Modern Family | “Boys’ Night”

I’m on spring break, so I don’t want to spend too much time writing my review this week, but I figure I should post something just to stay up-to-date. So, after a two-week break, Modern Family was back with a new episode last night, and I have a quick review of it after the jump.

Not every piece of “Boys’ Night” worked for me, but two things in particular stuck out to me as being out of the ordinary and very well done. First, the families interacted in some new combinations, and it happened believably and organically. I’ve said it before, but it really makes sense that the family members would see each other more, since they all live in roughly the same neighborhood, and I hate that it’s only the big full-family gatherings that seem to bring the different units together. That’s why it was great to get Jay together with Mitchell and Cam (and Pepper, etc.) and just let them have a good time. It was convenient that Jay would pop into the same bar that the other guys were at, but that was a minor plot contrivance in favor of some good ol’ father-son bonding that let Jay be a little more open-minded and less judgmental than

That storyline also got Haley over to Mitch and Cam’s to babysit Lily, and while there wasn’t a lot of mileage in her story, it did provide the family crossover and let us see what the uncles think of their stylish but not-so-bright niece. Plus, we got Dylan back, albeit briefly, so he could forget his shoes and prove Mitch and Cam right about Haley.

The other part that I loved was the undercutting of Mitchell’s voiceover at the end. Those parts, where someone (usually Jay) clearly spells out the moral of the episode, often come across as trying too hard to force the emotional resolution, when there either isn’t one, or it’s so clear that we don’t need it telegraphed for us. It looked like we were headed into the latter category, until Mitchell revealed he was actually talking about Rob Lowe’s underratedness as an actor (and it’s true — go watch him on Parks and Recreation). It was a nice way to play with our expectations, but still get the message across, and worked well as a capper to the episode.

All of this tied into the night’s theme of putting away your preconceptions and trying new things. Jay’s story definitely worked better than the Dunphys’, but that still had its moments. I thought the Phil and Claire stuff was a bit broad, and while they had understandable concerns about Luke hanging out with Walt, there never seemed to be real cause for their fear of their old neighbor. The Luke stuff worked better, though, and it was nice to see the two bridge the generation gap and enjoy each other’s company.

All in all, a funny episode and a nice way to come back after a couple weeks off. And I hope Nathan Lane will be back, since the Jay and Pepper dynamic could be the start of nice friendship.

Bits & Pieces

  • Alex didn’t really have a place in the episode. It’s not uncommon for one of the three kids to sit out an episode, so I wonder why the writers felt they needed to force her story into an already full episode.
  • Gloria and Manny, meanwhile, did a lot with their small roles. Manny’s reluctance to try new things was a perfect mirror to Jay’s situation, and Gloria selling out Jay at the end was great work by Sofia Vergara.
  • I didn’t take notes, so I can’t write down the funniest lines here, but feel free to add them in the comments!

What did others think of “Boys’ Night”? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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