Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Modern Family, "The Bicycle Thief": The devil wears paisley

Quick thoughts on episode two of "Modern Family" coming up just as soon as I dance for my baby...

The fear when a comedy does a pilot as confident and funny as the "Modern Family" debut - one that was so good it even has other, Emmy-winning comedy writers raving about it - is that the writers used up all their best jokes on the pilot, and they've got nothing left for the series.

"The Bicycle Thief," thankfully, put those fears to bed.

The three branches of the family tree were kept largely apart - and the women were kept on the sideline on top of that, playing spectator to the fatherhood theme - but that gave a chance for Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Ty Burrell and Ed O'Neill (and Rico Rodriguez, who plays Manny) to shine. Cameron's frustration at having to rein in his more flamboyant qualities was a particular highlight, but Phil's horror as the divorced hottie wheeled the third bike up the driveway was also hilarious, and very well set-up.

Nothing fancy or groundbreaking here - there was even another heartwarming monologue by Ed O'Neill at the end - but funny and well-executed. I'm pleased, and I'm in.

What did everybody else think?

32 comments:

TEM III said...

It says something about a show when you pretty much know whats going to happen (mainly the bike / women's bedroom arc), but the payoff(s) are still hysterical and well done. I'm hooked.

Sirfuller said...

The whole "Sophie's Choice" thing was hilarious!

Myles said...

Agreed, although I do have to say that I was disappointed with the jokes given Vergara: I know the women got shortchanged overall, but she was given some lines that were solely premised on her ethnicity, and didn't really connect with me. I also felt that there could have been more humour in the Jay/Manny side of things, but in thinking of favourite lines the scenes had two ("fog in an airport" and "was the bear in the passenger seat?").

Can we just give Ty Burrell an Emmy?

Myles said...

The whole "Sophie's Choice" thing was hilarious!

I think The Office ruined any future TV comedy Sophie's Choice jokes for me, but it was indeed quite good.

Collin said...

Easily the funniest new show... and probably the funniest thing on TV period.

Dave S said...

I really like this show. It's fun, witty, has heart. Those are Chuck-like qualities. And that's good company.

Best line tonight: "I don't know what's happening to me. I just stole a baby's intellectual property."

Best new show of the fall. I'm hooked.

evie said...

Simply love it. "Meryl Streep could play Batman and be right for the part." "If this goes past three, I'm going to hang a noose from up there." "And if she doesn't like it... Honey? You there? ... well, that's just too bad."

And the sneaky video camera at the daycare, complete with the look on his face?

Great stuff. It even had the sentimental moment at the end about how to be a good father: Show up.

Tyroc said...

2 for 2!

Can't believe these are the same people who gave us "Back to You" last year!

LA said...

The look on Cameron's face when the mommy starting ripping on Streep was priceless. That guy is quickly breaking out as my favorite character.

Rinaldo said...

I'm still wondering if I'm there for the long haul. Both episodes so far, for me (clearly not for others, but I can only speak for myself) the Ed O'Neil segments have felt inert and unfunny. I guess I'm not the fan of "heart" that others are.

But the daycare stuff, the bicycle stuff -- gold.

Rinaldo said...

Sorry -- not a daycare, an early learning experience.

Sirfuller said...

I feel with this show how I felt about "The Office" during its first season.

It needs work but has great potential.

Ingrid said...

I'm in too. This show and Cougar Town are my favorites of the bunch of new comedies that debuted this season.

Vanessa said...

I'm in for now. If they don't stop with the self-hating gay stuff and the stereotypical hispanic stuff, I won't be for long.

TODD said...

Yeah...Cameron is my fav character so far. His expressions are awesome. You can really see him struggling inside to hide his 'gayness'.

Eldo Owens said...

I loved it when the bike guy asked Phil if he was sure "it wasn't his father trying to teach him a lesson".

Shoutout to Arrested Development. Cool.

dez said...

Cameron's horsey dance was nowhere near as disturbing as Homer Simpson's; I don't know why he had to tone it down.

The Hispanic jokes are killing me, probably mostly because they're not about Mexicans for a change :-) Also loved it when Sofia Vergara pats Ed O'Neill on the cheek and says she's going to spend all his money on her next husband. That whole family dynamic is hilarious.

erin said...

Thought it was absolutely brilliant, and it seems so effortless, which is the real trick. Absolutely loved it, and laughed the entire time. Cameron and Ty Burrell are my faves. Can't say enough good things about it, and to me, it's more outright funny because it doesn't rely so heavily on uncomfortable humor, a la The Office (which i enjoy on occasion, but isn't my type of show).

Loved it! Loved it some more!

Anonymous said...

... blowing bubbles.

How lucky for.. the baby.

Was that joke too funny for prime time?

Tina said...

