While some of my complaints from last week’s extremely disappointing episode of Modern Family returned for “Truth Be Told,” this week’s episode had a real change. I should note here that a show doesn’t have to have characters and their relationships constantly changing to be interesting. The Simpsons was the strongest show on television for most of its first decade and every episode began right back where they started at; likewise Arrested Development would never do more than hint that change was possible while always returning things to status quo. But it takes some pretty brilliant joke writers and more than a little bit of luck to pull that off.
What happened in “Truth Be Told” is that, after very likely being
overheard complaining about his job by his boss, Mitchell quits when
he’s told that he needs to work through an entire weekend. There’s
really nothing else to this plotline, but it completely blows up the
nice, quiet life that Mitchell, Cam and Lilly have been counting on and
changes the possibilities for what the show might offer. Even if this
story’s thread wasn’t particularly strong, I ended up looking forward
to seeing where Modern Family takes this from here on out. The
show made the decision that it was not going to always play it safe, and
for that choice I couldn’t be happier—it’s clear that Modern Family, without even a season under its belt, would need to shake things up sooner rather than later, or risk drifting gradually into mediocrity.
And, while they didn’t break any new ground, the show’s less
revolutionary plots were still pretty good, if perhaps not as funny as
they’ve been in the past. Phil meets up with an ex-girlfriend who’s
been stalking him on Facebook, and has her visit the house to show
Claire that there’s nothing extramarital going on. In typical Phil
fashion, though, he’s completely wrong and the old flame is in fact
trying to heat something new up. This storyline doesn’t really resolve,
which is kind of odd. On the side, Alex tells Luke he was adopted and
that Phil’s ex is his real mother, but once again this plot just kinda
peters out unaddressed at the end of the episode. Maybe no one realizes
this if they cross-cut enough?
Speaking of cross-cutting, the episode’s last plot is about Jay
accidentally killing Manny’s turtle and then covering it up in fear
that Manny will hate him. It’s a somewhat by-the-books bit between the
two characters, but works well enough nonetheless.
Unfortunately, like last episode, “Truth Be Told” wasn’t particularly
funny either. Oh, it had a good string of gags with the various
terrible names given to the Pritchett pets and the Luke-Alex subplot
was very well-executed, but there weren’t any absolutely huge laughs.
Maybe the turn of events for Mitchell will bring the show back to where
or at least convince someone to make all of Modern Family’s characters be in the same room more than once a season.
-Lily's duck hat is certainly, well, a duck hat.
"You’re doing that thing where you say what I want you to say but your tone seems mean."
"Go around, we’re recreating a faux-pas."
"I’m Colombian, I know a fake crime-scene when I see one."
"Ok, I know the pain is fresh, but the lie is really old."
-Seriously, where’s my resolution? The business with Phil can kill real
marriages, here it seems totally forgotten at the end of the episode.
That being said, someone pining after Phil? Suspension of disbelief
having some trouble here...