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October 21, 2014

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'Modern Family' - 'Travels with Scout' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Apr 29th 2010 8:15AM
'Modern Family' - 'Travels with Scout'
(S01E21)
One of the strongest elements of 'Modern Family' is the strength of the ensemble cast. That brilliance in casting has continued to the various guest stars and extended family members we've met so far. I didn't fully grasp just how perfect Fred Willard is for the role of Phil's father until I saw them slinging jokes back and forth in this weeks' episode.

He drove cross-country to deliver a new dog to the Dunphy household, on account of his wife being allergic to it. This allowed Claire to have a clever conversation over the phone wherein she told him just how much trouble he was in for forgetting to tell her dear old dad was coming into town, without letting dad know what she was saying.

But then, brilliantly clever writing has been a staple of 'Modern Family' since the first episode. Aside from Phil's dad, we got to watch Jay scare the crap out of Manny, and Cameron rediscover his inner rock god.

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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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'The Middle' - 'The Final Four' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Apr 1st 2010 5:50AM
'The Middle'(S01E19) So I asked my wife the equivalent question to what Mike and Frankie spent most of the episode fighting over, and by her answer she sided with Mike ... which makes me incredibly suspicious. I think she's just being nice to me because nothing like that is really happening.

When given an amazing opportunity, Mike was forced to choose between something he really wanted to do and something he probably really should do. It's a much harder decision when the something wanted is an incredibly rare opportunity. It's not like he's being offered an opportunity to be Tiger Woods' next mistress (ba-dump ching!).

Actually, the fighting in the episode left me a little uncomfortable. It was a lot more real than it was funny. While I applaud 'The Middle' for being so authentic in married life with Frankie and Mike, it can make you a little squirmy from time to time.

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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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'The Middle' - 'The Fun House' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 25th 2010 4:53AM
Amy Sedaris(S01E18) I had no idea Amy Sedaris was going to show up on 'The Middle' this week. They did a pretty good job of keeping her true purpose a secret, too. We got to see two sides of Sedaris in the episode, both of which were a little disconcerting, but awesome at the same time.

While Frankie was dealing with new stresses at work, Mike was finding out that it's not all it's cracked up to be when you're the cool house on the block. It's expensive, a lot of work, and most distressingly, it fills your house with kids you don't know. I have nice stuff in my house. I sure as hell don't want strangers walking in and out of it.

That said, I wouldn't mind stopping by the Heck house for a quick game before we go any further in this.

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'Scrubs' - 'Our Driving Issues' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 11th 2010 11:01AM
John C. McGinley & Eliza Coupe, 'Scrubs'
(S09E12)
With our illustrious leader away on a covert mission for the state (you didn't hear that from me), I agreed to step in for this penultimate episode of 'Scrubs.' Hopefully, he'll be back in time for next week's finale as it may be his last chance. Still no word on the fate of 'Scrubs' 2.0 beyond these two episodes; I suspect ABC is holding out just in case ratings go up with the show as part of their successful "ABC Comedy Wednesday" block.

The episode itself was a bit of a mixed bag. I'm still just not able to get into Cole as a character. He's far too cartoonish for my tastes. At least J.D.'s antics were tempered by the sense that he was a person we could believe in, while Cox showed a vulnerable side underneath all his venom. I'm still struggling to believe in Cole as a sympathetic character.

Luckily, some moves were made to correct that as the episode wound down. Words of wisdom from one Bob Kelso making the difference in that one; what an interesting progression Kelso's character has had over the seasons.

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'The Middle' - 'The Break Up' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 11th 2010 4:50AM
Charlie McDermott, 'The Middle'(S01E16) Sometimes it's important to realize that there are things going on in your kids lives that you know nothing about. It's important, but horrible at the same time. It certainly makes me afraid for when my son becomes a teenager. If they can keep a relationship with a Hollywood superstar a secret, imagine what else you don't know?

Okay, Alexa Vega, of 'Spy Kids' fame, wasn't playing herself but she was playing Axl's secret girlfriend. A girlfriend that on the surface seemed way too good to be true. I certainly didn't trust her.

The remainder of the episode spotlighted an all too common phenomenon. What happens when kids watch scary movies at too young of an age. When I was Brick's age, I made the mistake of walking into the living room to ask my mom a question during the wrong part of 'The Exorcist.' Later, an encounter with 'Psycho' had me showering with my eyes open for more than a decade.

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'Modern Family' - 'Truth Be Told' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 11th 2010 4:42AM
Ed O'Neill, 'Modern Family'(S01E17) Dammit! Wives are more right than we'd like to admit, aren't they, guys? I was convinced Claire was completely overreacting to Phil's Faceook communications with his ex-girlfriend. My wife and I both have several people from our pasts that we talk to online, and it is completely innocent.

