull something easy and run of the mill? I’m not exactly sure why the creators of Modern Family (or any show besides Two and a Half Men) would do something like that, but hey, we live in a world where Two and a Half Men exists, so we must consider all possibilities.
Or, better yet, do they simply deliver what they constantly brought to us last year: strong characters, believable emotional responses, and twists on classic sitcom jokes? Of course they do, they’re not Two and a Half Men (and yes, the floggings will continue until the show is off the air). This first episode of the second season wasn’t the greatest Modern Family episode ever, but it was solid and showed that the creators haven’t lost sight of what made the program so great in the process.
Theme of the week: Letting go (presented in order of believability)
Manny has a school-boy crush on a girl who comes over to work with him on his homework. Gloria at first pretends she is totally fine with this and not a stereotypical Columbian mother whose heart breaks when their little boy leaves the nest. Of course she gets jealous after Manny decides to do what his friend wants instead of his poor old mother. While Gloria’s responses were over the top, the exchanges were hilarious. Scene of the week goes to the “you’re moving in together?” bit.
Extra credit goes to Sofia Vergara stirring salt into chocolate milk. That right there gave me an Emmy.
By the way, has anyone tried the salt/chocolate milk mix? Sounds disgusting but if Sofia likes it then I’ll give it a shot.
Next we have Claire getting all nostalgic over selling the rusty old family station wagon that has been slowly transforming into a storage unit in their garage. Funny how that station wagon has NEVER been seen before, but I’m sure that wasn’t just for the sake of this episode. Of course when she realizes that it’s about to be gone for good she realizes what it meant to the family and she doesn’t want to see it sold. Awesome bit of physical comedy award goes to the train wreck of getting out of the car. Watching it all slowly dissolve into chaos was pure giggle-inducing fun.
And finally we have Mitchell letting go of the fact that he is not exactly a DIY dad as they try to build a princess castle for Lily. Of course this was silly and of course Jay showed up (Gloria was dealing with Manny so he had to have some where to go). Mitchell has been a whiny brat this whole series; hopefully as the season progresses we’ll get to see instances where he isn’t complaining about something. Also Jay and Cam are very similar (more so than Jay would probably like to admit); shouldn’t they be better friends by now? Last season they bonded over football and they both seem to have a deep understanding of Mitchell, this relationship could and should be followed up in the rest of the season.
But they didn’t completely screw up the story. Having the bird fly in the princess castle? Perfect.
So yeah. Decent first showing for Modern Family. They feel secure in their spot as Wednesday night’s best comedy (not a lot of competition, but still) so they’re not exerting too much effort. But with a lot of young shows fighting for it this year (watch out for Community), they better not get to complacent and forget what got them there.