Two Guys, a Girl and a TV Set

Three college friends out in the world, filling the void with television…and loving it.

Posts Tagged ‘Modern Family’

“Unplugged” (Modern Family – S2:E5)

Posted by Mr. Feeny on October 20, 2010

Modern Family was back in full force this week. Three evenly funny stories. Great performances and one liners. Thank goodness.

Plot Summary: The Dunphys decide to have a one week ban on technology. Gloria tries to quiet a neighbor’s obnoxious dog (leading to tons of great, simple and subtle one liners from Jay). And Cam and Mitch are worried about getting Lily into preschool. (I don’t even think she’s 2 yet, why does she need preschool?)

Best Moment: Phil gets carried away with offering his kids a prize for lasting the longest without technology, even offering Hayley a new car. He’s positive he and Claire can outlast the others. It ends with Claire hugging him and saying “Honey, don’t take this the wrong way, but I have almost no faith in you.” The ending of this story is also great, with Hayley confessing she spent two days talking into a bar of soap.

MVFM: Gloria. Tremendous.

Top 3 Jokes/Gags:

1) The neighbor comes looking for his dog. Jay, suspecting something covers for Gloria, then asks “What did you do?” Gloria: “You don’t want to know.” Jay (to camera): “Gloria’s grandfather and uncles were butchers, so she’s always had a certain comfort level when it comes to…killing. One time we had this rat.” Flashback. Gloria: “What? First you smash it! (hits with shovel) Then you cut the head off! (again, with shovel)Jay: “It was like nothing to her.” Gloria: “I go to church now.” Jay: “She left the head out there to send a message to the other rats.”

2) Gloria: “You really think that I would kill a dog?” Jay: “Well what I was I supposed to think?” Gloria: “I don’t know. How about, I didn’t kill a dog?” Jay: “Just tell me what you did with it.” Gloria: “…He’s in a better place.” Jay: “That’s what people say when something’s dead.” Gloria: “OK, fine. I took him to a farm, where he has plenty of room to run.” Jay: “That’s the second thing people say when something’s dead.” Gloria: “My hairdresser’s brother has three kids, the live in the country, and they were so happy to have the dog that they gave me a jar of pickles. Is that also what they say when something is dead?” …….. Gloria: “Now the dog is happy, Manny can sleep, and we have pickles.” (made this much better by Gloria pronouncing it peeeeeckles).

3) Cam and Mitchell have been told their unique demographics make them desirable for preschools. At the most prestigious, while waiting for an interviewCam: “Do you think they’re going to let us in?” Mitch: “Cam, relax. We’re queer, we’re here.” A woman and her son walk in saying they have an appointment to interview for the opening. Mitch: “Single white mother. Black child.” Cam: “So what? Lily’s Asian, we’re gay. In the school admissions poker game, we’re the winning hand.” An Indian woman in a wheelchair comes in, and she’s introduced as the other woman’s partner. Mitch and Cam are stunned. Cam: “Disabled, interracial lesbians with an African kicker?” Mitch: “I did not see that coming.”


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“Strangers on a Treadmill” (Modern Family – S2:E4)

Posted by Mr. Feeny on October 13, 2010

Plot Summary: Claire is worried about Phil making a mockery of himself at a banquet, while Mitchell is worried about Cam wearing revealing bike shorts. They agree to tell each other’s significant other the problem. Meanwhile, Jay tries to connect with his workers and Haley coaches her sister on becoming popular.

Best Moment: What I really liked about this episode was how the writers captured all the little unspoken things couples do. The fact that Cameron can get so offended by a look or a single word from Mitchell, because he interprets more. Claire’s laugh to humor Phil while her eyes show the opposite. Gloria’s nudging and guilting. Or even Alex’s accidental “love you” to end a phone call. This show knows how to do family comedy, that’s for sure.

Problem: This isn’t a usual part of my Modern Family recaps, but this was not a very good episode. It seemed disjointed and less humorous than usual. Also, forced. The writers have said they wanted to try and create new character pairings this season. Here, they tackled two. Mitchell and Phil, Cameron and Claire. But I wasn’t buying their interactions. It was too on the nose. And it felt like this wasn’t just the first time we were seeing them together, but also the first time they ever have been.

MVFM: Claire

Top 3 Jokes/Gags:

1) Let me just recap Alex’s phone conversation to her friend who she’s trying to impress, with Haley’s guidance. The girl invited her to a party. Alex: “Haley, I’ve got this..’.Hey…who’s this?'” Haley: “Brilliant.” Alex: “No I didn’t see it. I get a lot of texts.” Haley (fighting back tears): “Ohh, I have a sister.” Alex: “When’s the party? I’ll try and come. You know I’m kind of busy. With a life…you know, stuff. Homework.” Haley: “Uh oh.” Alex: “I mean, not homework.  It’s not work if you love it.” Haley: “Hang up, hang up.” Alex: “Shut up! Not you MacKenzie!” Haley: “Drop the phone and kick it over here!” Alex: “Um, I have to go. I’ll call you later, or you call me later. Love you!” (She hangs up and both girls start screaming in terror).

