Modern Family freshened up its humor this week. It played on dynamics that work but stepped away from the recycled jokes that have kept episodes from being truly funny lately. You could tell it was at least a semi-decent episode by the fact that Sofia Vergara was not its star.
For starters, it seems like the show has finally realized how to best employ Haley–in small but regular doses. She’s mad Alex is wearing her favorite sweater, and as payback she threatens to wear Alex’s “favorite nerdy shirt with the guy from Back to the Future on it.”
“That’s Albert Einstein! And it’s not nerdy!” Alex shrieks.
The sisters have always had a good dynamic, but they’re only funny when together and in short clips. This episode used that perfectly. Luke was no where to be seen, but he’s only ever funny with Phil, sometimes Claire, and apparently Cam.
Phil spends the episode using about-to-expire spa gift certificates he and Claire bought at a charity auction, because Claire doesn’t have the time and if he doesn’t “all their money will actually go to charity.” When the ladies at the spa overhear Phil being unsupportive toward Claire, they give him a harsh talking to in how to make a woman feel appreciated. Claire being the spouse with the pants is nothing new, but Modern Family used this dynamic to its benefit at the episode’s end with Phil hanging his own head like an unappreciated housewife.
Jay struggles with the idea that Gloria will have a life after him when they visit a crypt to secure resting places for themselves. Manny sympathizes because he is now a dating a girl 13 months his junior. “Today, I made a joke about The Wiggles…it went right over her head.” Manny and Jay might have the most hilarious relationship of any two characters on this show–adding them together always makes them infinitely more funny than their jokes with Gloria or on their own. They are half father-son, half buddies, and it is both funny and sweet to watch.
Mitchell starts off the episode attempting to ignore Cameron’s “descent into flights of lunacy.” Mitchell, Cameron has been in a flight of lunacy this whole season. Cameron is essentially a lunatic. You couldn’t put his name on Lily’s birth certificate because you were afraid his lunacy was going to make him ditch parenting.
I thought maybe we were just going to spend their portion of the episode dealing with Cam clapping every time anyone said “adoption” (to keep Lily from being a hooker), but don’t worry, it only took a second scene for them to get into another fight. Mitchell didn’t hyphenate Lily’s last name, he just stuck Cameron’s name in the middle. To be fair, that was a pretty legitimate issue, but could we just get one episode without Cameron and Mitchell fighting? Or at least have them make up like a real couple?
And that is still the most sad-faced baby panda I have ever seen.