TV review: ‘Modern Family’ keeps comedy rolling

By Purbita Saha

This is one extended family that just can’t help but be funny. Another four episodes of “Modern Family” have come and gone, and subsequently, the show’s writers and cast deserve another round of applause. The sitcom has retained a perfect balance between obscenity and charm. More importantly, it has retained its extensive fan base.

According to the latest Nielsen ratings, “Modern Family” beat out “Glee” with 8.57 million viewers.

The show hasn’t gained much ground in developing its characters or their relationships. But then again, it is a comedy, and the jokes are being delivered, swiftly and sharply. For example, when the neighborhood experiences a minor earthquake the three families find themselves in messy situations. Claire is stuck in a bathroom with the plumber, while Mitch and Cameron exaggerate the not-so-disastrous event to get out of an ostentatious costume party. Things get awkward when the host of the party comes over to check out Mitch and his injured leg and is confronted with the fact that none of his guests enjoy having afternoon tea in cuff links and over-the-top hats. Meanwhile, Jay and Manny play hooky from church, much to Gloria’s dismay. While on their golf outing, Manny has a religious revelation and decides that he should be wearing a Sunday suit and not a caddy outfit.

Episode four focuses on Claire’s and Mitch’s struggles with being candid in front of their spouses.¬†Claire wants to help Phil evade disaster as he puts together his repertoire of jokes for a real estate dinner.¬†Similarly, Mitch wants to help Cameron avoid personal embarrassment by making him change out of his short, spandex exercise shorts.

Ultimately, things get bad but end up good. Cameron refuses to find a new gym outfit, but forgives Mitch for his tactlessness. Phil ends up being a major hit with the other real estate agents as they find his comedy routine side-splittingly hilarious.

The Halloween weekend episode was the best so far this season. Mitchell has a bad day at work after he shows up in a Spiderman costume and find out that no one else at his law firm dressed up. Later that night, the three sub families converge at the Dunphy’s to help Claire play out her meticulous trick-or-treating skit. When things don’t go according to plan, Claire has a meltdown and has to take her hurt feelings outside. But her timing is perfect, as she is able to scare a group of oncoming trick-or-treaters, thus making it a perfect Halloween in Claire-world.

On the other hand, last week’s episode was probably the weakest one. The story line was simply too tame. Claire and her oldest daughter Haley have a sick day in bed while Phil tries to prove his manliness by decimating all of the smoke detectors in the house. Jay and Manny give each other the cold shoulder and Cameron goes behind Mitch’s back to sign their daughter up for a commercial shoot.

The highlight of the episode is when Mitch points out to Cameron that the commercial is grossly stereotyping Asian culture. In response, Cameron makes a big scene in front of the cameras and picks up the baby to take her home. The punch line is, he takes the wrong child.

“Modern Family” still has a long way to go until the season ends. Let’s keep those laughs coming.

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