2) Cam tells Mitchell he can make it up to him by doing his shoulders. He turns around for a back rub. Mitchell pulls out the razor and shaving cream. Oops.

3) Gloria: “You don’t know anyone’s name here.” Jay: “Are you kidding me? Carlos!” (Carlos waves) Gloria: “Lucky guess.” Jay (to camera): “I”m lucky only one turned around.”

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“Earthquake” (Modern Family — S2:E3)

Posted by Mr. Feeny on October 6, 2010

Plot Summary: An Earthquake strikes and everyone reacts differently. Phil scrambles to make it look like he made the repairs Claire wanted. Mitch and Cam try to get out of going to an extravagant party. Gloria and Manny try to guilt Jay when he won’t go to church.

Best Moment: Sad to say, this was not a very good episode. Most of the jokes fell flat. Weren’t very clever at all. Of course, I enjoyed every Phil scene as usual. And the interaction between Mitchell and Cameron was pretty funny as they tried to one up each other in creating excuses.

MVFM: Mitchell

Top 3 Jokes/Gags:

1) Haley: “Dad, can just you please tell Mom I can take a two hour break and go to a party?” Phil (smiling): “No, Ma’am. I’m not stepping into that one. We’re not playing Good Cop/Mom.” (Claire goes from smile to confusion)

2) Haley: “Just cover for me this one time and I’ll…I’ll drive you wherever you want.” Alex: “I want to go to the Museum of Tolerance.” Haley: “Ugh. Fine. How far is Tolerance?”

3) Pepper (Nathan Lane): “I don’t know who I am any more. Who am I? I’m a joke, that’s who.” Cam: “No, you’re not a joke. You’re Pepper Saltzman.”

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“The Kiss” (Modern Family: S2:E2)

Posted by Mr. Feeny on September 29, 2010

Plot Summary: Cam tries to make Mitchell comfortable with kissing in public (in response to all the criticism last year over them not kissing), Jay gets Phil to help with making a printer work while also learning about Columbia from Gloria, and Claire tries to find out about Alex’s possible boyfriend (nice to see Alex get a centric-episode).

Best Moment: Jay calls the Dunphys. Phil answers and says he’ll get Claire, but Jay says “I was calling to talk to you. I need your help.” And Phil lets out a little girly chirp then rushes out of the house because Jay’s never asked for his help. He proceeds to then flaunt his technological knowledge…until it doesn’t work.


Top 3 Jokes/Gags:

1) Claire (with Phil smiling next to her): “Your kids don’t need to know who you were before you had them. They need to know who you wish you were and they need to try to live up to that person. They’re gonna fall short. But better they fall short of the fake you than the real you.” Phil: “Which is why we don’t hide anything.” Claire (quickly): “That is the opposite of what I just said.” Phil (nodding): “I was not listening.”

2) Gloria convinces Jay that a custom in her country is to beat chicken breasts with almighty force while wailing in high pitch screams. Then, to the camera: “I made all that up. That’s not a real custom in Columbia. We’re not lunatics. But you mess with us, and we mess with you. That’s the custom.”

3) When Cameron, sitting on the back of the couch, leans over to kiss Mitchell, he steps out of the way and Cam rolls all the way to the floor (hilarious to watch).

Also, as a note, “the kiss” was really well done. The centerpiece kiss wasn’t actually Cam and Mitch, but they soon kissed in the background with no fanfare. Reminded me of Joss Whedon having Willow and Tara kiss incidentally during the highly dramatic “The Body” episode. He said he purposely waited for that episode so the first lesbian kiss on television (is that true?) wouldn’t be a big deal.

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“The Old Wagon” (Modern Family – S2:E1)

Posted by Mr. Feeny on September 22, 2010

When I’ve got tons of new shows to review, I probably shouldn’t be spending time recapping a sitcom. But I love what CJ does with her How I Met Your Mother posts, and since Modern Family is actually the best comedy on television, I’ve decided to do the same thing each week. I’m going to include a Most Valuable Family Member category, since pretty much this entire Emmy-nominated cast shines every episode, it’d be nice to know who gets the best stuff each episode. Also, since it is a family comedy, the Heartwarming Moment of the episode.

Plot Summary: Phil and Claire debate getting rid of the old station wagon. Cam and Mitchell build a castle for Lily. Manny has a study-date with a crush of his.

