Modern Family Review: "Fulgencio" (Episode 4.13)
If Modern Family was taking two steps forward and one step back, at least we would be getting somewhere … slowly, but somewhere. Instead we get a leap forward, 10 steps back and an occasional meet in the middle. Last week’s “Party Crasher” took great strides forward; this week, we got “Fulgencio,” which was as bad as the name Fulgencio.
Gloria’s mother, Pilar, and sister, Sonia, are visiting from Colombia for the baby’s christening. In most episodes, Gloria’s typical Colombian, I-lived-in-a-village jokes are tolerable because they’re few and far between. A whole episode of it from three women was not tolerable or funny in the slightest. Example: her sister asks where the garden is and wants to wash her clothes in the river—just because the woman is from a developing country does not mean she’s an idiot.
The mom’s main role in the episode is to play the female version of Jay. She wants to name the baby after her husband, Fulgencio Umberto. (Is that Gloria’s father? It wasn’t clear.) When Jay tries to talk to her truthfully about his hatred of the name, she reveals that she has never liked him. And then he realizes he’s a Phil son-in-law.
As the baby’s godparent, Phil prepares for the christening by getting into Godfather mode. He tries to solve his kids’ problems with hugs and kindness. When that backfires, he goes full mafia. The only noteworthy moment from this storyline is Luke saying a curse word during a confessional. (Have we heard that before?)
Cam and Mitchell are undergoing attitude makeovers because Lily has been too sassy, and they want to influence her positively. There’s something about a friend’s birthday party involved, but linking those two situations was quite a stretch. At the christening, they discover that Lily is learning her sassiness from her Aunt Claire.
In an effort to win Pilar’s affection, Jay tells the story of how he met Gloria. Apparently he was trying to meet the sister, Sonia, and connected with Gloria by accident. And it turns out that Gloria actually stole Sonia’s opportunity to get out of Colombia. More shocking to me was the fact that this proves Sonia has been to a developed country. Sorry, lady, you have no excuse for not knowing what a closet is.
Cue a very strange Godfather-esque mashup of godparent recitation and Luke destroying public property. And scene.
This episode might have felt less disappointing if it weren’t immediately following one of the best of this season (which is still a far cry from the best of the series). When this show began, it was innovative and creative. It was a different kind of comedy, and a different kind of family. Maybe now that shows like The New Normal are the new normal, it’s caused Modern Fam to lose its edge. Maybe they are struggling with a weak carry-over element (the baby) this season. Or maybe it’s hard to keep a show like this fresh for too long; either way, the stories and gags feel tired. It’s impossible to know what else to expect from season four. And no one likes a show that leaps back and forth so often, unless, of course, it’s Quantum Leap.
“His initials would be F. U. Pritchett, which is exactly the way it feels right now.”
“I can’t believe someone’s balloons were blocking my billboard, Phil-board, my Philboard."
Are Dylan and Haley still dating?
Can you get through customs with a handgun?
Am I the only one who was thoroughly creeped out by Jay saying Claire was rubbing the baby on herself?