Friday, 10 December 2010

Modern Family 2.10 'Dance Dance Revelation'

“Do you think the kids in my village had pocket squares…?” – Gloria

Modern Family sang from that tried and tested hymn sheet this week – separate the adult characters into pairs and have the Pritchards act as antagonists to their respective partners or some sort of cross-combination of that formula. It’s not re-inventing the wheel, but when it is this funny who cares?

‘Dance Dance Revelation’ largely centered around Luke and Manny’s first school dance and as usual the parents of the respective children living vicariously through their offspring.

Claire was back to her highly strung character and was put out that Gloria was
muscling in on her “one thing” and Jay and Phil took a trip to the mall after Manny decided he had to have a teal pocket square for the dance – I love the fact that Manny even knows what a pocket square is at that age, his old before his time shtick never gets old.

Elsewhere Mitchell and Cameron were mortified when they discovered that Lily had developed the nasty habit of biting. After first dismissing a fellow parent who accused Lily of biting her child, Cam experienced it first hand declaring it was “like Twilight”.

This led to Cam and Mitchell once again debating the best way to raise their daughter – Cameron preferring the gentler approach through a cringe-inducing song and Mitchell opting to go for more extreme measures such as putting pepper in her mouth every time she bites, much to Cameron’s horror (he likened it to water-boarding).

Jay and Phil’s trip to the mall was by far the best of the three stories, giving us the chance to see Jay terrorizing Phil some more before Phil finally snapped in a brilliant breakdown involving an aftershave salesman.

Ty Burrell once again stole the show in ‘Dance Dance Revelation’ – his breakdown with the aftershave was one of the funniest things I’ve seen on TV in a while (his camp run as he chased the salesman was genius), the cut-away with Jay intentionally saying Dunphy wrong “Dumb-phy” much to Phil’s chagrin and then Phil’s talking head scene where he confessed how much Jay’s ribbing destroyed him were also great stuff from Burrell.

But of course everything worked out in the end, this being Modern Family and all, so as usual the Pritchards all learnt something and the show put over its saccharine final thought and everyone went home happy.

Modern Family has me more often that not, equal parts laughing uncontrollably and equal parts getting frustrated at how predictable and cliché it can be at times. But when it’s good it’s very good and it is so charming and warm it makes it easy to forgive those groan-inducing sitcom devices you’ve seen a million times before that are regularly littered throughout.

‘Dance Dance Revelation’ was by no means the best episode of Modern Family this season but it was still an entertaining and very funny episode of one of the most consistently funny shows currently on TV.

Bullet Points:

- Correct me if I’m wrong but a couple of weeks ago wasn’t Halloween Claire’s “one thing”? How many things can one woman claim as her own!?

- I thought it was a nice touch over the credits that it was revealed the aftershave salesman Phil assaulted was a friend of Cam and Mitch’s. He just had to be right?

- Danny Trejo!

Danny Trejo’s cameo was partly surreal brilliance but it was also a little disappointing if I’m honest.

When I heard Trejo was guest-starring I assumed that he would be playing some sort of crazy Colombian from Gloria’s village, so imagine my surprise when he was simply a seemingly normal school janitor. It was disappointing in the sense that they could have done so much more with him; but for the bizarre weirdness of seeing Danny Trejo practically playing it straight I don’t think I’d have changed what they did with him at all.

- I’ve read quite a bit recently about the show’s perceived casual racism in jokes made predominantly about Gloria and Lily and I have to say that since reading those pieces from some of the finest critical minds out there that I have noticed more and more that Modern Family does disappointingly often go for that lowest common denominator – see tonight’s “white on rice” line and Cam’s comment about Lily being prone to “flashbacks”. Although the latter comment was followed by Mitchell’s very funny “you know she didn’t fight in Vietnam right?”, it still doesn’t make it right and Modern Family is better than and should be above those sort of lame, prehistoric stereotypes.

- Other great lines in ‘Dance Dance Revelation’: Mitchell’s “Lily’s friend just pulled a Britney Spears getting out of a sandbox car”, Cam’s “I water-boarded our toddler… lol” and Cam bracketing Naomi Campbell in with Hitler and Charles Manson as evil people with straight parents.


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