Thursday, February 04, 2010

Modern Family, "Moon Landing": Po-lice that moostash!

A quick review of last night's "Modern Family" coming up just as soon as I blame the Latino driver...

"Moon Landing" was a mixed bag of an episode, I thought. There were plenty of great one-liners as usual - Phil comparing J├Ągermeister to a potion from a fairy tale, "only you don't wake up in a castle, you wake up in a frat house with a bad reputation" may be the funniest joke of the series so far - and some good bits of physical (Jay in the locker room with Cam) and behavioral (Manny stuffing his mouth with cupcakes to avoid his mom's wrath) comedy, yet something felt lacking in it.

The set-up of making the Dunphy house seem like a hellmouth for Minnie Driver's arrival was a little labored (and/or predictable); if not for the usual endearing goofiness from Dylan, and my love of mustache-related humor, I would have gotten very impatient with that storyline. Conversely, the resolutions to both Jay and Gloria's stories felt too abrupt.

(Also, Driver's non-regional American accent is distracting, as opposed to when she puts on a specific one, like on "The Riches." Neither is incredibly believable, but at least on "The Riches" I accepted it and moved on, where here I kept thinking, "Boy, Minnie's struggling with this, isn't she?")

The show has banked enough good will with me, though, that I'm fine with an episode that worked in the small moments but not in the bigger ones. The Jagermeister joke alone was worth the tune-in.

What did everybody else think?

45 comments:

Brian said...

I agree some parts seemed a bit disjointed and forced, but turning "Selleck" into a verb and the "Say Anything" bit had me rolling.

Omagus said...

I thought it was ok. I liked seeing Minnie Driver. It made me miss the good days of "The Riches."

Anonymous said...

At this point, I love this show so much that I just enjoy it even when it has an off week like this. I just love all the characters. Cam and Mitchell's talking heads are always the best.

drbluman said...

Personally, I was hoping for "I finish up some business. Successfully, I might add!" to be the tag for your "as soon as."

Also, Ty Burrell constantly delivers his lines like he's taken half of a tranq dart. It's weird, but it totally works in the show.

Indeed said...

I thought it was a great episode. I was laughing and rewatching bits. I thought Manny killed in this episode.
Alan, I feel like you're a bit hard on this show sometimes. I still look forward to reading what you have to say, just saying. :-)

elizs said...

I'm with Brian. There were some awesome lines in here, and the "Say Anything" ("newspaper") part at the end had me laughing so hard I was almost crying. An uneven episode of this show still makes me laugh more than anything else on TV right now.

Matt said...

Two points:

1. Anything Phil says or does almost invariably winds up being hilarious, and the Jagermeister bit was no exception.
2. The show continues to work at its best when it throws the characters together in new combinations with one another--this week, we got Jay/Cameron (always funny) and Mitchell/Gloria/Manny (a new combination that paid off).

They have a great cast, and I wish they wouldn't rely on guest stars so much--they're distracting and almost invariably wind up in a "single family segment" plot--let these characters bounce off each other. Let Halley and Cameron go prom dress shopping. Let Jay bond with Luke. Let Manny and Phil just hang out. These are combos that haven't been explored and strike me as having comic potential.

Anonymous said...

Haha! I thought the exact same thing about Minnie Driver's accent.

I think they just tried to do too much with this episode and didn't have enough time to develop any of the bits well enough.

greatreader said...

Yes, please, on Cameron and Haley prom dress shopping.

dez said...

I was pretty happy with it (and also thought of you as I was saying, "Po-lice that moostash!" at Phil). I saw that "moon landing" joke several times in previews (especially during LOST) and still laughed myself silly when it showed up in the episode. Also agree with Indeed that Manny just killed this ep. That kid is an amazing find.

Jennifer said...

There were so many random good moments in this one. The "Supreme" joke. Manny the squealer. The "Say Anything" reference. Luke in his underwear with Jaegermeister.

I mean, yeah, overall...eh, what do I know about overall? I kept on laughing.

Amy said...

Totally agree with Matt, I can't figure out why Minnie Driver's role had to be played by Minnie Driver?

