A review of last night's "Modern Family" coming up just as soon as you hand me the Itty-Bitty Book Light...
"Fears" was the first "Modern Family" in a while that I enjoyed a lot even though it kept the families separate (and, as often happened, sub-divided the Dunphy clan into two groups, this time by gender). I still prefer episodes where there's some crossover, as the unlikely combinations tend to feel fresher, but "Fears" (written by co-creator Steven Levitan, and directed by Reginald Hudlin) showed that there's still plenty to be done with the more traditional family units.
Cam and Mitchell's "mommy" panic was the broadest, and funniest, storyline of the night. Usually it's Phil who's inserting his foot deep into his mouth, Michael Scott-style, but here it was the guys' attempt to not sound racist even as they tried to pass the whole thing off on "the giant panda in the room" that was the pediatrician's Asian-ness. Loved Eric Stonestreet's pained delivery of "Mommy!" in the talking head after Lily said it a second time, as well as the payoff to the doctor's line about becoming an Asian stereotype, followed by her turning out to be a horrible driver.
Manny, meanwhile, is such an effective, unique character that he works in any combination, including with his mom and stepdad. That he has his own specific fishing outfit (with cap and cable-knit sweater) feels very Manny, as does Gloria assuring him that "your salmon is legendary." And I about did a spit take when Manny told Jay, "Wake up, old man!"
Though the male and female Dunphys were separate, I really appreciated the use of Claire's "three deep breaths" advice to tie the stories together, as we saw Luke do it before he dove under the house. That kind of subtle stuff works better for me at establishing the show's heart-warming side then the closing voiceovers do. And Luke and Phil make a great comedy team because Luke is so much his father's son. The tag at the end with them speculating on what they could buy with the hypothetical treasure in the attic was priceless.
What did everybody else think?