I entered tonight’s episode very excited and ready to laugh, especially given the strong start to the season this show has offered. Also, I knew that this episode was going to revolve around an earthquake, so I had high hopes it would be a really good shake up of comedy. I must say, though, that while this episode definitely had its moments, as a whole it just didn’t fully stick for me. I felt like each family’s storyline had great promise, but somehow didn’t fully deliver.
I think one of my main problems with this episode is that none of the separate family units came together, which meant we didn’t get to see a mix-up of pairings (for example, Phil with Jay, or Cam with Claire). Those episodes when we get to see these characters interact with others besides their own immediate family always tend to be my favorite. This meant that Jay’s voiceover at the end was the only real unifying force for this particular episode, and the voiceover at the end has always been the cheesiest feature of this otherwise very witty show.
I was also a little bothered by the Nathan Lane guest star role—not him as a guest star, but the fact that it happened in this episode. It was trying to do too much when I could have enjoyed way more jokes of Cam and Mitchell freaking out about baby Lily after an earthquake rather than brunch plans. I mean, wouldn’t it have been hysterical to have them find structural damage to the infamous princess palace they just built??? Don’t get me wrong—I would love to see a good themed gay brunch plotline (please give us more brunches like Oscar Wilde & Crazy Brunch!) but I think that could have been its own storyline in a separate episode that didn’t already have an earthquake going on.
Finally, maybe I was just on religion fatigue after last night’s Glee episode of “Grilled Cheesus,” but I was not feeling the arguments over God, heaven and church in the Pritchett household. Again, I think it was a wasted opportunity for amusing earthquake-centric reactions and idiosyncrasies that just didn’t get explored. And also, did all producers and writers of our great TV world get together and decide that during this week of October we all needed to contemplate religion?
OK, enough of my complaints, because quite honestly even a “weak” episode of this show is still far superior to most of what is on TV these days. And I did really enjoy the Dunphy house storyline—the fact that Phil used the opportunity of Claire being trapped in the bathroom to bolt the cabinet to the wall was a unique and hilarious post-earthquake plotline (I just wish the other households encountered similar-type issues).
And of course, one thing Modern Family always delivers strongly is snappy one-liners and comments:
- As Phil proves their staircase steps are in good shape: “I’m like Shirley Temple and that black guy” (while dancing up and down)
- When Phil tells Claire he told her he would fix the bathroom plumbing, she responds: “Yes you did, and I was pregnant with Luke at the time”
- Basically everything about the outfits Cam and Mitch wore for the brunch: “I still can’t believe you didn’t have to rent any of that” (Mitch to Cam) and during the earthquake, “If they find us in these outfits, it will be very bad for the gays “
- Luke “I’m not going to wait around til I die” (seconds before smacking into the wall)
- Museum of Tolerance (how far is Tolerance anyways?)
- When Manny wants to go golfing with Jay, he responds “I am probably going to have a Latino kid carry my clubs anyways”
- Luke brings his mother and the plumber soda in a baking tray so it will fit under the stuck door. That was actually hilariously sweet. And it had to be soda because Claire polished off the wine the night before
- Hayley unable to double numbers in her head
- “Do you know what menstruation is, because I do!” (poor Manny was clearly scarred in sex ed class)
What did you think of “Earthquake”?