Thursday, December 10, 2009

Modern Family, "Undeck the Halls": Christmas and me are through

Not much to say about a pretty lackluster "Modern Family" last night. At this point, it's pretty clear that the show is at its weakest when the three family units are off in their own separate orbits, even if certain characters (Cameron, Manny) are good for a few chuckles no matter what group they're in.

What did everybody else think?

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree it was a little underwhelming, but I still think it was entertaining.

Jay tearing down Columbia culture is always good for a laugh.

Need more Phil.

One other thing, I liked that they went against the norm when the took the guy in. You were waiting for him to go off when he found out the news, or maybe steal something from the house, but they didn't take the east gag. That's always a sign of a good show.

MCustis said...

Definitely not the funniest episode, but still had some good lines. I liked the confession "I...forgot to clean the lint trap" as the guy pulled out his huge knife. Even when it isn't full of huge laughs, the show still has heart. Also, I'm hoping to see more Fred Willard as Phil's dad.

John said...

How brilliant was the casting of Fred Willard as Phil's dad? That was the first time we've seen him, right?

Anonymous said...

Not the funniest episode, but I laughed pretty hard at some parts. Favourite moment was Cameron's threat to turn on the sprinkers.
I've decided that I love this show both for the funny and the sweet. Not every episode needs to be a million laughs. I just love this family.

Danny said...

I felt the same, until the "And that's why... we're going to... Italy!" line happened. That had me rolling. The look on Claire's face was priceless.

Dr. Milton von F├╝nkdoctorspock said...

Phil's physical comedy w/ hauling the tree out, hauling it back and then breathlessly trying to haul it back out delivered.

bsangs said...

I was just amazed that they could get the crystal ornament to be aligned in the EXACT same place as when before Phil stripped the tree!

ted said...

pretty lackluster? wow

I comepletely diasgree. You are entitled to your opinion but you have been kinder to many of the weak episodes of Community.

I think you have a preferance to the snarkier sitcoms, (all of the NBC shows fall under that banner) which again you are more than entitled to but I think there was lots to enjoy here

MC said...

I thought you were going to put "Not much to say about a pretty lackluster "Modern Family" last night......innocentes!"

Oh well, I guess it wasn't as good as others but I wouldn't use the word lackluster. I mean, the episode certainly wasn't dull.

wjohnston said...

I enjoyed this one, but agree the show is better when it mixes up the family members.

My major quibble: is it really so bad to be fired from your Mall Santa gig on Christmas Eve? Isn't that a bit like letting your accountant go on April 16th?

Garth said...

Not the best episode, sure, but Jay's line "burrito, burrato" got a good out-loud laugh from me, and that's all I'm asking for...

Zach said...

Lowest MF of the season, no question. Whats with lumbering Mitchell and Cameron up with some endless Bad Santa + Mean Girls subplot, dragged the already dog slow timing of this week's ep down that much more.

Solitary laugh out loud moment of entire show:

Manny: "..but if this so-called Santa Claus doesn’t bring me a burgundy dinner jacket, we’re going to have a big problem."

Gloria: shoots look of despair into camera

J said...

Man, I accidentally watched the "The Middle" right before this and -- while I agree that ModFam's ep was almost a total shrug, except maybe for Bad Santa's "You were nice, he was naughty" -- after suffering through Heaton and her writers just about anything else would feel like Christmas in comparison.

Anonymous said...

Agree that this was the weakest episode, probably because it was the most predictable. And this was the first time that the documentary style really bothered me. Why would these families have camera crews in their homes on Christmas?

dez said...

I really enjoyed it. I also want to know how Manny added the special effect to the home movie....

JasonR said...

Ugh, I am not a Phil fan. That character only works when you are seeing his positive side (the birthday party). All the other times, he comes off as a creepy, needy, clueless dork.

Overall, I do like Modern Family, but they have put up a few bombs that got minimal laughs from me.

Nancy said...

Not the best episode, I agree, but I laughed out loud well into the commercials when the bad Santa came in, shirtless, and said "Who wants to try out the swing?" right after Cam and Mitchell were telling Jay it was OK to start new traditions.

Steve Wirzba said...

I think lackluster is the perfect way to put it. It seems that in previous episodes, where creativity was allowed to roam completely free and any plotline could be invented, there was funnier material. Within the confines of Christmas, I was dissapointed with what they came up with.. I dunno, it just seemed like it was an opportunity to make a early landmark episode of the show, and they didn't step up.

gladly said...

I agree that it wasn't the best episode, but the character of Cam is brilliant in nearly every scene. Where is he supposed to be from that a bathtub full of eggnog and cramming a greased pig in a Santa hat is traditional?

And Cam's shirt in this episode might have been the most perfect thing about it.