Best Moment: Luke tells his mom she looks really pretty in an old picture from the Rose Bowl. He then asks what happened, and Phil says “Well, everyone gets older. Just because parts of your mom aren’t what they used to be, doesn’t mean…” Luke interrupts: “I mean, what happened in the game.” Claire stares Phil down and simply says “we got our butts kicked by Penn State.” But that’s not what makes this the best moment. Phil then says: “The parade was awesome, though. Angela Lansbury was the grand marshal. Good times, she wrote.” Followed by a big grin at the camera. I didn’t think it was possible for me to love Phil more. But he’s an Angela fan! I am going to grow up to be Phil. (Also, apparently Phil is an Oregon fan).

MVFM: Phil

Heartwarmer: The kids laughing and bonding over the car disaster at the end.

Top 3 Jokes/Gags:

1) Phil: “I like to use minimonic devices to help me remember. Like the other day, I met this guy named Carl. Now, I might forget that name. But he was wearing a Grateful Dead t-shirt. What’s a band like the Grateful Dead? Phish. Where do fish live? The ocean. What else lives in the ocean? Coral. Hello, Coral.” <beat> Claire: “I think it’s pneumonic.” Phil: “Nah. I think I’d remember.”

2) Mitchell: “Dad, remember how much fun we had when we built that bookcase together?” <beat> Jay (to camera): “That was my Vietnam. And I was in Vietnam.”

3) As the car starts to roll away, Phil keeps jumping on top of the hood and flopping about. Claire: “What’s the plan Phil?!” Phil: “At least I’m trying to do something!”

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Some Random Thoughts on the Emmys

Posted by Mr. Feeny on September 1, 2010

It’s only the biggest night in television. I should probably mention it.

Overall, I thought it was an excellent ceremony. The winners were mostly surprising and/or deserving. The pace was upbeat. Some moments were particularly funny. Definitely one of the best award ceremonies I’ve seen in quite a while. Of course, there were no moments that could compare to this or this, which won an Emmy…but still, a good night.

My man crush is not likely to end soon

That was actually my biggest gripe with the show. That Neil Patrick Harris didn’t host it. Seriously, he was fantastic last year in hosting both the Tonys and Emmys. So fantastic, in fact, that they gave him the opening number on the Oscars this year. So, when Jimmy Fallon opens up this year’s show with an extended song (a Glee parody); and then does a whole singing montage for 24, Lost, and Law & Order; and intros each genre with a song…well, I couldn’t help but wonder why they didn’t get an actual singer to host if they wanted to employ so much music (I know the answer…it was on NBC this year, not NPH’s network…but still). It doesn’t excuse the Tonys from using Sean Hayes.

Some of my favorite moments:

– I did enjoy Fallon’s opening Glee parody. Sure, it’s been done before. But it perfectly encapsulated the big stories from this year in television. Hurley was a member of the glee club, Betty White taught Jon Hamm dirty dance moves, and Kate Gosslin got made fun of. That was Television 2009-2010.

– I loved the Modern Family skit, featuring George Clooney. I’ve linked to it in our video player on the right. Props to NBC for doing an extended segment on another network’s show (which rightfully won Best Comedy over Glee)

– Best speech of the night goes to Edie Falco, winner of Best Lead Actress in a Comedy. Her new show, Nurse Jackie, is inexplicably categorized as a comedy. She clearly didn’t understand why either, saying “This is the most ridiculous thing [in the history of the Emmys]…I’m not funny!”  Good for her.

He clowned around all season

– I was shocked that Eric Stonestreet won for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy. I thought for sure the three Modern Family nominees would split their votes and NPH would get his third win this year (also won for Guest Actor for Glee), but Stonestreet pulled it out. He’s fantastic, but my pick would have been Ty Burrell as Phil. That scene in the garage where he’s trying to find something on the top shelf…that’s comedy gold on its own.

Acting Excellence

– To anyone who hasn’t watched Breaking Bad…yes, Brian Cranston deserves three Emmys for his performance. Yes, Aaron Paul (aka Michael Buble impersonator) deserves an Emmy for his. And the show should have beaten Mad Men for Best Drama.

– Did everyone else like the pace of this year’s telecast? I was initially upset that each category went all at once, but I thought it moved really well. And Al Pacino and Tom Hanks helped keep the mini-series/movie categories at the end watchable.

It’s a few days late, so I don’t need to go into every little thought. But if you have more, please share!

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“Coal Digger” (Modern Family – S1:E5)

Posted by Mr. Feeny on October 26, 2009

Plot Summary: Everyone’s getting together at Jay and Gloria’s to watch football and have a barbeque. Gloria and Claire get into a big fight when Gloria finds out Claire didn’t trust her marrying Jay.