Couldn't any actress have played that role? I think it was more distracting than effective that it was Minnie Driver since the character really didn't have to rely on any special comic skills.

Enough guest stars. Cast is strong enough.

I will be repeating Jagemiester bit for the rest of time.

Anonymous said...

Yes, come on Alan, you're awfully hard on this kick-butt show. It's consistenly funny and better than anything else on tv right now. Everybody LOVES the characters.

"She got so mad she honked so long that the horn ran out!"

Loved Ty struggling to waive out of the Johnny on the Spot with that dumb mustache. Perfect!

Anonymous said...

For me, the best bit was Mitchell discussing his driving habits:

"Like, I never used to let people in, and now I do...

I'm just now getting that metaphor."

Matt said...

I should note that I have no problem with guests when they work well--Shelley Long and Kristen Schaal both were nice bits of casting for the show, and Schaal in particular isn't famous enough to throw things out of whack. It's just the big-star guest stars have been a distraction.

LA said...

I loved the callback to Dylan's now-recorded song in the "Say Anything" scene.

Danny said...

I personally can't stop giggling over what a Moon Landing is. I wasn't expecting that and the way it was brought up by Cam so non-nonchalantly was perfect.

Kelli Marshall said...

The best line was little, but it made me laugh aloud: in passing, Claire calls Phil "Mario."

Also, I'm glad to see that other people miss THE RICHES. As bizarre as that show was, I was so sorry to see it canceled.

Heather K said...

OH MY GOD!! Matt Cameron + Mitchell + prom dress shopping = my happy place.

Writers, please read this and do that!!!

steve said...

I am constantly amazed by this show. It hit the ground running and has impressed me every week. I love it. I can't remember a comedy starting out so wonderful since Arrested Development.

The best part of the show is that all three segments of the family are funny in their own right and have a different style of humor.

blinky said...

What ever happened to The Riches???? It kind of melted away after the writers strike.

Anonymous said...

Why did Minnie Driver even need an American accent? She was a high level employee of a multinational corporation. Couldn't she have been English?

SaraK said...

I, too, felt that Minnie Driver was struggling with the accent and I kept thinking that she did a much better job on 'The Riches'. But the episode was hilarious. I couldn't stop laughing. Manny is always spot-on. I loved Mitchell and Gloria. Cam and Jay were super funny together. Phil never ceases to make me snort and cry with laughter. Claire calling him "Mario" was awesome.

Manton said...

I can see where Alan's coming from with this episode bei g a bit off, more one-liners and gags than humor brought out of situations (I think I rolled once or twice, which was new). But when the one-liners are as good as they were last night, I really don't mind.

And is it weird that I saw the moustache and said aloud, "that's a TREND!"

katie70810 said...

Modern Family is so funny that even its uneven episodes are better than a lot of what passes as "comedy" these days. The scene on the street corner while Manny is pretending to tie his shoe and explaining that the accident really was his mom's fault had me rolling. I loved the tribute to Say Anything and Phil's mustache and Jaegermeister bits were hilarious. My one quibble about the Jaegermeister bit is that a kid wouldn't have known how to pronounce it - unless they already new what it was.
I was glad to see Minnie Driver back on tv; I've missed her since The Riches. Actually, I didn't find Minnie's accent nearly as distracting here as it was on The Riches. I live in South Louisiana and no one here has an accent that is even close to what she was approximating.

katie70810 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Omagus said...

blinky: What ever happened to The Riches???? It kind of melted away after the writers strike.

That's pretty much what happened. The strike caused the second season to be cut in half, which wrecked havoc on the plot. I guess ratings fell too much after that for FX to bring it back.

Robin said...

Phil - "Can I say something?"

Claire- "No, Mario, you can't."

I thought I was going to fall off the couch.

I thought the Cam/Jay story was the least funny, but I think that's because the ABC promo monkeys killed the best punch lines all week. However, Phil's mustache was solid gold.

Matt said...

As someone who has (from time to time) considered bailing on my day job to try and write full time, thanks for the encouragement, guys. Not entirely sure what I'd do with the situation, but it's an inherently funny one.

