Review: Modern Family - Great Expectations
by Jason Hughes, posted Nov 19th 2009 11:31AM
(S01E08) I don't know if enough credit is being given to the child actors on this show. All four are doing top-notch work... five if you count Lily. We already knew that Rico Rodriguez is amazing as Manny, but so little is being said about the Dunphy children. They haven't had as much screen time, yet, as really anyone else on the show, but who can deny how funny it is watching Ariel Winter as middle daughter Alex just torturing her dimmer siblings.
Sarah Hyland is channeling her best Mila Kunis in the role of eldest daughter Haley, who's just so tortured by how mean and horrible her family is. This week, she matched wits with her grandfather, only he'd been down this road so many times with his own daughter, and to a lesser extent his son, that he knows all the tricks by heart.
I was laughing so hard I had to rewind and watch the whole scene again when Haley got up from the table and stepped outside, only to find Jay out there already changing a light bulb.
There were an interesting pair of guest stars this week, one of which worked much better than the other. Edward Norton as a bass play for Spandau Ballet was a bit of a stretch; I'd argue too much of one. The idea of Claire completely missing the mark as to what her own "song" is with Phil is 100% plausible, as is her thinking five coupons for free hugs is a good anniversary gift.
Phil is so much more in touch with his romantic side than Claire, it's kind of amazing. All of that I was able to enjoy, but Norton just pulled me out of the story too much. Either he's too big of a star, or the character he was playing really wasn't working, but I found the extended living room "concert" sequence a real drag on the rest of the episode.
Elizabeth Banks, however, was just flawless as Sal. She completely sold me on the years of history between her, Cam and Mitchell. You could completely believe in the three of them partying it up in their younger days. And I think, after we start our families, we have those friends who are still living in that single world that we used to call our own. Of course, they're usually not threatening to kill our babies, or throw them in the ocean, but they are usually resentful of our life changes.
I've already mentioned Jay's light-bulb changing incident as a highlight of the night for me, but I also loved it when he actually did spray Manny right in the face with a water bottle for coming on too strongly with Haley. Later in the episode, they got me again when Mitchell was forcibly not allowing Sal to touch Lily at all.
- "Are you kidding me? I love it. Coupons for hugs... which are usually free, but this makes it official."
- "Is Grandpa dying?" -- Luke
"Didn't they tell you?" -- Alex
- "Well hello there, Haley." -- Manny
"Take it down a notch there, Jethro." -- Jay
- "Now I can see everything that goes on around here." -- Jay (changing a light bulb on the porch)
- "How did you know I was here?" -- Dylan
"This is how I first met Phil." -- Jay