Modern Family “Fizbo”
I think that it’s very easy to complain about the overuse of in media res openings in television shows. It has been overused as a cheap way to build suspense and add drama to a situation that normally wouldn’t have any. Needless to say, the opening of this week’s Modern Family had me concerned. The mystery of who would end up in the hospital and what put them there seemed like a ridiculous ploy.
I’m glad to say that Modern Family proved me wrong, and this was easily one of the strongest outings of the season. A birthday party for the perpetually forgotten Luke that leads to Manny learning that he is a man of action and Cameron revealing that he is a classically trained clown—though, I think I would have enjoyed it more if he were a Tramp rather than an Auguste—is a recipe for hilarity.
Spoilers after the jump.
As we’ve seen from lesser episodes this season, Manny and Cameron can make up for other characters failing to bring the funny. In this case they didn’t have to, because everyone was completely on their game. I think my favorite of the subplots was Claire’s obsession with an arts and crafts table at the party, and Phil subtly and not so subtly (“Let me know if you get low on supplies, I’ll make a run back to the 1950′s for you”) mocking her as the kids ignore the table to play on the blow-up castle or use the zip-line.
Throughout the episode, I was trying to figure out what was going to cause the trip to the hospital. There were a few red herrings (Dylan’s allergy to mayonnaise, the rock wall and its inexperienced operator), but nearly everything else was worked into the Rube Goldberg-esque chain reaction that led to Luke slipping on the beads from the arts and crafts table.
At this point, I think it is clear that Modern Family is the best new comedy of the season. An episode like this shows how well we have gotten to know these characters so quickly, and how well they can all be integrated into a plot, unlike Community.