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July 28, 2014

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'Modern Family' - 'Benched' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Apr 15th 2010 3:43AM
'Modern Family' - 'Benched'
(S01E20)
I never got mortally embarrassed by my parents. I guess I always assumed that everyone else had them, so they understood. Or maybe I just saw too many television shows and movies about teenagers being horrified to be seen by other kids in the vicinity of those old people who brought them into the world. I don't know, though, if I could get even in quite the way that Claire did this week.

Hilarious but brutal.

On second thought, teenagers are horrible, manipulative, shallow little creatures. Claire did nothing wrong except maybe teach a little humility.

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'Modern Family' - 'Game Changer' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Apr 1st 2010 4:21AM
'Modern Familiy' - 'Game Changer'
(S01E19)
One of the reasons that Cameron and Mitchell are so fun is that Cameron manages to be both the more flamboyant one, and he's clearly the more badass of the two, as well. Mitchell is always kind of whiny and too uptight with his little fists. Unfortunately, when his ineffectiveness as a tough guy leads him to think he's letting his daughter down as a father, Mitchell decides he needs to toughen up.

Phil's birthday celebration took up the bulk of the episode. Well, actually it was the build-up to his birthday celebration, but most of the events happened on that day. So how'd it go? Well, I'll say that I've had plenty of birthdays that went about as well as Phil's did.

I also taught my sister how to play chess, and she beat me ... that very game. That's right. Now, we were both still children, but come on! That's just ridiculous!

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'Modern Family' - 'Starry Night' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 25th 2010 4:43AM
Eric Stonestreet & Sofia Vergara, 'Modern Family'(S01E18) It's time to mix up the relationships and find out which ones work the best. My theory: they all do. Tonight, we got to see Cameron hit the town with Gloria, while Jay brought Manny along on his and Mitchell's regular astronomy evening. The new dynamics worked better than anyone could have expected.

Cameron's constantly sticking his foot in his mouth while in Gloria's company created so many moments of hilarity, I had to pause the show several times just to make sure I didn't miss anything.

The Dunphy family stayed at home, because their kids are like all of our kids and neglected to tell their parents about a couple of major things that needed to be done before school the next day. One was a diorama on the life and work of Vincent Van Gogh, while the other was a batch of cupcakes.

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'Modern Family' - 'Fears' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 4th 2010 3:01AM
'Modern Famliy' - 'Fears'
(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.

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Review: 'Modern Family' - 'Moon Landing'

by Jason Hughes, posted Feb 4th 2010 2:22AM
The Dunphys, 'Modern Family'(S01E14) Sometimes I wonder if I could just write up a review of 'Modern Family' by listing all of the great quotes that come out of this show. Line for line, this has to be one of the cleverest series on television today. Even the episode title, 'Moon Landing,' recalls a great moment.

The action this week was split between Jay and Cameron heading off to the gym to play racquetball, Mitchell helping Gloria with a traffic-related legal problem, and Claire's reunion with an old work colleague from before Claire became a stay-at-home mom. Minnie Driver was well cast as the friend, Valerie, but her performance was completely overshadowed by the brilliance of the episode itself.

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Review: Modern Family - Not in My House

by Jason Hughes, posted Jan 14th 2010 2:00PM
Sofia Vergara(S01E12) I want a dog butler now. Sofia Vergara managed to do so much with her simple reactions to this dog, and Jay's interactions with it, throughout this episode, she had me laughing without saying a word. In fact, this may have been one of the funniest episodes of Modern Family yet.

Misunderstanding was the theme for all three families this week. You had Gloria misunderstanding Jay and Barkley's relationship -- Barkley being the dog butler. Cameron's big heart led to all kinds of Latino insanity in their household, to Mitchell's horror, while it was Phil's fear of his wife that allowed several instances of misunderstanding in the saga of the big bare breasted tractor rider (*Ahem* It's a combine).

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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.

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Review: Modern Family - Undeck the Halls

by Jason Hughes, posted Dec 10th 2009 1:30AM
Modern Family: Undeck the Halls
(S01E10)
I think we all know the holiday season is about learning from our mistakes, and then trying to make amends, right?

Well, that's what it's about in the extended Pritchett family. It's the first Christmas for Jay and his new family, but he's a little surprised when Manny starts bringing some Colombian Christmas traditions into the family. Cameron and Mitchell take Lily for her first Christmas photo with Santa Claus, only to be disappointed when a shift change brings a less realistic Mr. Claus to the chair. Cam has his own mini-crisis, though, because of a troupe of carolers he has some history with.

