‘Modern Family’ – ‘Dance Dance Revelation’: Let’s go to the mall (today)

Senior Television Writer
12.09.10 43 Comments


A quick review of last night’s “Modern Family” coming up just as soon as I hire a hobo to traumatize my child…

There were parts of “Dance Dance Revelation” that made my teeth gnash: the return of the unnecessary voiceover after a stretch where the show had mostly done without it, a subplot with Claire at her most insufferable(*), the cringe-y “white on rice” joke or the predictable one about Spot being the dog’s name. But then there were many more parts of the episode that made me double over with laughter, and in the balance, I’ll take that.

(*) This was an episode in which Jay, Claire and Mitchell were largely acting as the antagonists in their respective stories (Jay and Claire more than Mitchell). That makes sense from a character perspective – they are, after all, related by nature and nurture – but it also is a reminder that the same kind of material doesn’t work as well for different performers. Jay being overbearing with Phil is still funny, because it’s a kind of joke Ed O’Neill is good at. Mitchell as control freak can be very funny. Claire as control freak makes me want to sic Lily on her. It’s a part of her character, yes, but a part that I despise.

The highlight of the half-hour was Phil taking out his Jay-related frustrations on the department store cologne guy – just a weird, silly, relatable tour de force from Ty Burrell. (His running style alone as he chased the guy through the store was hysterical.) But it was far from the only laugh-out-loud moment, whether from a good throwaway joke (Cam lumping in Naomi Campbell with Hitler and Charles Manson as horrible people with straight parents, or Phil defending “Pay It Forward” by insisting “They don’t make movies out of bad ideas”), more physical comedy (Mitchell using his teeth as a multi-purpose tool, which then paid off nicely as Cam said “Don’t bite my head off; I’m not a pack of batteries!”) or just good character comedy (the cutaway to Phil trying to teach Jay to say “Dunphy”). It wasn’t the show firing on all cylinders, but it was the show demonstrating great comic versatility.

All that, and Danny Trejo in a relatively normal, non-machete-wielding role. Again, I’ll take that.

What did everybody else think?

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