Thursday, September 23, 2010

Modern Family: "The Old Wagon"

There is one and only one way that I critique a comedic episode of television: by how many times I laugh.  If there are plenty of laughs around an average or even poor story than it is still a good episode.  The quality of the story is what pushes the episode into great territory.  That is why I found last season's iPad episode to be good instead of great.  There were a lot of great quips in a segment that also served as a 22 minute commercial (compared to the actual iPad commercials, the episode feels like a masterpiece).

I say all this because the season premiere of Modern Family was an okay episode.  It had some funny moments but the situations leaned a little too close to the cute and sentimental side.

  • The Dunphy clan sharing old memories of the station wagon.
  • Jay, Cam, and Mitchell building the princess' palace.  Jay coming over to prevent Mitchell from possibly hurting Cam was the only crossover among the families in the episode.  I know they can't do crossovers every episode but the Jay-Mitchell combination seems to be played out the most.
Jay: "That was my Vietnam . . . and I was in Vietnam"
  • Gloria and Manny rehashing what I think we have already seen before.  Well, maybe we haven't seen this exact situation before but it sure emphasized aspects of their characters that have been repeated several times now:  Manny's main goal in life right now is to find a girl that he loves and Gloria has mixed reaction to that girl.

Maybe I am being too hard on the episode as a whole.  But these are the two characters (two of my favorite on all of TV) that deserve to do more than just sit around and say and do things that the audience is expecting.

However, the more I think about what the writers decided to do, the more I realize that this episode was designed to attract new viewers.  Last year's pilot episode was a great piece of TV and the show won Emmys because of it.  So I have feeling ABC has significant say it how the episode would be structured. For that reason, I am confident that this fantastic family comedy will be back on the best of tracks in the weeks to come.

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