Modern Family’s Season 2 premiere: The Old Wagon (S02E01)

Wednesday night looks set to be one for the family, as [[Modern Family (TV Series)|Modern Family]] follows the wonderful [[Cougar Town (TV Series)|Cougar Town]]. How good was it to see the Dunphys back again? Jay and Gloria? Mitchell and Cam? I’ve got the warm and fuzzies just thinking about this episode!

Rapid-fire Recap: From the outset, the Modern Family season première had me chuckling along with every slapstick gag or withering comment from a character. The episode features the Dunphys planning to sell off an old station wagon, but ending up nostalgic about the old banger and going for one last drive in it. Gloria becomes clingy Colombian mother when Manny invites over a girl from school and Cameron and Jay conspire to keep Mitchell away from power tools.

This show expertly balances visual comedy with hilarious dialogue (usually attributed to Phil), and this was most evident when Cam, calling himself a regular Joe, tells Jay that he prefers Champaign Dijon to standard jello. The withering look Jay gives to the camera is almost funnier than Cam’s statement.

Gloria’s (Sofia Vergara) borderline breakdown over Manny’s (Rico Rodriguez II) girlfriend was beautiful – no-one likes being talked down to by a precocious schoolkid, but I thought Gloria might snap when the girl suggested putting salt in chocolate milk. Incidentally, watching Sofia Vergara stir things is quite hypnotic.

The Dunphys have a brilliant storyline as they wallow in automotive nostalgia. Of course, the climax of that piece is when Luke gets sick in the backseat and the family clamours to get out of the broken down old car. Phil spits up his milkshake, they tumble out of the car and it begins to roll backwards down the hill. So Phil, like a suburban Indiana Jones, jumps on the hood with no clear way to stop it – while Claire yells at him “What’s the PLAN, Phil?”

What was particularly brilliant was the family walking back down the hill and recounting what had just happened. It almost felt twee, but a nice moment of togetherness for the three eternally-bickering children.

Cam (Eric Stonestreet) and Jay (Ed O’Neill) excluding Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) from building the princess castle was legendary stuff as well. They ended up mocking him more than gently persuading him to back away – but it’s always fun to watch Cam play the ‘real man’, despite being as camp as Christmas!

Modern Family has managed to return in fine style, with a tight episode that gave each of the ensemble cast their moment in the spotlight. Phil Dunphy remains one of the funniest characters on TV in the last couple of years, and the pairing of Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen as the husband and wife team is just perfect.

What was your take on this episode of Modern Family – any favourite moments you want to share?

Quotes from The Old Wagon

  1. Claire: “Whoa. We’re not giving this car to Haley. It’s way to easy to fit a mattress in the back.”
  2. Phil: “You can insult a lot of things about me: my hair, my voice, my balance sport exercises. But don’t insult my selling, that crosses the line. What line? Oh, you don’t see it? That’s ‘coz I just sold it.”
  3. Luke: “Mom, you look really pretty. So what happened?” Phil: “Oh Lukey, everyone gets older. Just because parts of your mom aren’t what they used to be…”
  4. Phil: “Guess what, you said I couldn’t sell this? Well, you’re gonna be eating humble pie, stuffed with crow with a big side of sorry. In your face, Girl With The Negative Tattoo!”
  5. Claire: “A minute ago they were babies. And now they’re driving. And soon I’ll be dead.”
  6. Phil: “I love you when you’re human.”
  7. Mitch: “Remember how much fun we had when we built that bookshelf together?” Jay: “That was my Vietnam. And I was in Vietnam.”
  8. Cam: “This is a touchy subject for Mitchell. He wants to feel like a regular Joe, like you and I. Oh, pardon moi. I prefer the champaigne dijon to the standard jello.”
  9. Manny: “She’s a girl in my history class. We like to play Six Degrees Of Sir Francis Bacon.”

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