Modern Family, “Fears”: Why do all the things I love go away?

Last night’s episode was almost over before I noticed how much it had going on. The fact that it was so funny without ever feeling crowded is a real testament to how good the writers are and how well the actors work together.

Manny is the show’s most versatile character. Whether he’s at the pier with Jay and Gloria or having coffee with Claire, there isn’t really a situation he can’t work in. My only complaint about his story last night was that both the beginning and end felt a bit rushed, which is understandable when you’re working with so many other things. Manny coming around to Gloria’s help with the roller coaster was nice to watch, even though it all just seemed to work out.

Claire and Alex going to the DMV with Haley for her driving test was probably the most low-key plot of the episode. I liked watching Claire being a mom to Alex, because it seems like this is the relationship we don’t see that much of. And for everyone out there’s who’s ever taken one of those driving tests, I think you’ll recognize the guy Haley was riding with. What happened during their childhoods that turned them into such bitter, bitter people.

Phil and Luke looking underneath the house for they-weren’t-quite-sure-what provided a lot of comic relief. For Phil, this is turning into a “per always” sort of thing. He’s a great character, and there’s no doubting his love and affection for his family, but I think he could stand to move into some meatier territory, emotionally speaking. It’s good to be funny, but funny without anything else just turns the character into a parody of himself.

The “mommy” storyline with Cam and Mitchell delivered some of the funniest, and definitely most touching moments of the episode. What I liked most about it was that it made the two seem like a couple, rather than just too really good friends sharing a house and an adopted daughter. We see glimpses of this every now and then, but I think it’s a balance the writers are still trying to find. Discovering Lily’s doll was a nice way to end things, but I’m glad they put in that beat with her pediatrician saying that she refused to act like a stereotypical Asian before driving into a trashcan. It was completely out of left field and that made it that much funnier. Racism is bad.

Stuff I liked:

  • Claire’s argument with Haley in the car. “You’re embarrassing me!” “Aaahhhhhhhhhhhh!”
  • Julie Bowen dancing. I think I love her.
  • Manny’s fisherman outfit. It’s subtle stuff like this that makes the show as great as it is.

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