'Modern Family' - 'Fears' Recap
by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 4th 2010 3:01AM
(S01E16) What are you afraid of? That was the question facing the three families that make up this exceptional comedy series. Whether it's a fear of roller coasters, tight places, passing your driver's test, getting asked to dance, or that your daughter isn't connecting to you, it's how we deal with our fears that defines us as people.
'Modern Family' actually surpassed itself in one regard this week. In 16 episodes, most of which were fantastic, this was the first one to choke out a genuine emotional response from me. Phil's closing monologue was touching, and touched on another fear that all parents face: the fear of your children growing up too fast. That, and the fear that they're going to kill someone in your car.
Sarah Hyland is really starting to come into her own in the role of Haley. She's been relegated mostly to stereotypical teenage behavior through most of the series run, but we got to see some of her own personality shine during her driving test, and she has great comic timing. The expressiveness of her big eyes reminds me a lot of Mila Kunis' performance on 'That '70s Show.' I guess when you're working with writing this great, and a cast as talented as this one, you can't help but up your own game.
In fact, I'd say all the Dunphy kids are really growing into fully-fledged characters in their own right, capable of sustaining their own storylines. That fact alone adds even more layers to one of the most diverse and layered family dynamics on all of television. I find myself watching Alex and Luke and looking forward to seeing how they grow up over the next six to ten years that this show is bound to be on.
But for now, they're kids. Which is good for Phil because he's little more than one himself, terrified of the crawl space beneath his house. At first, I thought Luke was lying about being caught on the pipe just to trick his father in, but then I remember that Luke's really not all that bright.
It was clever to spend the entire episode showing us just how crippled by his fear Phil was, only to surprise us at the end with the revelation that Jay is letting his own fear hold him back. But apparently, all it takes is a purse and a floppy hat to convince Jay to throw caution to the wind and ride the roller coaster. I appreciate the parenting style that is being shown between Sofia and Manny. He's an odd little kid -- loved that fishing outfit -- but she's shown as a compassionate, strong, loving and very effective parent to him.
As for Jay, well, he only understands about 20% of what's going on in his house, but you can tell that he's trying to be a better father to Manny than he ever was to his own kids. Manny's another one that will be absolutely fascinating to watch over the years. He's such an old soul, pining already for love.
I was excited to see Suzy Nakamura back as Lily's doctor; only this time awkwardly as a guest in Cam and Mitchell's house. She plays a great straight man to their over-the-top antics. The Asian jokes were flying awkwardly all throughout her visit, but it was capped off in probably one of the best set-ups for a racial shock-joke I've ever seen.
When Dr. Miura declared she didn't want to be a stereotype, and then backed into their trashcans proclaiming she didn't see them, only to sideswipe a car on her way out I was almost too shocked to laugh. Then I was laughing too hard to be shocked. Did they just do that? I asked myself, but of course they did. And of course it worked.
[For clips and full episodes of 'Modern Family', visit our friends at SlashControl.]