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September 21, 2014

Review: Modern Family - Fizbo

by Jason Hughes, posted Nov 26th 2009 11:30AM
Modern Family: Fizbo
(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.

[Check Modern Family episodes on SlashControl.]

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William

This is definitely one of my favorite sitcoms on TV now; probably a close second to or a tie with The Big Bang Theory. Every episode makes me laugh out loud. Fantastic stuff.

November 30 2009 at 5:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
davidm3825

Why aren't the ABC shows on On Demand?

November 27 2009 at 12:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jennifer

I read in an interview with one of the actors that basically the baby who plays Lily is super hard to work with, cries all the time and such. They just literally discovered that they can't have the baby in many scenes because it'll take 10 times as long to film! Besides all the rules about how much time you can make babies "work" anyway. So I think they intended to have the baby around more and just ended up with a baby actor that wasn't really conducive to it. :) Maybe as TV time goes by they'll switch baby actors and the next one will be a calmer baby.

November 26 2009 at 6:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Heather

I think the end bit with the kids was hilarious too, especially Manny stating the girl he saved was getting really needy.

Manny Delgado, man of action.

November 26 2009 at 3:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jimmy_MO

This series has quickly become one of my favorites. Every one of the characters is hilarious in his or her own way, but my favorite is Manny. The kid playing him is spot on hilarious. This is a must-see series for me.

November 26 2009 at 2:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CParis

I love this show! I didn't catch it when it at the beginning of the season, but ended up going to hulu to get up to speed.
I like that none of the adult characters is completely flawless or completely inane - you don't have the typical sitcom smarthot wife paired witht the stoopid husband - both are clueless in their own way. Same with the gay couple - and fleshing out the sibling relationship is really funny - like so many families - it stays the same even if you're both 60 years old!

November 26 2009 at 1:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rich

I always think that about Everybody Lives Raymond. Where are the kids?

November 26 2009 at 11:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hartbroknagn

OMG.... LOL... I would write more but my stomach is still hurting from laughing so much

November 26 2009 at 11:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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