If anything, perhaps the events of this episode could be criticized by saying that they are promoting negative sexual stigmas attached to social networking sites. While the sites do have their dangers, they're certainly not worthy of fear-mongering.

But I'm not going to jump on that soap box. Instead, I'm going to say that this episode was absolutely brilliant. Everything from Flyza Minelli to "A little bit louder" was pitch perfect comedy. I laughed out loud more at this episode than I do entire seasons of most comedy series.

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'The Middle' - 'The Bee' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 4th 2010 2:30AM
Eden Sher, 'The Middle'(S01E16) The Hecks went on their first road trip, as we found out something that Brick is really good at, and something that happens more often than families would like to admit. I've had my birthday forgotten more than once by my busy family, and it made me feel about as small as Sue did.

However, I was never given the level of power Frankie gave her over the family trip to Chicago. Guilt is certainly a powerful agent in making potentially poor decisions.

As for Brick, it shouldn't come as a real surprise that he's a great speller. With his nose constantly in books his parents probably couldn't even read, how could he not be?

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'The Middle' - 'Valentine's Day' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Feb 11th 2010 2:42AM
Patricia Heaton & Neil Flynn, 'The Middle'(S01E15) Parents can certainly relate to Mike and Frankie simply wanting to have a night to themselves on Valentine's Day for the first time in 16 years. And too many of them can also relate to that simply never working out the way you expect it to.

This episode did throw a little surprise for us, showing all three children hanging out with friends, and at least two of them doing so in a way that proves they're growing up, which wasn't such great news for Mike when it came to Sue. Brick, on the other hand, actually found a kid who may be even weirder than he is.

Sue was out again with Carly, whom we first met in 'The Neighbor' when she tried to have a choreographed fight alongside Sue, but we met Brick's strange new friend, and two of Axl's buddies. All three are characters I wouldn't mind seeing again.

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'Modern Family' - 'My Funky Valentine' Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Feb 11th 2010 2:02AM
'Modern Family' - 'My Funky Valentine'
(S01E15)
The myriad relationships and characters in 'Modern Family' make it the perfect show to spotlight all the difficulties one can face in love and romance. As Valentine's Day descends on our cast of characters, they each explore new ways to express how much they care about one another, and they each find challenges along the way.

Jay takes Gloria out for a romantic evening, though it's not the one she expects. Mitchell and Cameron, who've agreed to watch Manny for the evening, wind up helping him express his true feelings to the girl he pines for, after another boy took credit for his poetry and scored a date with her.

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Review: 'The Middle' - 'The Yelling'

by Jason Hughes, posted Feb 4th 2010 2:45AM
Patricia Heaton, Chris Kattan - 'The Middle'(S01E14) I kind of like the relationship developing between Bob and Mike. When Mike threw him out of the house a few weeks back, I was actually a bit taken aback. Sure, Bob's a bit -- okay, a lot awkward, but he has a good heart and he's a decent guy. And he's good friends with Frankie.

It's made the writing seem a little uneven, as there are times Mike hasn't seemed nearly as bothered by Bob as he was that day. This week, we found out for certain why Mike gets annoyed by Bob. In fact, I'll take it one step further and say that we were right there with him. Good lord, how does Frankie even handle him? Oh, that's right. She's so fixated on her own messed up life, she hardly pays any attention to him. Mike should try that.

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Review: Modern Family - Fifteen Percent

by Jason Hughes, posted Jan 21st 2010 6:30AM
Modern Family: Fifteen Percent
(S01E13)
As usual, there was a ton going on this week, with all three families dealing with different types of crises. Kristen Schaal (Flight of the Conchords) was in one of the more unusual guest roles I've seen in awhile. You can't really describe how she came to be on the episode without it sounding all kinds of creepy, and yet the show managed to avoid any of the cliche reactions to what happened.

The way they've handled Jay's reaction to and dealing with the ongoing situation of his son's homosexuality has also managed to avoid the trite and formulaic "tough guy" dads we're used to seeing. There's just something more authentic about all these relationships, and I think a lot of it is bucking expectations. Gloria's not a gold-digging foreigner, nor is she just looking for a green card marriage. She's a sweet and understanding woman who genuinely loves her husband and son. Maybe a little too understanding.

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Review: The Middle - The Neighbor

by Jason Hughes, posted Jan 7th 2010 12:38PM
Brooke Shields, The Middle: The Neighbor(S01E12) It's a good thing The Middle had another episode air tonight, as something went wrong in the writing room when they tried to figure out how to work guest star Brooke Shields into the Hecks' life. Not only was it an abrupt intrusion of what we'd come to understand about the family and their neighborhood, it was a departure from the sense of realism the show had won me over with.

Slightly over the top for comedic effect is one thing, but things were taken to the point of absurdism by the time we were done learning about neighbor Rita Glossner (Shields) and her four hellacious children. It's as if the writers came up with an intriguing concept of what to do with Shields, and then weren't really sure how to write for it.

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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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