The craziest of all of this is what went down at the Dunphy household. As a parent of a ten-year old, I know I've struggled with having to go through with whatever threat I make during a disciplinary lecture. It taught me to be careful of what I say, because I may not want to go through the hassle of taking all the toys out of his room and putting them in the garage.

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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.

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Review: Modern Family - Great Expectations

by Jason Hughes, posted Nov 19th 2009 11:31AM
Modern Family: Great Expectations
(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.

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Review: Modern Family - En Garde

by Jason Hughes, posted Nov 5th 2009 1:50AM
Modern Family: En Garde(S01E07) I love more and more every week that we have these three different families we can pull from for our main focus. On most family shows, you're limited by the one family dynamic you're dealing with, and by the age of the kids involved. Here, in one show, we have a gay couple with a baby, a traditional couple with kids ranging from pre-teen to teenager, and an older man married to a younger woman with her young son.

That's like at least three different shows worth of material they can pull from each week. How can they possibly not find simply tons of moments of funny with that much to work with? So far, they've managed to pack every minute of each episode, and this week was no exception.

The main story was Manny's fencing tournament; of course it would be fencing Manny would excel at ... why not? From there, we extrapolated into the general parenting desire to have children who are great at something, and the desire of children to receive praise from their parents.

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Review: Modern Family - Run for Your Wife

by Jason Hughes, posted Oct 29th 2009 1:30AM
Sarah Hyland(S01E06) Once again, the three families on this show needn't interact at all for the series to work. Maybe if someone were tuning in for the first time, completely unaware that the three families were all related, they'd be confused as to why we're following these three separate storylines. Even then, though, I suspect they'd still laugh at Lily's costumes and Manny's Colombian pan flute.

As a parent, I'm not to the teenage years yet, so can't relate as well with the experiences of Phil and Claire, but I do remember the fear and panic you have with your first child. Every little bump is a crisis, as we saw. And, I'm ashamed to admit that I committed the same "horrible" crime they perpetrated on Lily later in the episode, as well.

As for Jay and Gloria ... oh, my son is in the fifth grade. Sometimes I feel like they're living my exact life. Maybe all fifth graders are equally off-the-wall, or maybe my child is as special and unique as Manny.

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Review: Modern Family - Coal Digger

by Jason Hughes, posted Oct 22nd 2009 12:38AM
Modern Family: Coal Digger(S01E05) I'm glad this issue was finally addressed. No matter what you see on the surface, if your older father marries a stunningly beautiful piece of... well, you know... like Gloria, then you're going to have some concerns. Especially if the old man looks like Ed O'Neill. Let's not mince words here, I love O'Neill but he's no Cameron!

As usual, there was a lot going on in this episode, but still plenty of rooms for laughs. We're five episodes in now, and Modern Family hasn't laid an egg yet. That's a pretty impressive performance out of the gate for any show. This week, we got the extended family together again, where they could work out some of those unresolved issues.

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Modern Family: Come Fly With Me

by Jason Hughes, posted Oct 8th 2009 12:20AM
Modern Family: Come Fly With Me(S01E03) After last week's installment of Modern Family where each family stayed within their own little nucleus, this week saw the intermingling of two of them. Cameron and Mitchell didn't have time to get involved, because the somewhat snobbish Mitchell discovered the joys and wonders of Costco. "What is this place?"

I remember my first time in Costco. You do have this strange desire to grab all the carts and flatbeds and go crazy. Who doesn't need 5,000 gumballs and a five-pack of VCRs? I've still got two spares in the garage. But Mitchell and Cam's shopping spree was the B-story.

This week, the show explored relationships between parents and their children. We got to see Claire's husband Phil try to bond with Jay in a model airplane flying expedition. Meanwhile, Claire and Sofia swapped kids and shared growing and learning experiences with them. And it all worked. Everything about this show is working right now.

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Modern Family: The Bicycle Thief

by Jason Hughes, posted Oct 1st 2009 12:35AM
Modern Family: The Bicycle Thief
(S01E02)
Let all the doubters stand and face the wall in shame. This cast is not too big and this is absolutely the funniest new show of the season. Tonight, rather than have the characters interact directly (except for one small scene), the connection between them was thematic. And tonight it was all about fatherhood.

When they opened the show with the fathers talking about what they thought fatherhood meant, I knew this show was going to become a huge hit. They absolutely get it. They've got something really special with the three family dynamics they've set up. Something that represents almost every facet of modern America all in one show. And one by one they can talk about anything through these families.

It's brilliance in its simplicity, brilliantly executed. Not only did we get so many funny moments throughout, but if we paid close attention, we learned several lessons about life and parenthood between the laughs.

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