These breaks between ‘Modern Family’ episodes are really making the season drag on. It’s strange watching a show weekly for a while, then waiting a few weeks and picking it back up again. Still, this week’s new episode ‘The Musical Man’ was worth the wait.
I’ve said before that I think ‘Modern Family’ is best when it combines humor with a strong emotional tie. Most comedies can get away with goofy episodes that don’t bother with character development or advancing the story, but ‘Modern Family’ set the bar for itself high in the first season.
‘The Musical Man’ is an episode that combines everything great about ‘Modern Family’ into one excellent show. Things start when Phil shows off his new advertisement, which features members of the family and the slogan: “I can’t be satisfied until you’re satisfied.” Right from the get-go, it’s obvious that something’s going to happen with that wordplay.
When the poster is transferred to Phil’s van, it looks less like an ad for a real estate agent and more like one for an escort service, featuring Hailey and Claire on either side. Phil starts getting calls and has to do his best to make sure Claire doesn’t find out. He comments to Alex, “I guess I’ll be seeing you every other weekend.”
Cameron has taken over Luke and Manny’s school musical with much gusto, and has even turned into a bit of a tyrant. He pushes the kids hard to achieve his vision, and generally things go well. There’s a bit of a technical snafu, but the real problem comes when some poor planning and the loss of a cast member results in a large sign that says, “We Love the F-Word.”
The real heart of the episode comes from the interactions between Jay and his brother Donnie. They have a fairly typical relationship – joking around, giving each other a hard time and never talking about anything too deeply. Gloria encourages Jay to get more involved. When he does, he finds out that his brother has cancer.
The reason Donnie never mentioned it isn’t just because of the relationship he and Jay have, but because he didn’t want to be treated differently. He wanted the pranks and the roughhousing to continue. In the end, Jay obliges him in the form of a swift punch to the gut.
The next episode of ‘Modern Family’ comes next week. It will feature the same director as ‘The Musical Man’, and writing by Bill Wrubel, who has been responsible for some very solid episodes.