Modern Family – The Musical Man – Episode review

Didn’t Modern Family already do an episode where the was a huge mix-up over a sign that caused a bit of strife in the Dunphy household?

I mention that past episode because even when Modern Famiuly is repeating itself a little, it manages to get the laughs. This time round, it was because Phil created an advert to put on his car and which backfired…mostly because it looked like he was pimping out his wife and eldest daughter.

And despite the simplicity of the gag, the writers managed to milk it for everything it was worth, even tying in Claire’s dissatisfaction and being ‘over the hill’ in with how good she felt that the local perverts thought she was hot. It’s funny where some people get their affirmation from.

The plot that earned the episode title was Cameron’s takeover of the local school play. This was a remarkably damp squib, full of obvious gags. But it did deliver two rather funny moments:

  • Cam assuring Mitchell that those kids would remember him Sondheim-izing them for years to come, and
  • Mitchell storming out the side door to rant all the things he was dying to say to Cam’s face…but had promised he wouldn’t. Hilarious!

I adored the storyline where Jay’s brother came to stay, showing a fraternal side to Jay that we never get to see. He and his brother communicate in a language of headlocks and practical jokes, which Gloria decides is inadequate and urges Jay to talk seriously to his brother for once.

Of course, their relationship worked perfectly well as a series of play fights and Gloria’s advice leads to Jay discovering his brother has cancer. And while the whole subplot doesn’t really conclude in any dramatic way, it’s a touching and funny take on this latter-years fraternal bond. And a reminder that Jay was probably a much rougher, gruffer character in his formative years, which in itself shows how perfectly nuanced this show is to recognize the mellowing in Jay as he’s gotten older.

It’s funny, I’ve fallen off the wagon with a lot of shows this year – out of boredom or just a feeling that television isn’t serving the audience very well lately – but Modern Family always feels good to return to with lovingly crafted and hilariously acted characters.

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