Modern Family, “Benched”: The beard is on!

I think I laughed harder at this week’s Modern Family than I ever have at the show before, and that’s really saying a lot, considering what a great first season it’s had. Some of it may have been due to the fact that show is coming back from a short hiatus with its last batch of episodes this season. What a strange, new world it will when I finally start doing things like going outside this summer, instead of spending all of this time in front of the TV.

Several of this week’s storylines started out together, at Luke and Manny’s basketball game, before splitting off on their own. When she decides to take Alex out to buy some clothes, Claire is swept under the rug when they run across a group of Alex’s friends. When her “Latin blood” becomes too fiery to keep from embarrassing Manny at the game, he asks Gloria not to come. And Cameron and Mitchell stop by briefly to drop off Lillie before going to meet one of Jay’s friends who may be interested in giving Mitchell a job.

While Phil carries so much of the show on his shoulders, he often turns into everyone’s dumping group and is made out to be the cheerful loser. Sure, he’s funny, but nobody really takes him seriously. So it was nice to see him stand up to Jay and win one tonight, even if that one wasn’t the basketball game. The show also scored some laughs by having Manny on the team. I thought it was ironic that he’s such a great fencer, but when it comes to basketball, he doesn’t have a clue. But even though the jokes may have been cheap, I still laughed at him getting hit in the head by a basketball, if for no other reason than just to see the look on his face.

As you may have expected, ever since Mitchell quit his job at the law firm, he and Cameron haven’t exactly settled well into their new roles, with Mitchell staying at home with Lilly while Cameron’s found part-time work in a greeting card store (“How are we saving money?” “It’s math.”). I thought the whole storyline gave us a lot to laugh at, but in the end it was pretty vanilla flavor. Mitchell has a shot at a new job, he and Cameron are invited to a dinner party to discuss things with him, and you just know they’re going to SCREW IT UP. But hey, it’ll all turn out alright in the end, right? And what do you know, it did. The Batman line was pretty funny.

The part of the show that really had be howling was Claire and Alex at the outdoor mall, or whatever that was. And it was a slow burn to get to what was probably the funniest joke the show’s done so far. Kids reaching that age when all they want to do is hang out with their friends and are embarrassed to even admit that they have parents isn’t really anything new and we’ve seen it on TV time after time after time. We’ve even seen it on Modern Family, with Haley being at that age right now. Putting Alex in that situation showed us while Haley is the spoiled one and Luke is stupid one, Alex isn’t always the rock her parents wish they could hold on to. Claire found that out when Alex got in the car, all smiles and sad eyes and apologized for treating her mom the way she did, right before asking for twenty bucks to go hang out with her friends. Claire’s response about the training bra may have been over the top, maybe even a little mean, but holy hell was it funny. And seriously, sometimes kids are just asking to be put in their place, what with their dance music and video games. Only four episodes left. What a void in my life this show is going to leave this summer. I guess I’ll have to fill it with my wife and the house we just bought.

Stuff I liked:

  • “Give a kid a bird, and he becomes  one of those weird guys who walks around with a bird on his shoulder. Give him wings…and he’ll fly. Unless he has no hand-eye coordination.”
  • “I have cargo pants and I don’t work at the docks.”
  • “I sleep with your daughter.”
  • The L’il Dribblers.


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