Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Modern Family, "The Incident": Shelley Shelley Shelley Shelley, S-H-E-L-L-E-Y

Quick spoilers for tonight's "Modern Family" coming up just as soon as I explain that this conversation never happened...

Having proved last week that the show could come up with different configurations of its large cast and still be funny, "Modern Family" jumped another important hurdle tonight, by showing that a prominent guest star could come in without overwhelming what's already working.

Shelley Long makes sense both from a genetic standpoint (I buy her as the mother of Julie Bowen and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, even more than I buy Ed O'Neill as their father) and from a professional comedy standpoint. She fit in well with the cast, doing what so much of "Modern Family" does, in taking a relatively familiar sitcom character or plot (in this case, pieces of both the smug New Age type and the controlling mother type) and making it feel fresh and funny. And her presence showed us new sides of both Claire and Mitchell, and gave Bowen something to play besides scolding Phil.

Mostly, though, I just love the little throwaway moments, like Manny stroking his fake goatee, or Phil making sure to be on top of Gloria whenever the opportunity arose during the fight, or the montage at the end of all the characters being unable to get Dylan's inappropriate but catchy song out of their heads.

Good show. Very, very good show.

What did everybody else think?

47 comments:

lilyxt said...

Great episode, this comedy hasn't disappointed me yet with a mediocre outing. The song was hilarious, even though you knew something inappropriate was coming with it, I was still laughing. Also enjoyed the father/daughter talk with her answering the phone saying she was talking "with a guy she met at the malt shop"

Alan Sepinwall said...

I believe it was a "loser" she met at the malt shop, which was even funnier for how she was trying to follow her dad's instructions

Zac F. said...

I thought I heard "dork in a malt shop."

I agree with you Alan that Shelley Long fits in real well with the cast. Seeing her standing next to Julie Bowen, I could see why she was cast.

I loved how after Dede's remark about Claire's shirt being revealing, Claire kept covering herself up.

"When my husband and I were doing out wedding vows, people broke in and assassinated the judge. This was way worse." That cracked me up.

Hailey was missing the last two episodes and comes back this week. Alex is gone this week. When are we going to see all three kids again?

The montage at the end with the characters singing the song as they got ready. (was it that night or the next morning or both?) I would say that night, but Cameron is shaving and every guy I know shaves in the morning after a shower.

a.e. said...

It was a "dork" she met at the malt shop.

This episode was exceedingly funny. When Cam describes the fish calling Mitchell's relationship with her Mom as "that's messed up," I spit the beer out of my mouth. Shelley Long calling her new man a logger before describing he's a lab tech, too funny. The writing on this show is just so clever and so well acted.

Chris Littmann said...

"I've got Gloria!" is basically all I need to say about this episode. Good stuff once again.

Zac F. said...

Anyone else think that Sarah Hyland, who plays Hailey Dunphy, looks a lot like Mila Kunis?

Shari said...

This was the best episode yet as far as I'm concerned. I like when the whole clan gets together and Shelley Long was perfectly cast.

So many funny lines - the horny Colombians, peerenting "what's up sweathog", "Uncle Toby, I'll be sure to include that in my Amber Alert." And everything Cam said when DeDe first got there had me cracking up. An A+ episode.

Phil Freeman said...

I reeeeeeally don't like Shelley Long, never have, but this episode was hilarious.

renton said...

After the last scene, I found myself singing that song, too.

(And it's available on I-Tunes).

I thought "The Middle" was also very good tonight. It may be the best buzzless new show of the season.

Rae said...

For those who enjoyed the song from tonight's episode, ABC's got an additional scene up featuring the whole thing.

alberto said...

Thanks Rae,I think all boyfriends and husbands have a new love song to sing to the woman they love.LOL!

Jennifer J. said...

Zac F: my husband said the same thing tonight. :) I completely agree.

I agree with what everyone has said all around, but, by far, my favorite quote came from one of my favorite characters, Cameron (let alone the almost crack about "...the frig magnets as penta...Hi grandma!").

Quote in full, "There's a fish, in nature, that swims around with its babies in its mouth. That fish would look at Mitchell's relationship with his mother and say, 'That's messed up!'" :)

The Mitchell/Mommy?Damnit! moment was also so well-played/timed. :)

Anna said...

So many classic lines every episode..

'i gave her a gorgeous pair of diamond earings and she gave me a hint"

"hallraiser" - awesome!!


