Modern Family – 2.01: The Old Wagon

“If an accident does happen, I hope he kills me, because I don’t think I’d be a very inspiring disabled person.” – Cameron

Modern Family was one of the very pleasant surprise hits of the last season.  The pilot episode was one of the funniest and freshest 30 minutes of television I’d seen in a long time.  It was clever and witty, while at the still time maintaining a healthy dose of heart and on-screen love.  This is, after all, a show about a family (and not one of those dysfunctional ones).  The reveal of Lily to the rest of the family still remains one of, if not the funniest moment on television of last season (and seriously, if you didn’t find it funny, you basically have no soul.  Not because you don’t have a sense of humor, but because it means you haven’t seen The Lion King, and seeing that movie is one of the requirements of having a soul).  I was super happy that it won the Emmy for Best Comedy Series, partly because it was the funniest out of the nominated shows (I guess Curb Your Enthusiasm could have been funnier, I don’t know), and partly because I was ecstatic that Glee didn’t win.  If it wasn’t for a certain series that started out not as funny as this show but got steadily and steadily better as the season went on (oh, I’ll be talking about that show soon enough), Modern Family would have been my favorite sitcom and favorite show on TV last season.  Instead, it has been relegated to one of my top 5 shows on TV right now.  I’m sure it will find some way to live with that.

So how was the premiere?  It’s like we never left; with no loose ends to resolve, the show picks up immediately where it left off with just another day with the Dunphys, Pritchetts, and…the other Pritchetts (Delgados?)  The Dunphys try to sell an old car, Cam and Mitchell try to build a play-castle for their daughter, and Gloria sees Manny slipping away from her in the pursuit for wooing women.  I would have liked the families to have interacted a bit more with each other, since this is the first episode back (the only thing we get is Jay helping out Cam and Mitchell), but as usual, the show has a nice way of tying up all three separate stories with an overarching message: that sometimes we need to let things go and move forward from the past.  This is a show that could fall into one of two traps: being way too schmaltzy or being too caught up in trying to make the audience laugh and forgetting that the families involved are still normal, loving families.  Luckily, the writers know exactly what they’re doing and manage strike a great balance between the two.  By the end, the car is ruined, egos are crushed during the building of the castle, and Manny is still trying to woo the ladies.  And yet, despite everything that goes fubar, the families are all brought closer together through the experience, laughing at how stupidly everyone was acting throughout it all.  Good times.  We really can look back at it all and laugh.

Welcome back, families.  I didn’t realize how much I actually missed you guys.  (But you’re still not really the best sitcom on TV right now :P)

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