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Modern Family Fodder

Modern Family - No Fear

After an Olympic Games hiatus, Modern Family returned last night with an episode built on the concept of fear. This quick-witted installment of the year's best new comedy opened with a question from our mystery (wo)man: "What are you most afraid of?" Whether it's Mitchell's hatred of hotel bedspreads or Manny's fear of dying alone, it seems like the whole clan has a phobia that could use some fixing.

Nearly everyone would be afraid to share the road with Haley Dunphy. This week Claire is busy with Haley at the DMV as she takes her driving test (for the third time!). There, she finds out the real reason behind Alex's refusal to attend the school dance: She's afraid of not being asked to dance by the boys in her class. Claire wins "mother of the year" honors with her simple, straightforward advice to both girls: "Take three deep breaths..."

While the Dunphy ladies are otherwise occupied, Phil and Luke embark on a long-winding adventure underneath the house after a "tip" from the contractor. Luke is a brave boy, but his father's fear of spiders and dark spaces almost ends their day before it begins. Phil presses on, and their treasure hunt resulted in some father-son bonding (the apple doesn't fall from the tree) and a goofy gag involving Luke's toy car-turned-moving camera. The pair are just a couple of dreamers at heart; when their crawlspace search comes up empty, the two plot to scour the attic next.

In the sharpest storyline of the night, Cameron and Mitchell invite their pediatrician, Asian-American female Dr. Miura, to a low-key brunch that turns into a landmark moment for little Lily when she utters her first word---Mommy. ("Her first word was every gay father's worst nightmare," Mitchell says.) The typical Asian stereotypes make for some funny jokes---Dr. Miura's quick, car-crashing exit was pitch-perfect---but these two gay dads showed real insecurity and admitted they're scared that Lily won't have a maternal influence. When the couple discovers that Lily's baby doll also says "mommy," their relief was as heartwarming as it was hilarious.

On the backburner tonight, Manny could miss his party at the amusement park if he can't face his fear of roller coasters, so Gloria tricks him into a fishing trip at the local pier located right by the park. There, Jay's own reticence to ride becomes apparent. Kudos to the directors who dressed up Manny in a fisherman's hat and sweater.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, and this week's episode continued to flesh out these rambunctious, real characters who can conquer their fears with a little help from their Modern Family.

Posted by Blake Jonathan Boldt on March 4, 2010 2:45 PM
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