(Also, Gloria and Cameron having a "ladies day out" has potential.)

John said...

The funniest line for me was "The movie Working Girl is so clutch".

The laughs just kept coming last night from all angles.

Katie said...

Minnie Driver was definitely distracting. In fact, I find most guest stars on ANY show distracting, regardless of if they are talking with an unnatural accent. (It is for this reason that HIMYM, one of my favorite shows, is starting to get on my nerves.)

The J├Ągermeister joke was pretty awesome, though.

Rosa said...

Best lines.

Jay ( on not wanting to be in the locker room with Cameron): To me it's a locker room. To him it's a show room.

Mitchell: Dad, did you know Gloria caused the car crash?
Jay: Of course I did. She's a horrible driver. She could hit 10 cars and I wouldn't be surprised.

Manny ( on why he didn't tell Gloria the car crash was her fault): She can't stand criticism. One time an old lady at a crosswalk screamed at her and she honked the horn so much the horn ran out.

Jen said...

The locker room scenes didn't work as well for me, but I loved the stuff with Phil. The reveal that Claire and Phil got married and then 5 months later... were 4 months away from having hailey was pretty awesome.

And Manny should know that denying you want a cupcake is the first sign that something's up.

srpad said...

Could someone tell me what Gloria said that prompted Mitchell to say "I just got that Metaphor." when she was describing the accident? I rewound it twice and just could not understand her.

Katty said...

Cam almost steals every scene he is in... He's just that funny.

Anonymous said...

The nuclear family does not work for me. I like Phil but his physical comedy is often weak. I liked his kidney stone pain performance but felt like most of his stunts don't land.

Claire desperately need more personality/quirks/things to do. Like if she was a stage mom, or played on a mom's soccer team. Tried to pick up her career. Terrorized the PTA. Something! Obsessively gardened.

Anything! Or make her dullness hilarious like with the comb holders at Luke's birthday/thanksgiving party.

Anonymous said...

srpad: check out the comment by anonymous at 11:47

srpad said...

To anon:
That part I heard. I could have sworn she said something else too. Guess not. Thanks.

Lawrence said...

The best part was the Moon landing with Ed O'Neil, and that tough guy with Cameron. I looked him up on IMDB, his name is Brian Oerly. I laughed my ass off. Great facial expressions by Ed and the Brian guy. Great episode...

Anonymous said...

I thought it was another good episode with some very witty lines. Still one of the top sitcoms out there - right up with the office for me.

Alan... I think when you start finding fault with minutia like Minnie Driver's accent you are missing the forest for the trees.

skl said...

Phil, Cam, and Manny might be close to passing Michael, Dwight, and Andy as the sitcom actor trifecta that can't miss. Just like with The Office they have other great characters. But anything with these 3 just kills. Even in a down espisode we always have great moments from one of these 3. Or usually...as with last night...all 3of them.

When the guy with the hard hat gives Phil the finger point after he comments on his 'stache and Phil practices it. Oh...I just lost it...had to pause and rewatch it a couple times. Just freaking fantastic. This show is great right now.

forg/jecoup said...

I must say Dylan is such a good recurring character he fits in well with the family!

Ang congrats to the ratings it held pretty well against AMERICAN IDOL! So glad to hear that :D

schmoker said...

I know that child stars often do not grow into great adult actors (whither Haley Joel Osment, one of the greatest child actors of all time), but if Rico Rodriguez is this good now, I cannot wait to see him grow over the years. He is consistently one of the best actors in this show, layering his looks and lines with all sorts of conflicting of complimenting diversions. He is hands down my favorite actor on the show.

Cagey (Kelli Oliver George) said...

Good points on Minnie Driver trying too hard. An actress of her caliber should not be caught "trying".

The fairy-tale potion comment, hands down, has been one of Phil's best thus far.

And! I have to say, that as a Tonganoxie, Kansas High School grad, I did love Cameron's (aka Eric Stonestreet of Kansas City) shout-out to Tonganoxie and appreciated his changing the state to protect our honor. Heh.

Andrew said...

Hey, 'Po-lice that moostash' is from Generation Kill. Good reference Alan.