Cam makes me laugh with every look.

dez said...

This is definitely my favorite new show of the season. Cam at the end getting the pitch right for Mitchell was fabulous.

Dave Sandell said...

Loved it. Another classic line:
Jay: Not my best parenting moment.
Mitchell (under breath): Not your worst either.

Also, "You were in a band?" "Could've been, but in high school I was really all about my magic."

Flashes of GOB.

AG said...

I caught that too, Dave Sandell, and screamed with joy. Love that this show is in some fashion filling the Arrested Development void as promised by so many -- try as I might I just cannot love Community, but this show rocks my world. Or at least my Wednesday, which... hey.

I may even be able to stomach Shelley Long again, in fact. Is this to be a recurring character? Seriously? Lovely to watch O'Neill play off veterans such as Long, but I have a whole list of other folk I'd rather see...

George said...

Here come the AD comparisons...Don't get me wrong this show has been great so far but AD is the 21st century's best comedy.

DeDe has nothing on Lucille.

Gotta say this was my fave episode so far, and Hailey's smile at Dylan's song was awesome. How could anyone by so charmed by that chorus?

belinda said...

I think I'm finally in love with the show now. I like it fine before, but was wary that it would level off from the pilot and go bad. Instead, the episodes are constantly funnier and better each week. I'm hooked.

Love the song montage at the end, just a really great ending, I just love that look on Cameron's face at Mitchell (I assume, with a video cam or something) Christmas.

bsangs said...

Gets better every week.

Since I've been watching a lot of early "Cheers" repeats lately - my kids are really into it! - I was shocked by how old Shelley Long looks now. Hope we see her again.

Along with everything mentioned above, loved the Mommy-Daddy exchange between Mitchell and Claire.

bsangs said...

Oh and I enjoy the "Cheers" shout out in the thread title too Alan!

Kathy said...

I find myself laughing every time Cameron is in a scene! I adore him. This episode went a long way in explaining some of the personality quirks of the family. Shelley Long's character added the piece of the puzzle that has been missing. I never could stand Ed O'Neill as Al Bundy but love him in this role.

bitingsarcasm said...

Alan, you left out one of the best parts: DeDe's arrival leads to a bird flying into a window at Jay and Gloria's place, and it breaks the delicately held truce between the Dunphy kids.

A bad omen indeed, and very subtly played.

Jaynee said...

LOVED so many parts of this episode. As for throwaway moments, my favorite was actually during the logger/lab tech thing when Claire responded simply by mildly touching Mitchell with the tennis raquet in acknowledgement. That's the type of thing that ALL siblings do, and I cracked up. It was such a nothing thing, but I loved it.

Matt said...

It's a large enough cast that probably at least a few of them don't have "every episode" contracts, particularly the kids, since they make for trickier working hours due to legal restrictions (it's less of an issue for multi-camera shows, since they do all their taping in one day). I'd expect each kid to disappear for a few episodes over the course of the season.

(Another example last night was Glee, which, I believe, did not feature Jayma Mays at all.)

Anonymous said...

Loved the ep - Loving the show.

Best line:
"if I ever say no to that question, take the gun and shoot me".

He said exactly what I was thinking.

-Milhouse

Anonymous said...

Favorite throwaway bit...Phil intrigued by what was wrong with the guy's arm.

LA said...

Good lord, I love this show. It just gets better every week.

olucy said...

Alan, you left out one of the best parts: DeDe's arrival leads to a bird flying into a window at Jay and Gloria's place, and it breaks the delicately held truce between the Dunphy kids.

Yes! Such a great intro, and reminded me of an ep of Frasier when Lilith arrives.

Anonymous said...

My favorite part was the opening when you can see Jay switched from a donut/pastry thing to an apple when Gloria walked in. It's a really funny and great little detail.

Zachary said...

I thought this show was great from the start, and every week seems to show more and more potential. Impressive.

Mike F said...

Sorta liked this show at first, but the more I see, the more I feel like its just an uncomfortable mash up of other shows...mostly, it reminds me of The Office with its shaky camera and the father's Michael Scott-esque penchant for saying the most awkward possible thing in any given moment.

At the end of the day, its a little too much, its trying a little too hard and its a little too quirky for quirkyness's sake. I'll give it a few more episodes, but I don't find myself becoming particularly interested in any of the characters.


