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October 13, 2015

Modern Family: The Incident

by Jason Hughes, posted Oct 15th 2009 1:45AM
Shelley Long, Modern Family(S01E04) You know, I never even thought about the fact that Jay's ex-wife might still be out there. I don't know why, but I guess I figured she was dead or something, since nobody's even mentioned her prior to tonight. Now I know why that's the case. There's a lot of history to this family, and it looks like we're going to be able to piece it together.

I loved the flashbacks we did get this week, and Shelley Long as the ex-wife is just brilliant casting. And may I say she's been aging very well. She hasn't lost even a bit of her comic shops, either. I'm hoping she agreed to come back and play this role over and over again. Since she's also Claire and Mitchell's mother, there's reason for her to come back over and over again.

Every week, I'm blown away at all the little moments of humor the writers find in these three families. They pack so much in a short half-hour that I come out of it exhausted. Tonight's episode stuck to one main plot, but man was it good.

I suspect that every family has something in their collective past they refer to as "The Incident." For the Pritchards, it's Dede's (Long) behavior at Jay and Gloria's wedding. It was an absolute hoot watching DeDe going crazy, flailing around and getting physically dragged out by her children. Even better was the cut to an interview with Gloria and Jay where he says he drives the ladies crazy, and a "Too soon" admission at her glare.

DeDe first showed up at Mitchell and Cameron's house where she couldn't help but judge Cameron for his size. I guess it could be worse; at least she's open enough to accept their relationship. She just doesn't appreciate Cam's scone choice. She apparently was incredibly harsh to Claire in her childhood.

The scene where her bitch son Mitchell went over to Jay's house to try and convince him to allow DeDe to attend a family dinner that night was brilliant. Jay knew Gloria would never go for it, so he declared that Mitchell had never come over there and that if it was going to happen, it was going to be a horrible idea that Jay would be horrified about going along with Gloria. And that's exactly what he did that night when they showed up and saw DeDe there.

And how perfect was it that after Gloria accepted her forgiveness, it was DeDe who lost control and attacked her. In one episode, I found myself wanting to know so much more about DeDe than what we got. Why has the entire family seemingly disowned her? Is it because of "The Incident" for her children, or is it because of her judgmental ways ... or something else entirely?

It was beautiful that it was Haley's boyfriend, Dylan, who brought a sense of wisdom to the proceedings. All that was happening was coming to a place of love, and it is the love of this family that touched him. And then he proceeded to announce, in song, that he wanted to do Hayley in front of the entire family.

Apparently, the tune was pretty catchy, too, because everyone was humming it in the closing moments. Brilliantly filmed sequence shifting from character to character to wrap the episode.

[You can check out clips and full episodes of Modern Family at SlashControl.]

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I loved when Phil was holding back tears after Dylan's song and says "He's perfect"

October 16 2009 at 3:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Modern Family is now definitively my favorite new comedy this season over Community. The main story was hilarious and Shelly Long had a great performance. And then there was the Dylan song. So inappropriate and yet so appropriate. Full review of the episode.


October 15 2009 at 8:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What happened to the middle child of julie Bowens. See seemed to be in the title but not in the episode, weird given it had a family dinner in it.

Also if you like this check out outnumbered. Its from the BBC, i dont know if you have had it in the states yet. Brilliantly observed show where the kids steal it.

October 15 2009 at 5:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This show is just hilarious. Phil is like the Michael Scott character in the office and is just downright funny.

October 15 2009 at 3:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"i've got gloria!"

October 15 2009 at 11:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to scott's comment

Yes! And he did it twice! I can't get enough of the Gloria character (Sofia Vergara) and Phil's holding her back was a proxy for us all, just awesome.

BTW, you can download (!) Dylan's song from its ABC site, amazing.

October 15 2009 at 12:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pierre-Luc Allie

I'm from "French Canada". I never met anyone named Chad or Chaz.

So a great episode. The song put the episode over the top.

October 15 2009 at 11:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

RE: "their lifestyle choice"

At first I was really angry at seeing that phrase... but upon further thought, maybe you just don't know that that is extremely offensive and inaccurate. People don't CHOOSE to be gay. For future reference, here's a link to GLAAD's media guide. A better phrase is "sexual orientation."


October 15 2009 at 10:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to chrisb's comment

agreeed, that's a much better phrase. it was pretty offputting seeing it described as a choice.

October 15 2009 at 12:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jason Hughes

You know, it was insensitive on my part. I used lifestyle choice simply to have it for comparison to the phrase "scone choice" with no regard to the fact that it's not a choice. I went for "clever."

It was sloppy on my part, and I should have caught it and changed it before now. Nevertheless, I apologize and it has been changed.

October 15 2009 at 12:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Such a great family with the good, the bad and the crazy.
We loved the Dylan song
Modern Family fansite

October 15 2009 at 10:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Another really really strong episode. I'm just wondering how much longer they can keep knocking them out of the park.

October 15 2009 at 6:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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