Jeff said...

I really liked this episode. I think it was mainly because I could relate to Phil's "over-threat." Either follow through or back down, either way you look like an idiot.

I am also giddy for the casting of Fred Willard as Phil's dad. I couldn't be more excited.

Anonymous said...

I also liked the throwaway comment about "We're not putting Lily in that, it looks like something astronauts would use." Which built to the "Who want to try the swing?" line.

It wasn't as good as the birthday episode, but I still enjoyed it.

Rick said...

Hooray the Your Vegas song!

LA said...

While I agree that it maybe wasn't the best MF, I still really enjoyed it. I can't believe how invested I am in these characters after only half-a-season. Even when they aren't hysterical, I still enjoy spending time with them.

More Fred Willard!

SR said...

Am I the only one who feels consistently put off by the sappy voiceover summing up What We've Learned at the end of every episode?

Jennifer said...

I would agree it was the worst episode, mainly due to lack of funny and to some degree (the Dunphy tree plot and the Santa bum) being the most like a traditional sitcom that we've all seen a billion times before. The traditional stuff is why I hate family sitcoms in the first place. I think the only thing that really stood out here was Colombian Christmas.

erin said...

I'm with Alan here...I smiled, but didn't really laugh (except for the shirtless santa and the swing joke). I was pleasantly surprised that no one in the family burned the couch (I was sure it was going to be Claire), but besides the image of Phil dragging that tree in and out of the house, it wasn't a laugh riot.

...i was oddly pleased to see Santa knock out the jerk caroler.

And I did get a laugh out of Cam and Mitchell's Glamour Shot photo above the fireplace.

Here's to some great MF in the new year!

Stef said...

I totally agree with the first commenter, that the show could have gone the easy cynical route by making the Santa guy steal something from the house or otherwise be a jerk, but instead they went for an actual heartwarming story. It surprised me as a cynical viewer. And that's what I love the most about this show, its warmth.

Anonymous said...

how many shows can fred willard get cast as the guest father on?

Indeed said...

Are you a robot?

Loved that line. Mostly because my friends said that to me when I watched Steel Magnolias (for the first time just a couple of years ago) and didn't shed a tear.

Love this show even when the episode is so-so.

ghoti said...

For me, this show is in the sweet spot.

I love the characters so much, every episode makes me happy.

I don't need to compare them or rank them. I just love watching. It gives me a sitcom buzz!

Tyroc said...

I think it tilted a little too far on the sentimental side (as opposed to funny side) but hard not to have a smile on my face when it was over. Tis the season and all that.

Brian said...

As a father that recently followed through on a ridiculous ultimatum that was more punishment to me than to the child (lest I lose all authoratay), I loved the Phil plot.

sean said...

Wow, put me in the camp of "Liked it". I really enjoyed this episode. Phil shooting his mouth off was hilarious. "......makes up for it by taking his whole family to Italy!!!".

The Santa Claus being fired was a funny storyline and the actor who played the Santa who lives in his car (which is roomier now that the wife left him) is a favorite of mine from Reno 911. He plays the Mayor who is constantly wasted at a brothel and usually has some of the funnier moments of the show. I loved the moment when he pulls out the knife and it scares Mitchell. Punching out the guy who was still insulting a forgiving Cam was the icing on the cake for me.

Great episode. While I too enjoy all members being together (or odd pairings).....this episode was a winner for me.

forg/jecoup said...

I like the episode, Manny and Cameron are truly wonderful with everything they do

I'm a bit disappointed Phil's dad just appeared for a few seconds, hope he returns on larger scale on the succeeding episodes

The "heartwarming side" of this show is the reason why this show is a ratings winner, so I hope people will give the last VO summing up the "lesson" or "theme" some slack.

Josh M. said...

They have to tone Phil down at some point. There is no way Claire would have ever married that guy.

Steve said...

Fizbo was so off the charts, I guess I could see where the feeling is that this ep was lacking, but I found it to be pretty funny and wonderfully heartfelt at the same time.

Rob said...

I also agree, not the best one, but not the worst one either - that'd be the first day of school episode. This one had it's moments, at least. No show can maintain the level of some of their best episodes every time out, I'm willing to live with a few decent ones for the Shelly Longs and Fizbos

Chip said...

Yea I've been watching this series nonstop during Winter Break and I remembered seeing lackluster under this ep but while watching it I thought it must be a Innocente (corny but I couldn't help it)joke that you didn't like this one. Is it better than bicycle thief or incident, of course not but pretty solid overall to me, especially the Cam/Mitchell/Santa plotline. In fact despite some weak eps in the middle this whole 10 episode run was pretty solid. And even those were enjoyable because I love the characters. Great show, glad I decided to check it out.