‘Modern Family’ – ‘Earthquake’: Who could possibly hate brunch?

Senior Television Writer
10.07.10 29 Comments


A quick review of last night’s “Modern Family” coming up just as soon as I play Good Cop/Mom…

Though I am contractually obligated in these reviews to mention my preference for episodes featuring the three families together and/or mixed up, every now and then the show will give us a wholly satisfying, very funny episode with the three groups in isolation. “Earthquake” was one of those episodes. A simple, effective, very funny outing.

Of the three plots, I laughed the most at Cam/Mitchell, which pushed Cam’s more theatrical qualities to the extreme (the blacksmith/chimney sweep joke, “Seder-Day Night Fever”),  featured a guest appearance by Nathan Lane where his natural hamminess was an asset (of course Cam would have dated a guy like this at some point), and featured an incredibly old-fashioned silly name punchline – “No, you’re not a joke! You’re Pepper Saltzman!” – that still made me laugh at ton.

But in a way, the group whose story I enjoyed most was the one that I usually find to be the weak link in episodes like this: the Dunphys. Because Phil is often too stupid and/or too much of a Michael Scott rip-off, because Claire works best as a straight woman (and is setting up a character in Phil I only sometimes find funny), and because they tend to be the most predictable plots, more often than not I consider Dunphys a necessary evil to let me get back to Cam, Gloria and the others. But fair is fair, and this was a good one, because it didn’t set into any kind of predictable one-on-one rhythm. Claire’s annoyed with Phil at the same time she’s trying to discipline Hayley, Hayley is mad at her mom and Alex at once, Phil is trying to stall Claire’s bathroom escape while also working on Luke and Alex’s silence, etc. And the payoff, with Phil having to drive Alex to the Museum of Tolerance, was very adroitly set up.

What did everybody else think?

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