Apparently one of the few complaints with Modern Family last season was that Mitchell and Cam, while gay and in love, never showed affection toward each other by way of kissing. I, myself, never noticed this and took no offense to it (and yes, the view is great up here on my horse), but it bothered enough people that the producers vowed to change that.
Thus, The Kiss.
And of course, this episode made a big deal about it but chose to spotlight this in a realistic manner that was already established within the character’s personalities. Basically, they did it in a way that makes sense. Cam, being over the top and dramatic as always, tries to kiss Mitchell in a clothing store. Mitchell is embarrassed by the display of affection and Cam takes offense. Bicker bicker bicker. “You don’t display affection.” “You’re too needy.” “This is just like you!” “No one kisses in a bowling alley!” Fantastic dialogue.
Eventually this all comes back to Jay and his inability to show affection compounded with his uncomfortableness with Mitchell’s homosexuality. And if there is anything we have learned in the past twenty years or so, it is ALWAYS the parents fault. Thanks Mom and Dad! So dear Jaime Foxx, you got it wrong. We blame it on the pa-a-a-a-a-rents.
Anyway, Mitchell, Cam, Gloria, and Claire confront Jay and his inability to show affection, but he counters with HIS own lack of affection from his old man. But, of course, Jay learns his lesson and gives Mitchell a peck on the cheek which allows him to finally show Cam some love with a quick kiss. And that was it. We had to make an uproar to see that kiss? Seriously? I mean, that was the most anti-climatic kiss of all time. It was worse than that one kiss in Jennifer’s Body. That kiss was just a dull, ordinary smooch from people who are comfortable with themselves and their partner. It was basically the kiss that normal couples give each other when they love the other person and was so boring and wasn’t different than any kiss my dad gave my mom on his way to work. Wait, a second. I feel a moral lesson coming up. What is it? I almost… have it… Yes! Got it! Gay guys are boring kissers! That must be what they were wanting to show. Good job ABC!
In the other plot lines, we got the rest of the family dealing with affection. Claire overbears on Alex, who is finally showing some interest in boys. Claire gets Haley to manipulate Alex into confessing her interest but Haley starts to question Claire’s supposed good-girl past. This eventually dissolves into my favorite type of argument when everyone is mad at everyone else and all for good reasons. Needless to say, my family arguments are a-ma-zing. Eventually Alex confronts the boy and confesses her desire to kiss him. In front of his entire soccer team and she does the only thing one can really do in a situation like that. Run away. Fast. Claire confesses that she used to get into shenanigans herself to help Alex cope with the onslaught of embarrassment that awaits her tomorrow, which she’ll get over in ten to fifteen years.
Phil’s desire to win over Jay was the epitome of what sets Modern Family apart from the typical family sit com. The flashback to Phil beatboxing for Jay? Perfect with Jay’s comeback of “you spit on me.” Then when Phil tries to teach him the most degrading song in the world to print a picture, Jay threatens to beat him over the head. In a more traditional sitcom, his response would have been drawn out and slightly over the top (if done well by traditional standards) but here Ed O’Neill plays it subtle. With no laugh track, the joke is kept to a minimum time but it has the maximum impact. Everyone knew how funny this joke was (kinda funny but nothing worth tweeting about) so they delivered it and moved on to the next one. Modern Family knows they have a lot of great material, they know to keep it moving.
Finally we have Jay making fun of Gloria’s traditions. Gloria takes advantage of Jay wanting to make it up to her (after all, you would not want a woman like Gloria mad at you) and Jay’s lack of cultural awareness by making him do the most ridiculous things. This directly and indirectly led to three of my favorite things from this episode. First was the pairing of Manny and Luke. We need more of Luke and Manny. Then we got Jay slapping the chicken and yelling, which sounds very very dirty. And eventually we got Gloria stirring. With her chocolate milk last week and the from behind stirring this week, Modern Family is a veritable .gif making machine. And this week they definitely knew what they were getting into when Jay called Gloria out on it. She gets him back by making him wear his shoes around his neck. Gloria showed some very cunning skills with her little traditions. Can’t wait to see more of that.
So Modern Family is back in fine form. This was definitely a step up from the first episode and if we can get more of nauseous Phil, then life will be sweet.