Great Moment: Just the fact that the focus of the episode was on Big Ten football. That’s what I’m talking about! Ohio State vs. Illinois. The Illinibuck. A weird looking turtle. They could have made mention to that hilarious rivalry trophy, but it probably would have been too football-geared. Most people wouldn’t get it. They didn’t even use real players…but I guess that’s understandable.  But I love that this is a Midwestern show with Illinois connections…hopefully they’ll be a Northwestern reference down the road!

Nice Aspect of Episode: Although episodes 2-3 were great, they really created an A plot and two B plots. The Shelley Long episode from last week and last night’s football episode went back to what the show started as. The entire family getting together for one big plot. I think this show works well either way.

Top 3 Jokes/Gags:

  1. Cameron: “I collect antique fountain pens. I’m quite adept at Japanese flower arrangements. Ikebana. And I was the starting offensive lineman at the University of Illinois. (pause, camera pans out) Surprise!”
  2. Mitchell: (after referencing West Side Story) “I’m a musical theatre fan.” Cameron: (sarcastically) “Surprise!”
  3. Cameron: “Let’s Go Illini!” Jay: “Oh, looks like I gotta watch the game with Dick Butkus.” Mitchell: (taken aback) Dad! Come on, that’s offensive.” Cameron: “Mitchell, he’s one of the greatest linebackers to ever play at Illinois, and one of my personal heroes.” Mitchell: “And his name is ‘Butt-kiss’? And we’re just choosing to…ok, alright. Dad, I thought you were being homophobic. I’m sorry.” Jay: “Got all night.” Mitchell: (dreading) “Yes we do.”

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“Come Fly With Me” (Modern Family – S1:E3)

Posted by Mr. Feeny on October 13, 2009

Plot Summary: This one’s mostly about bonding with different family members. Phil with Jay, who doesn’t seem to like Phil at all. Claire with Manny, who are technically step-siblings. And Alex with Gloria, who’s technically her step-grandmother.

Great Moment: When Mitchell and Cameron are recapping how they met, they talk about their first game of charades. With just a single hand motion (piano playing), Cameron guessed “Casablanca” without missing a beat. And they keep reliving it. This hits home for me because I constantly recap great moments in my game playing career. They’re like my own Web Gems.

Top 3 Jokes/Gags:

  1. Mitchell: (upon discovering the joys of Costco) “Oh my God. Look at these diapers. Look how cheap they are. (gasp) You know what we should do? We should get enough for the next year or two, right?”  Cameron: “Where would we keep them?” Mitchell: (thinking) “They sell sheds.” Cameron: “Really. You want to buy a diaper shed. We’re those guys now? The guys with the diaper shed?” Mitchell: (with two huge boxes) “Just grab two more.”
  2. Phil (watching a baseball game with his daughter’s boyfriend): “So, that guy is the tying run. Interesting story about him. He’s been stuck on second base forever and I’m pretty sure he’s gonna try to steal third, which is just a terrible, terrible idea. How are you and Haley doing?”
  3. Claire: “You can borrow a dress of Haley’s again.” Alex: “No. That sends an ugly message…that I’m Haley.”

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The Modern Family: Premiere Review

Posted by CJ Cregg on September 23, 2009

Three different families air their allegedly comedic laundry on The Modern Family.  First off, I can’t quite get a grasp on the format of the show.  There are scenes of action, and then interview type scenes.  As if the couples were talking to a marriage counselor.  But there is no marriage counselor or interviewer.  So why these scenes?  I don’t get it.

The nuclear family struggles over their teenage daughter’s short skirts while the dad tries way too hard to be cool.  Another family consists of a spicy latina and an older, frumpy man.  (I think gold digger is the implication here.)  Two gay men make up the final family, and they’ve just adopted a baby from Vietnam.  The families didn’t all get together until the last five minutes of the show as the gay couple introduce their new baby.  (Apparently they’re all related in some way?  I missed that part.)  But I still can’t get figure out what the point of this show is.  What are they trying to do?  Is it a drama with continuing plot?  Or a comedy?  Or is this show just supposed to be snapshots in American life?

Just not funny.  At all.  That’s about all I need to say about this show.  The dad attempting to speak in text lingo and be all “hip” just made me cringe.  And not because I thought it was funny.  Because it was trying waywaywaywayway too hard to be funny.  The scenes are shot in an interesting way.  Jerky shots.  As if the show is trying to be funny and edgy, like The Office or something, but it just isn’t.  They frequently cut away very quickly from last lines that are supposed to be clever.  Like they’re trying to make it a fast-moving comedy.  But it just feels forced.  I really think they want this show to be The Office but with families.  Now I don’t watch The Office regularly, but the few episodes I’ve watched were actually funny.  I didn’t laugh once during this show.

What really gets me, though, is that we don’t actually learn anything about the relationships between the three couples.  For a show about families, all the characters are SO flat and one-dimensional.  This is why I have no interest in watching the show further.

Grade: F

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