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April 21, 2014

Review: Modern Family - Up All Night

by Jason Hughes, posted Jan 7th 2010 11:47AM
Benjamin Bratt, Modern Family: Up All Night(S01E11) You know, I thought Jay was far too clever to be wooed by Colombian charm -- and I'm not talking about Gloria. I think most of us wouldn't mind being charmed by her.

Benjamin Bratt turned in a solid, and charming, performance as Manny's father Javier. He absolutely nailed the elements of the douchebag father who tries to make up for broken promises and absence with gifts and fun, fun, fun. It works on the kids, while they're young, and apparently it works on adults as well.

But it was the kids that were the linchpin of this episode, in a way. They provided the opening narrative to the episode, including Luke trying to figure out what "talking black" means and Alex being told to grow up and act more like an adult; a statement brilliantly followed up with Phil acting absolutely ridiculous with Luke.

Phil was on fire tonight. He has got to be the biggest drama queen on the show, and that's including the self-proclaimed one in Cameron. Mitchell and Cam had one of the smallest plots of the night, but we didn't need much more than those hidden camera shots of Cameron trying over and over again to go into Lily's room to soothe her crying to bring the laughs. It got particularly funny when Cameron compared himself to an over-protective mother bear and then got shooed into the bedroom with a chair.

Phil's gall stone was the dominating story in that household, which fed Ty Burrell some of the most ridiculously over-dramatic lines we've seen yet. I loved that his daughters never believed that his life was in any real danger, despite his protestations, but that Luke was absolutely torn by it. It's absolutely perfect and appropriate for a young son to believe everything his father says. I was a little surprised, and pleased, to see genuine concern and love for him from Haley.

But my favorite moment was before the firefighters arrived when Luke admitted he'd broken the coffee table, followed by Phil's drawn out explanation of what happened to Esperenza after they blamed her and fired her -- she wound up stealing a turkey and getting deported. And Luke knew what was happening each step of the way and still kept his lie. Oh kids are cold, aren't they?

But not as cold as parents can be. We finally got to meet Manny's "dead beat" dad in Bratt's portrayal. Gloria told us he was very charming, and he was. Despite his best efforts to withstand the charm, Jay ultimately fell deep for it. Javier brought back all the cool things about himself that he "used to" do and be, as well as allowing him to do things he'd never got to do, like hit a curve ball in a baseball stadium.

Complete with gifts and a heaping helping of bad influence, Javier came in like a whirlwind and spun Jay's sensible life right out of control. There were some great moments throughout the episode, like Manny dropping his head on the table, but it was Sofia Vergara who really shined. She was absolutely right about Javier's influence, and equally right about why she didn't stay with him and instead chose Jay.

In an awkward situation, it was a beautiful testament to how real and strong her commitment was to Jay, and a reminder of why I love the families in this show. In fact, I don't think I could take it if any of these three couples broke up. I know it's very typical in "modern families," but I really hope the writers never have to play that card. I'll allow fighting and even a possible separation, but those bonds of love are what holds this big family together.

[To join in the bond, you can find clips and full episodes of Modern Family at SlashControl.]

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Diane

I absolutely love this show! It's the best comedy on TV in a very long time. This episode about Phil's kidney stone and Claire getting dressed up for the firemen made me cry from laughing so hard. The part I thought that was really funny was in the hospital when Phil said that he would hate for the last thing that Claire said to him would be a lie. So she whispered that she got dressed up, and he said "I knew it" as she walked out.

February 02 2010 at 11:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wendy

Great episode, hilarious show!

Just a few small (spelling) corrections:

"We finally got to meat" should be "meet"

"Completely with gifts and a heaping helping of band influence, " should be (I'm guessing) "Complete" and "bad"

January 08 2010 at 3:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lisa

And I thought it was just me that loved firemen :) - not really - I recall my nurse friend who told me that when the firemen were slated to come to the hospital for a planned drill each year, the nurses would all doll up.

This ep hit all the notes and Benjamin B was perfect and cast so well. My favorite 'ah' moment was when Jay is woefully standing by the curb awaiting Javier and in a classic role reversal Manny came to get him.

January 08 2010 at 6:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
brooke

I loved when Mitchell sprained his ankle, and had Cam call the hot firemen too. Mitchell went into the bedroom to change into a nicer shirt, and Cam took pictures of one of the firemen carrying Mitchell out of the house. Hysterical!

January 08 2010 at 1:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jeremy

Great episode, just one correction....Luke spilling the beans did not happen at the hospital, it was at the house, during the time when Julie Bowen went away to change into her new top...right before the firemen got there

January 07 2010 at 3:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
themothchase

Great episode - I loved how the three family storylines each revealed a different way to be a dad and a different version of being a man...all tied together by the manliest of men, the hot firefighters! This show is not just funny; it's also smart and deep - a rare combination!

Best line - Phil to Luke about the ouijia board, "That wasn't wind, buddy. We brought something forth there" - I love it!

I blog about Modern Family at http://themothchase.wordpress.com - check us out!

January 07 2010 at 2:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sarah

I thought the interaction between Claire and Phil was hilarious and how he kept noticing that she put on nice clothes and make-up for the firefighters. Did you notice that the women he befriended in the hospital all looked like perfect mixes of Claire and Gloria? That was funny.

January 07 2010 at 1:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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