I'm not on board for this show. The husband character (Phil?) is really annoying and just trying to be Andy from The Office and not succeeding.

Ed O'Neill is awesome and the gay couple too. Julie Bowen's character constantly nagging is no fun to watch.

Gooch said...

As a stepparent myself, I really appreciated the scenes between the Ed O'Neil character and his stepson, which were not only funny but had a lot of truth to them.

groovekiller said...

I think Phil or "Feel" has quickly become one of my favorite things on TV right now.

I don't ever remember a dad being portrayed that way - so desperate to be cool for his kids.

Also, I usually hate Sofia Vergara's characters but I'm glad that the writers didn't make her a straight up bimbo or sexpot. That line about her telling Ed O'Neill's joke to her next husband was hilarious.

Also, as mentioned above, that 'Maybe your father was teaching you a lesson." line had me rolling.

Bryan Murray said...

I just watched the first two episodes of Modern Family last night back-to-back and really, really enjoyed them. I liked Community (and to a lesser extent Cougar Town) but I thought this show was the best new comedy by far. My favorite line was Ed O'Neill's crack about why Manny's Dad is like Superman-both arrived here illegally. And each family has a pretty cool dynamic that I haven't seen before on tv.

I do wonder what they will do if it lasts for a few years but I thought the same thing about The Office. I think Modern Family is a lot more polished than 30 Rock or The Office when they premiered and I can't believe there are 5-6 legitimate comedies on the networks right now that I watch. (Just finished the 1st season of Big Bang Theory on DVD and was pleasantly surprised.)

Office, 30 Rock, HIMYM, Modern Family, Community, Big Bang, and now Hank...just kidding about the last one.

Kenrick said...

favorite new show or new favorite show? hmmm....

Melissa said...

@Erin said:

Can't say enough good things about it, and to me, it's more outright funny because it doesn't rely so heavily on uncomfortable humor, a la The Office (which i enjoy on occasion, but isn't my type of show).

I couldn't agree more.

I don't see the gay couple's behavior as 'self hating.' For them to be unaware that a portion of society will view their adoption in a negative light would be disingenuous. I see his behavior, while annoying right now, as part of his character arc.

Ty Burrell is hilarious but I see those two parents veering into dangerous territory with their characterizations. They need to quickly make the mom a little more sympathetic and the Dad a little less desperate, IMO.

Big Jer said...

Yes, the pilot was good, but the second episode was Terrific. Ty Burrell is awesome. I LOVED when he was trying to hide his wife's face with his hand!
AND I'm glad Vergara is back. She's hilarious!

Anonymous said...

Isn't Ty Burrell just a taller Michael Scott who somehow managed to land a wife?

When he found the unattended bike, didn't every single person who has ever watched a sitcom in their life immediately know A) he would steal the bike himself, and B) the bike wasn't his son's? True, it did lead to the bike shop clerk's question (the one good laugh in this episode), but it was all rather predictable.

The show has promise, but I'm going to lay off for a few episodes. Maybe it will take them a season or so to find an original angle on its characters.

dno36 said...

Each of the first 2 shows is packed with content to the level of warranting a second viewing if not more. There are deep connections being made with these families and all of us viewing fans out here. The ability of the writers and producers to take us for a half hour coaster ride is EXACTLY what I need in the middle of my week. "How does the Horsey go?" & "Merly Streep could play Batman..." just too funny!!
Even Jay's comment "Your dad sent the Limo..." was great in bringing back a scene which had me a bit disturbed when he and his Step-son "dissed" each other.
The show is really really funny and then it take you on a sentimental ride that just leaves me feeling good, and that to me is a very good thing.
I cannot wait until next week's episode.
Dean

DP said...

Compared to the good first episode, the second episode was painfully unfunny, with only one or two jokes that was amusing. One of the worst 'second episode' declines I've seen in a long time. I won't be coming back.

Anonymous said...

I have to go with the other anonymous and DP. A lot of this show was very predictable. Anon was right, as soon as I saw the unlocked bike, I knew dad was going to steal it and "hilarious" consequences would ensue.

When dad said we have to get son a boy's bike because some guy's going to come along and make fun of him. I missed the pilot, but I knew it was going to be Ed O'Neil

The whole stepdad/stepson thing. I mean Ed O'Neil made a whole movie about that 20 years ago. I saw every plot point coming well in advance.

The slutty neighbor is right out of a bad Lucy show from the 1960s.

Can't say I'm impressed.

Or I could be wrong.

Diana said...

A great show. Finally, a show mostly about "the guys" and not so much about all the women. Love the jokes and all the actors are wonderful. It's a keeper for me!

Art McGregor said...

Great show and great to see Brandy Ledford again for the first time since I was about 12 and stole an uncle's "Penthouse."