Modern Family Review: "Suddenly, Last Summer" (Season 5 Premiere)
With new opening credits that include a big Lily and baby Joe, season 5 of “Modern Family” is off to a great start. The characters came off strong, the jokes hit, and there were tear-jerking moments at the end.
The theme this week is romance and proposals. Gay marriage has just been made legal. Gloria begs the question: when there are two men, who proposes?
Hilarity ensues when Cam and Mitch both want to propose to each other. Cam enlists Gloria’s help, and Mitch enlists Claire’s help. Claire, being a Pritchett, is not so much of a romantic. Claire has some “ghoulish” marriage proposal ideas, which all begin as extremely bleak (breakup, disease, natural disaster) then somehow veer into a proposal.
In the meantime, Phil killed as he tries to earn himself and Claire some alone time away from the kids. The kids are all leaving town at different times, and Phil tries to trick them into changing their plans so they can all leave at the same time and result in 7 kid free days.
Luke can’t change his plans because he wants to go to camp with his girlfriend Carly. Phil tries to convince him there are other fish in the sea, till he meets Carly who is a tumbler, aspiring magician, and classic movie buff.
In a bit of masterful writing, Phil plays Alex and Haley off each other. He convinces Alex to go to El Salvador for Habitat for Humanity. When Alex is resistant, Haley walks around behind them and he says, “I’m just saying, you don’t push yourself at this stage you wind up at a second tier college. Soon you’ve lost all your ambition, you’re just drifting through life, hoping someone offers you an M-R-S degree. Is that who you want to be?”
Haley is a bit more sly and catches on to Phil, asking him to bribe her. He flings back that he can cancel her whole trip, and as Alex walks behind him, “Overplay your hand, I pull the plug, you blow your last chance for a good time with your friends. Word gets out that you’re not cool. School starts. You end up with your nose in a book all year. No friends. No dates. Not caring how you look. Is that who you want to be?”
Cam plans to propose where they had their first date. Mitch plans to propose at their house, where he has Claire set up two old rocking chairs and a bottle of champagne, because Cam always said his idea of romance was someone to grow old with. When they reach the restaurant, Mitch instantly realizes Cam is going to propose to him. While he’s touched, he wants to prove to Cam he can be romantic, and pretends to be sick. They agree to head home, where Cam has a backup plan: Gloria and Jay will recreate a picnic under the stars they had when they moved into their first apartment.
At Cam and Mitch’s house, Gloria and Jay run into Claire and Phil. While gluing stars to the ceiling, Jay reveals that he had a different wedding proposal for Gloria that was much more romantic. Gloria is touched and emotional, and screams “Yes, I’ll marry you.”
While Phil and Claire set up the rocking chairs, Claire reveals in a testimonial that she not only wants time away from her kids but time away from Phil. Phil, instead, romances Claire by having her sit in the rocking chairs and lighting the candles with magic. He reminisces on their proposal, and Claire, feeling guilty, tearfully confesses that she is a “cold-hearted, bloodless, wife-bot” and that she was trying to get rid of him. Phil insists that she has blood, and as he romances her, Claire receives a text from her mom: turns out Phil was also trying to get some time away from Claire.
But Cam and Mitch never make it to these romantic settings, as they get a flat tire and under a beautiful star speckled sky. As they both kneel down to change the tire, they share a sweet smile, and they both propose.
As usual, the characters are incredible, the writing is impeccable, and there is a sweetness to the show which elevates it above just a sitcom.
This show has some incredible dialogue. A nice new take on “Who’s on first?” was written about diseases and latin names.
Gloria: “Okay, Manny, as soon as you land, watch out for Malaria.”
Manny: “Why? I got a shot for that.”
Gloria: “No, I’m talking about your cousin Malaria. She’s coming to pick you up but she might have Rubella.”
Gloria: “That’s her daughter, but make room in the car because she could have diphtheria.”
Manny: “Whose diphtheria?”
Gloria: “Ay, Manny, it’s a disease.”