‘Modern Family’ Gets Its Gun

During this week’s rerun, everyone in the Modern Family is trying to get to Manny’s birthday party on time, but some are moving slower than others. They struggle through flat tires, adulterous senior citizens, missing keys, and a near four-car crash. The laughs are decidedly sparse, and as is custom with Modern Family, when the funny dies down only Sofia Vergara shines. Considering the last few weeks have been pretty hilarious, this week was a disappointment.

Sofia Vergara, Ed O'Neill, and Rico Rodriguez in ABC's "Modern Family."

Cam and Mitchell are back to fighting after attempting to schmooze their way into a new restaurant in their neighborhood last week. Mitchell attempts to rush Cam through the mall, and Cam keeps stopping to jump up on his “life is about spontaneity” soapbox. Somehow, Mitchell comes off as an uptight ass and Cameron comes off as a flamboyant nut simultaneously. The show points out their radical differences so frequently that as this third of the show starts to deliver another tedious story line, I have to wonder, “What’s the point?” Phil and Claire argue sometimes and have obviously different personalities, but they have just as many sweet moments as they do rough ones. It seems like Cam and Mitchell are always stepping on each other’s toes and arguing about life philosophies. At the end of the episode, it looked like they might take a turn as Mitchell performed a dance in a flashmob (definitely a fun and timely thing to throw in there) as his “love letter to Cam,” but Cameron stormed off afterward, throwing yet another temper tantrum. These two rarely make it work, and this week was unfunny to boot.

Meanwhile, Phil and Claire get into an argument over whose route to the party is faster and decide to drive both cares in a typical competition. Phil takes the girls, and Claire drags Luke into her minivan by his hoodie. It’s good pacing of the show to see them competitive again after last week’s anniversary sex and their bonding over horrible movies the week before. “You know that look Mom gets when she knows she’s going to be right?” Phil says to the girls as he speeds to the party. “You mean her face?” Hayley returns. That girl is the master of the deadpan. She uses it to great success several times an episode. Claire goes into a panic as she realizes that Luke thinks Phil is more fun than her. She insists that she was fun too once, before she met Phil. “You can’t have two fun parents.” It’s a funny truth that often goes unsaid, and Claire, too, steps on the gas pedal to speed to the party as Luke cheers her on. The Dunphy portion of the show employs quiet humor and some of Phil’s family camp craziness this week, but I missed Luke “teaching” with a water gun and Alex scrubbing her eyes out at the kitchen sink after walking in on her parents “doing it.”

And finally we have Gloria, Jay, and Manny. Manny is busy mixing soda, making prank calls, and attempting to skateboard as he panics that he is too grown up. Gloria can’t find her keys, and Jay, frustrated, makes a crack at her lack of organizational skills–“Why conveniently hang your keys on the hook shaped like a key?” Gloria, who apparently once left her cellphone in the fridge, insists that either Jay moved them or someone stole them, as they did the extra set of keys they have already lost, all while Jay shakes his head. The ironic twist, of course, is that the keys ARE in Jay’s coat, and he stealthily slips them back into Gloria’s purse and suggests she check it again. Gloria knows something is up, and when Jay won’t come clean and Manny won’t get off his inflatable raft in the pool, she gets the BB gun Jay gave Manny for his birthday and shoots the raft, all the while yelling in Spanish. The men hop to, Jay telling Manny, “Vaminos.” It’s at least half of a good episode when Gloria scares Jay into speaking Spanish.

Manny: “You could have shot me!”

Gloria: “Come on, Manny, I could have unbuttoned your shirt if I wanted to.”

Where is that woman’s Emmy?

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