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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Modern Family ends with "The One That Got Away"

Modern Family: The Complete Second Season     ABC's Modern Family ended their season with "The One That Got Away," as the family prepares for Jay's (Ed O'Neill) birthday party. Cam (Eric Stonestreet) shoves his baby off on Gloria, then helps Manny (Rico Rodriguez) woo a girl. While shopping at the mall, an old friend of Phil's (Ty Burrell) thinks that Gloria (Sofia Vergara) is his wife, which pleases Phil until the friends points out how luck Phil would be to have Claire (Julie Bowen). Claire and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) sneak into their old backyard to recreate a photo, and get trapped in a treehouse by a dog. The Dunphy kids work together to make Jay a touching tribute video. But as Jay has to save the day repeatedly, and more and more things go wrong, he misses out on the birthday he really wants - a quiet fishing trip.

     Hopefully, this will finally put to rest that subplot of Phil being attracted to Gloria. His old friend (guest star Rob Huebel, Childrens' Hospital, Human Giant) helps Phil remember that he has a beautiful, wonderful wife, and he is lucky to be married to her. While it is reasonable that Phil would find a hot woman attractive, he is, at heart, a family man, and once the show got going, it felt a little silly that he would continue to drool over Gloria. There is little doubt that Phil would never act on those impulses, but as he begins to imagine what it would be like, he is brought back to reality. No offense to Gloria, but Phil should continue counting his blessings that he has Claire, and not allow himself to be disracted any more.

     It is always hilarious with Mitchell and Claire get together because, like many adult siblings, they revert to childish behavior, both good and bad. They fight and argue, but they still care about each other, and they don't abandon their sibling when things gets rough. And their jealousy over the new "kid" in their father's life is both authentic and amusing, as they don't really hate Manny, but worry of any lessening of their dad's affection towards them. Their latest scheme, to break into a stranger's back yard, ends hilariously bad, and the two of them hiding in the tree ot very funny. This is classic for the Pritchett "kids," and hopefully they will have more fun adventures next year.

     The Dunphy kids are getting older, and beginning to find, in small doses, ways to appreciate their siblings. Last week's graduation speech is the latest in a pattern of sisterly bonding, but this week, Luke (Nolan Gould) is the one who helps his sisters. The result is surely more appropriate for a present from Luke than from either Haley (Sarah Hyland) or Alex (Ariel Winter). Bottom line, though, is that these three children have just as much chemistry and comedic talent as the much more recognizable adults, and it is with grreat credit to the writers that this is noticed and utilized. I'll take a Dunphy children plot any day.

     Poor Jay. He always seems to get the short end of the stick, but like any great father, he sucks it up to help his children. Even on his own birthday, he is denied the things that bring him pleasure. After a horrible day, in which Jay once again puts his family first, the trying-to-be-thoughtful Manny sets up a boat in the backyard swimming pool. As a direct-to-camera interview reveals, this is far from a satisfying resolution to Jay. But once more, he pretends it's exactly what he wants to make Manny happy. If anyone is looking for a paternal role model on TV, look no further than Jay Pritchett. Ironic, as he also played Al Bundy. Who says O'Neill doesn't have range?

     Modern Family is very popular, and so of course it will return next fall to ABC.

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