Fresh of its third consecutive Emmy win for Outstanding Comedy Series, Modern Family‘s season four premiere was an unfortunately below-average hour that was far from indicative of the show’s often marvelous quality.
Although I appreciate the writers’ attempts at blending everything together under one theme (having a baby), the premiere just felt messy to me. Cam and Mitch dealing with the aftermath of their failed adoption could have been a heartbreaking and poignant little subplot, but was unfortunately rendered insipid thanks to several misfire attempts at stuffed-animal comedy. Less irritating was Lilly (who was hilarious in the show’s Emmy sketch a few nights back) and was equally excellent here in her quest to own a kitten called “Larry.”
However, the weakest storyline of the hour was Phil’s attempted kidnapping of Jay for his birthday. The scenes on the boat proved to be groan-worthy apart from a funny gag of Jay falling into the river (twice). Thankfully, the plot was saved by what was probably Jay’s strongest moment of the series yet as he got to express to a furious Gloria his enthusiasm for her pregnancy. I have a feeling this storyline coupled with Sofia Vergara’s usual awesomeness is going to be a highlight this year as I relish the thought of a long-term arc on Modern Family. Its storylines are a bit too self-contained for my tastes. Moreover, the time-jump at the end was another welcome change of pace as I’m excited to see where we go next.
The episode’s MVP was undoubtedly Claire who got to deal with Hayley’s hangover, skirt around Dylan’s invasion of her home, and delight in the fact that Gloria would be getting fat soon. Suffice to say, Julie Bowen definitely deserved her Emmy win a few nights ago (although I wish Vergara got her chance this year).
Alex: (To Haley) She’s being facetious…. sarcastic…? Dylan no stay!
Luke: Oh gross I didn’t know grandpa could still do it.
Phil: Don’t be disrespectful Luke. Anybody can do it with Gloria.
Jay: It’s gonna be great.
Gloria: I’m gonna get so fat!
Jay: Mostly great
Manny: (Reading his poem) … nestled in the bosom of your mother.
Phil: Lucky baby.
Phil: Love you baby.
Phil: I finally get what they mean when they say pregnant women glow.
Claire: Phil I’ve had 3 children.
All in all, a disappointing premiere from one of television’s strongest comedies. Nevertheless, I still have high hopes for Modern Family this season.