Modern Family – Up All Night (S01E11), episode review

Eleven episodes into the first series of Modern Family, and I realise that I haven’t once written a review of it! Needless to say, I’m a huge fan. There’s something about this series that’s utterly daft, but insightful, warm and funny at the same time.

If you’re not familiar with Modern Family yet, it revolves around three branches of the same family – the father Jay Pritchett (married late in life to younger, hotter Gloria) and his children Claire and Mitch. Claire is a mother of three with possibly the geekiest husband ever, while Mitch is living with his partner, the flamboyant Cameron. Mitch and Cameron have adopted a Vietnamese daughter.

Recap

Anyway, tonight’s episode – a welcome return for the show after a Christmas break – features the return of Gloria’s ex-husband, the suave charming and utterly unreliable Javier. Having witnessed how many times Javier has let his son Manny down, Jay is ready to square up to him and tell him a few home truths. But after a charm offensive from Javier, Jay is suddenly converted. However, it doesn’t take long before Jay is the one waiting for Javier to pick him up and is left disappointed when Javier fails to show.

In the Dunphy household, feckless Phil has a sudden onset of kidney stones. While he’s preparing the family for his untimely demise, (“There is a scenario where you could be the man of the house, and you need to know all the PIN numbers and passwords.”) his wife is busy glamming herself up for the firemen who’ll come to take him to hospital. (Do firemen really pick up patients and take them to hospital in America?)

This causes upset for poor old Phil, who immediately realises that his wife’s – mighty fine – cleavage is more prominent than it was just a few minutes ago. He decides to use this against her and make her feel guilty. Until the end of the episode, when he’s outed for flirting with an entire family of busty blondes!

Least hilarious of all was the storyline where Mitch and Cam tried to use the Ferber Method on their daughter. This is where you let the baby cry itself to sleep. It’s a horrible, horrible thing, and having just come out of our baby-making stage of life, watching Cam’s struggle not to go in and comfort Lily was frustrating.

Now, it must be said, I’m a red-blooded guy, and Sofia Vergara (who plays Gloria) and Julie Bowen (who plays Claire) are two of the hottest mamas on the small screen. Vergara’s voluptious figure and her Colombian accent are a major part of why this show is a big hit with me. Anyway, time to stop drooling…

I thought I’d share this minor criticism, voiced by the television critic Alan Sepinwall, about the use of documentary style footage in the show:

Also, I’d like them to decide on a consistent plan for the documentary framework (or whatever it is, since the characters don’t usually react to the cameras the way people on “The Office” or “Parks and Recreation” do). Phil’s talking head about his “golden ticket” clearly took place after he left the hospital – and, therefore, after he had already lost the ticket because Claire got a look at the hot blonde sisters – yet Ty Burrell played the first half of it like he still had metaphorical possession of the thing.

While he makes a great point, I’ve seen a ton of reality TV shows where the individual talking has clearly been ‘manufactured’ in the same way that Phil’s piece was. It doesn’t bother me much, but it does break the believability of the show for a moment or two.

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