It’s all about the journey on ‘Modern Family’, which is thankfully back after a week’s absence. The new episode is about journeys, preparation, and wielding a BB gun with deadly accuracy.
‘Modern Family’ is a sort of a flashback episode this week. It starts at Manny’s birthday party and then details the ways in which different groups of people arrive there. It gets a little questionable when there’s a flashback within a flashback, but the show can be forgiven one small misstep for the sake of Phil’s ridiculous shirt.
The long and short of it is that everyone is trying to get to Manny’s party, but no one is entirely successful about doing it on time. Gloria has lost her keys, while Manny is depressed about never actually having a childhood. Claire and Phil are racing, and running into their own issues on the way. Cam and Mitchell are victims of Cam’s desire to help out.
The best of these is the branching story between Phil and Claire. The couple is racing in separate cars to see whose way will get them to the restaurant fastest. Each of them gets upset with the kids they’re toting and then finally connects. The scene of Haley, Alex and Phil all bawling in the car together lends itself particularly well to comedy.
In the early stages of the episode, the Cam and Mitchell story feels a little dry, like something we may have already seen before. When a flash mob breaks out in the square they’re in, things feel like they’re getting bad.
Flash mobs are one of those things that writers seem to put into TV shows to prove to the world that they’re hip. When there’s a new fad, it makes it onto a show in some way or another, and it feels incredibly out of place.
‘Modern Family’ just barely avoids that, especially after Cameron’s expositional monologue, since Mitchell joins in on the mob. He jumps in as a way to show Cam that he’s spontaneous, but it backfires.
Twice in the show, Gloria uses a BB gun to instill her will over the men in her life – Manny and Jay. It’s a great gag and I really hope it comes back in the future. Exploring Gloria’s scary side is very worth it.
There’s a lot of quick cutting between the stories, and there’s enough time to let each of them develop well, which has been the one problem with ‘Modern Family’ as of late. Nothing feels rushed, and everyone gets a little time in the spotlight.
Sure, the almost car crash at the end feels a little forced and doesn’t make a lot of sense. And sure, the birthday dinner itself is a lame duck. All these things are true, but this is definitely a great episode anyway.