At its best, Modern Family plays like an old school slapstick comedy. The zingers fly faster than lightening and while there’s the occasional “man falling down” gag (see: Cam’s spill tonight), the biggest laughs come from more elaborate scenes, like Phil fixing the printer as Luke and Manny thought Gloria’s grandmother was haunting them. It’s part of the reason Modern Family is the best comedy on television, that so much thought goes in to every joke over the 30 minutes.
“The Kiss” incorporated elements of this signature style, as I mentioned above, but it also did something new, which was to pull all of the stories into one, centering on the family’s hang-ups with physical displays of affection. In one thread, you had Cameron confronting Mitchell’s dislike of public displays of affection,* while Claire tried to get Alex to slow down with a boy so as not to gain a reputation. All of this was going on while Phil his hardest to set up Jay’s computer and Jay mocked Gloria for her insistence on keeping Columbian traditions, respecting her dead grandmother.
*There was a bit of an uproar during the summer over the fact that Cam and Mitchell had never slowed any physical affection on the show. There was one scene in particular in which Cam and Mitchell hugged as Claire and Phil kissed.
What we got was a nice bit in which Gloria forced Jay to confront his own issues with displays of affection, which trickled down amongst the whole family. It wasn’t just a lesson learned by two or three characters, but one for everyone. As I’ve said before, Modern Family can frequently have a super sweet moment at the end in which everyone reveals the lesson they learned, but I kind of liked the way that it all came out in one big scene, which worked perfectly.
Few notes were missed in this episode, and there were a lot of great moments, like Hailey and Alex’s conversation about first kisses and Jay screaming at the chicken for Gloria’s benefit. Like I said, I liked that the show broke some new ground and tried something a little different, which is encouraging as it starts its second season. I’m looking forward to seeing what new tricks they have in the next 20 episodes.
“He blew his lid when she tried to contain him.”
Phil beat boxing was amazing
“Ugh, Mom, my arm hurts!”
“Slap the chicken!”
“This guy’s been working like an imbecile all day!”
Michael’s Score: 88
TUiW Grade: A