BTW, I like Ed O'Neil in just about everything (even John from Cincinnati) and his character is good here...that's the save for me.

AndyW said...

I thought it was building toward something, then ran out of time and abruptly segued into boyfriend-song riff. I was having fun with the existing cast - I didn't really need Shelly Long to do her neurotic thing at this early stage.

JERRY said...

I LOVE looking forward to this show week after week! Great episode.
--SO GLAD Shelley Long still has IT!
--Even in a less prominent role, Phil continues to be hilarious.
--Manny's optimism is SO touching and sweet. And Hilarious.
--The fact that we're all quoting great lines week after week here is awesome. Great writing.

GLORIA:"What's on your face?"
MANNY: "A Smile from having such a good time with my friends."

Doc said...

Very good episode.

"Rich Girl really spoke to me."

Indeed said...

I am loving this show. What a talented cast - they fit so well together. I watched this tonight on my PVR and followed it with the 30 Rock premiere, and I must say I enjoyed it much more than 30 Rock.

chrissie said...

This is definitely becoming one of those shows where it's easiest to just start quoting it.

Mitchell: "Make a note, bitches!"

Cam: "Not a good color on you."

Stef said...

I've just caught up and watched all 4 eps of this - what a great show! The casting is perfect, and the writing is so smart and funny. Phil and Cam are both hilarious, but each character brings a little something, and I adore Manny so much. His role as stepbrother/therapist to Julie Bowen just warmed my heart.

Maggie said...

Agree with everyone, and want to add that one thing I love about this show is how much they choose not to show, but just throw in as an aside - like the visual of Manny running from the burning bike. On a lesser sitcom,that would have been played out and dragged out and become the focus of an episode. Instead we get just the snippet and it's much funnier. It really does remind me of the quick flashbacks/asides of "Arrested Development."

Sarah said...

I've enjoyed the show from the beginning - but this is the episode that clinched it for me. I laughed out loud at this episode more than anything else I watched this week. It was good seeing Shelley Long again, too. Seeing her go crazy is always hilarious to me.
Also, I just got the blog post title. Hee. Nice Cheers shout out, Alan.

SaraK said...

This show is hilarious. I am just sad that it's on Wednesdays when SYTYCD and Glee are also on. I can't watch them all on the same night! Keeps getting better every week. I think it's funnier than The Office.

Paul Outlaw said...

Shelley Long was brilliant last night (and this from someone who is not a fan). I think I watched all of her scenes twice last night. A master class in sitcom physical comedy.

Tom said...

I laffed a lot and will definitely keep watching, but I do hope they vary the formula every now and then, and that every episode doesn't build to a "Gosh, despite our differences, we really ARE a loving family" moment, which is then immediately undercut. Cause it's going to be tough to top the emo-boy's "Do Me" song when it comes to goofing on the sentiment.

srpad said...

I'm late to the party but I wanted to add that this is fast becoming one of my favorite comedies. Love it! Like others, I also detect a hint of Arrested Development and that is a good thing.

It seems to be doing pretty well in the ratings too which is a pleasent surprise to me since it has a distinct lack of fart jokes.

Erik said...

"I thought it was my funny take on current events."

Jeff said...

The only thing I don't like about this show is that Gloria is just too hot. She's way beyond just hot younger wife territory. She's super model hot.

Anonymous said...

My favorite character's a tossup between Manny and Cam.

Cam is awesome!

And the way Manny plays the atypical sensitive and wise 10 and 3/4 year old boy is so touching.

I watched twice cause I missed the musical montage at the end the first time. My favorite lines week in and out usually come from Manny and Cam. Shelley was ok, but wow, she did look old.

"Oh that's why they were laughing at me. I thought it was my funny take on current events."

Cam's pentagram delivery, and not a good color on you..almost everything he says is funny.

Cam's and Mitchell's attempt to harmonize. LOL!

Love shows that make me smile/laugh feel good. This is my favorite new comedy of the season, and the only one I plan on following aside from Chuck (whenever it comes on)

-Imkeh

Mike said...

I know it's late, but since no one said it, I wanted to comment on the humor of this episode's title in relation to the "Lost" episode of the same name earlier this year. Since they're both on ABC, I doubt this was a coincidence, and I think it's great that the "Lost" episode was about the explosion a nuclear bomb and the "Modern Family" episode was about Shelley Long making a drunken fool of herself.

Good stuff.