‘Modern Family,’ ‘Airport 2010’: Get me to the plane on time

Senior Television Writer
05.06.10 37 Comments

A review of last night’s “Modern Family” coming up just as soon as I suck up to a 10-month-old…

At times during its freshman season, “Modern Family” has been guilty of laying the sentiment on too thick, particularly during that stretch of episodes that all ended with heartwarming voiceover, whether that particular half-hour needed one or not. “Airport 2010,” on the other hand, not only had the sentiment level dialed in just right, but was an episode where the show’s heartwarming side was a lot stronger than its comic side.

Very few of the episode’s big laughs came out of the major plot situations – Claire is afraid to fly, Phil has to drive Mitchell back to get his wallet, Jay wants some time alone, etc. – and the jokes that really landed were more throwaway stuff that came out of what we already know of the characters, like Cam getting emotional over “Billy Elliott” or Manny going for a shoeshine, and later declaring, “I’m just a boy trying to bring style back to traveling.”(*)

(*) The mistaken identity subplot with Manny and airport security felt like a real missed opportunity. Because he’s usually written as the world’s oldest 10-year-old, I think there was a lot of mileage to be had in the TSA agent refusing to believe Manny was 10, but the jokes only edged into that territory and then gave up.

But I thought the character work was very nicely-done, particularly the parallel conversations Mitchell and Claire had with each other’s spouses, and then the coda with Gloria revealing the final surprise about wanting several days of relaxation alone with Jay, and Jay declaring he couldn’t love her more – followed immediately by the topless beach mention and Jay, not skipping a beat, saying, “I was wrong.” Not only did that moment feel true to both characters, but the punchline at the end kept things from feeling too saccharine.

What did everybody else think? And with the characters all off to Hawaii for part two of this particular story, does anybody have a favorite sitcom vacation episode they’d like to see next week’s show try to top?

Around The Web