‘This is uncomfortable.’
S02E12 So much of this week’s Modern Family dealt with the uncomfortable that I’m not sure how well it worked. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy uncomfortable and awkward comedy (what up Extras), but it’s time and place is not with this show. Modern Family works best when it ends on sentiment and heart, not with a cringe.
‘Okay, let’s slow down. You’re nice people, we’re nice people. But let’s be honest, we’ve all tried to do that thing where we try to force that friendship that isn’t really there.’
Best example – Jay and Gloria’s story. They get a surprise visit from a couple they met on vacation that somehow managed to track them down. Never mind that this couple just shows up unannounced and Gloria lets them stay the night (that odd story would’ve been more entertaining, but whatever), Jay doesn’t like them and eventually tells them to their face. Embarrassed, Gloria lies to them explaining that Jay is so old he is off his rocker.
The story ends with the family leaving (by the way, good to see Mad TV’s Stephanie Weir again. Never really liked her skits too much, but I always appreciated the lengths she was willing to go) and Jay dribbling OJ on his shirt thanks to Manny. All the humor from this story came from miscommunication and since the only way out of that conflict would be Gloria explaining what she did to Jay (which would’ve been very not funny), it just ended. Not the best story of the week. But we did get Gloria in a silk nightie, so we’re not completely complaining about it.
‘You’re so gay you can’t even think of real girl’s names.’
For all my talk of Modern Family having no heart and sentiment this week, Cam and Mitch’s story had a very touching moment in the middle. Cam had just met Mitch’s high school girlfriend (after accidentally running into her at the mall) and Mitch spotted her with what looked like an 8 year-old redheaded son. Cam was appropriately (and hilariously) shocked to find this out. The next morning they reconciled in a very loving and mature manner that beautifully showed how real this relationship is.
‘You naughty little girl.’
‘Well, you know, that’s what happens when you give me Kahlua.’
But then things got very awkward when they went over to the ex-girlfriend’s house and discovered not a child, but a little person. While this is delightfully squirmy, come on. Did you really expect Mitchell to have a love child? What would that have done to the series as a whole? It would completely mess up the dynamic of the show. And after all, sitcom rule states that everything has to be reset to zero at the end of the show. Modern Family wouldn’t do that to us. But it was still funny so I’ll get off my soap box now.
‘I keep picturing all those Sanjays.’
The Claire and Phil story didn’t have as much awkward humor as the other two (how could you when you’re gleefully going to see a movie called Croctopus?) but it still dealt in the negative aspect of things. Claire and Phil get worried when Alex is so focused on beating this certain kid at school that when they see said kid’s parents at the movies going to see some boring foreign film, they go to see it too. Claire falls asleep and Phil goes and sees the 3D splatter fest. And in the end they realize that they don’t care, Alex is a great kid despite how stupid they may be.
So while their story’s humor might not have come from basic miscommunication (like the other two), it still was based in negativity. Modern Family works best when it ends in the positive. Humor can definitely be found when things go wrong, but Modern Family set its own standards in the first season by ending on the up swing. I’m not saying this episode wasn’t funny (because it was) but that Modern Family needs to find its core again.
Well, Modern Family also needs to include the kids more because after this week’s noticeable absence of most of the younger generation the humor suffer. Bring back Luke!