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Modern Family Fodder

Modern Family: One Small Step For Man...

Modern Family starts a February sweeps push with another in its long line of special guest stars. In "Moon Landing," Claire is visited by her co-worker, Valerie (guest star Minnie Driver). An endless parade of cameo appearances by Hollywood's elite can quickly turn into a cheap gimmick, but Driver provided laughs as a highly-successful executive who serves as the perfect frenemy for career housewife Claire. Jealous of her old pal's climb up the corporate ladder, Claire has a brief breakdown when they return to the Dunphy abode and find the family in a state of disarray. Extra points for the Haley-Dylan breakup/makeup. And a clever callback to John Cusack's famous scene in Say Anything when Dylan stands outside her bedroom with his iPhone (blaring "In the Moonlight," no less) raised high over his head.

In another awkward sequence, a reluctant Jay joins Cameron for a racquetball game, but the two become tied up in an awkward confrontation when they bump butts in the locker room. With Jay distracted by their accidental contact, Cameron (in a smashing sweater vest) takes their clash easily. Even more hijinks ensue when Jay tries to break his "uptight, straight" ways and instigates a second "bump," only to find a surprised stranger on the other end.

In the least-hilarious portion of the episode, the world's worst Latino driver wreaks havoc on the neighborhood When Gloria is involved in a fender bender, she calls on Mitchell to give her legal advice, but Manny rats out his mother's poor motor vehicle skills. Apparently, Gloria suffers from a bad case of road rage: "Once an old lady yelled at her at a crosswalk--she honked so long the horn ran out." Mitchell's left to clean up her mess, but soon Gloria flies off the handle at the suggestion that she's a driving danger. Eventually, she crashes into the cupcake store causing the giant cupcake sign to topple onto the front of her car, a sure sign of her dommed driving.

The throwaway gag of the evening was Phil's mustache makeover---"testing out the old soup strainer," as he lovingly referred to it---but even he remains a dad and husband who's easy to root for and a perfect partner for good ol' reliable Claire.

"Moon Landing" is a great argument for mixing up the pairings among the extended Pritchett clan. Though the episode seemed like an inconsistent mix of semi-funny spots, it did give a further glimpse of our characters---hot-tempered Gloria; downtrodden Claire; buttoned-up, responsible Mitchell---and supported the belief that Modern Family is still the best new sitcom of the season.

Posted by Blake Jonathan Boldt on February 4, 2010 11:40 AM
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