Review: Modern Family - Fizbo
by Jason Hughes, posted Nov 26th 2009 11:30AM
(S01E09) You've gotta love the use of the dramatic flashback to lead us into the saga of Luke's birthday party. Not only was the affectation utilized well, it again showcased the love and support at the heart of this family saga. Opening us at the hospital the way they did also nicely gave the whole episode that feeling of inevitable dread.
At the same time, they smartly kept the number of people involved in the hospital conversations very small at first so that we would have no choice but to speculate which member of the cast would wind up there, and via what means.
Then, they just sat back and let events unfold as Phil and Claire put together one of the coolest -- and lamest -- parties in the history of television. And still they found a way to let everyone shine for at least a scene or two.
I think my favorite aspect of it was when Haley unleashed the scorpion as a jealous response to Dylan's supposed flirting with the tattooed animal lady. Also, since we've seen the "Jay's Night" episode, we know that it's more a matter of Dylan being a very tall kid still, while Haley wants to pretend to be all sophisticated and grown up. But as we saw by what a dangerous and stupid thing she did, she's still very immature.
And dumb. The girl thought a scorpion was a giant bug. And then, after she unleashed it and caused several near riots, and ultimately the hospital incident, she felt no remorse at all. She was fully satisfied with her choices, because as a typical teenager, she is unable to see beyond her own selfish world-view. And, a little of it may be because she's not even smart enough to realize her role in the events.
Certainly, Cameron's turn as Fizbo the Clown had a role to play as well, but we can't blame Cam for that. Phil's the one kept his desperate fear of clowns a secret. Had he told the family about this, Cam likely would not have showed up as Fizbo. But like Mitchell, as much as I enjoyed the clown at the party, it was the ass-kicking clown at the gas station defending Mitchell that really brought the performance home for me. How amazing is Eric Stonestreet in this role?
If we're going to throw any blame at Cam's feet, then we're going to have to give some to Claire as well for her absolutely terrible crafts table idea. At the same time, while her beads are what Luke fell over during the great scorpion stampede of 2009, the chaos and panic allowed Manny to be the hero he needed to be to get the girl's attention. The message for all of us is to just be yourself, and don't forget to save her balloon dog as well.
I hadn't even realized the revelation about the spouses of Mitchell and Claire until the pair of them were talking about it. It is absolutely true, though, that the siblings are rather straight-laced and buttoned down. And yet, Phil and Cameron are completely without inhibitions. They are good matches, and it's another sign of good writing to have the siblings so similar in their demeanor; they are of the same genetic stock and were raised in the same household.
I know that's not the be-all and end-all of what kind of a person you wind up being, but we can get into the whole nurture vs. nature debate later. For now, I want to debate what Cam and Mitchell have been doing with Lily for all of these family functions of late. Yes, it's sitcom tradition for babies to kind of just disappear when there's no practical reason for them to be there, but I expect better from Modern Family. She's probably just off at a babysitter's all the time, but it would be nice for it to be acknowledged from time to time. In my family, everybody brings their babies.
I was also hoping a little for a more traditional Thanksgiving episode, but it was again relatable that they have this annual issue with Luke's birthday getting overshadowed by a holiday. My mother's birthday is on New Year's Eve, so we were always all too aware that it can be a struggle to share a birthday with a holiday. And there's always next year for a Thanksgiving sit-down with the extended Pritchett family.
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