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Modern Family Review (Ep. 2.17 - “Two Monkeys and a Panda”)

TV Reviews Modern Family
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<i>Modern Family</i> Review (Ep. 2.17 - &#8220;Two Monkeys and a Panda&#8221;)

Modern Family got semi-serious this week. Everyone seemed to be fighting—about
things of consequence and others, not. While the episode wasn’t a laugh fest
like last week’s “Regrets Only,” there were some heartwarming moments that
created levity.

Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) is mad because he found out that their daughter’s
adoption certificate reads “Lily Tucker Pritchett” as opposed to “Lily
Tucker-Pritchett.” Cam accuses Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) of leaving out the
hyphen on purpose so that his name got “top billing.”

In the Dunphy household, sisters Alex (Ariel Winter) and Haley (Sarah Hyland)
aren’t playing nice. Alex borrows Haley’s favorite sweater, and Haley is sure
that her little sister will ruin it. Alex does rip the sweater, and it’s up to
Claire (Julie Bowen) to drive all over Southern California to find a replacement
sweater and to keep the peace in the household.

And Jay ( Ed O’Neill) and Gloria (Sofía Vergara) are talking about death (yes,
this is still Modern Family), discussing their end-of-life options. Jay shows
Gloria a crypt—four spots down from Bugsy Siegel is his selling point—where they
can be interred together. Forever. They meet the couple in the crypt next door,
who express their concerns about their age difference. They want to know their
forever neighbors, and if Jay kicks the bucket first, chances are that Gloria
might be buried elsewhere. Gloria has had enough of the death talk. And frankly,
so had we.

Leave it to humor to salvage the day. Phil (Ty Burrell) heads to a day spa when
he can’t get Claire or any of his co-workers to use an about-to-expire gift
certificate. Phil learns from the ladies at the spa how not to try and solve all
of Claire’s and the family’s problems. Sometimes a wife just wants support and
someone to listen, they tell him. He’s dumbstruck by this. We don’t recall
anyone in recent memory playing a clueless husband better than Burrell.

In the funeral storyline, little Manny (Rico Rodriguez) is the scene-stealer
during his heart-to-heart talks with Jay. He plays the old man trapped in the
body of an adolescent with aplomb. When he tells his stepdad that they have
something in common, we weren’t expecting this: “I’m seeing a younger woman. She
makes me feel like a fifth grader again.” And later on, Manny confesses that a
May-December romance has its downsides: “I made a joke about the Wiggles…it
went right over her head.”

Cam and Mitch eventually get everything out in the open—Mitch confessed that he
was afraid that Cam would have second thoughts about the adoption and leave him
and Lily, and he didn’t want to be reminded of Cam in a hyphenated name. Mitch
tries to make up for his mistake by finishing Cam’s story book for Lily called
Two Monkeys and a Panda; she’s the Panda, they’re the monkeys (because Cam knows
how to draw monkeys). Mitch gets back in his partner’s good graces with the
“aww”-inducing line, “The scared monkey became the brave one.”

Humor wasn’t the focal point of the episode, which seems a bit strange for this
half-hour sitcom. While a disappointment for those expecting a laugh riot, the
episode delivered on the warm and fuzzy side. We can only hope that next week,
Modern Family brings back the belly laughs by capitalizing on the absurdity of
family life—leaving out the funereal references. Death rarely makes great
comedic TV.

Stray Observations

• Guess what the new spinach is? Kale (Mitch to Cam)
• Mitch says that Kale should remain a garnish. “It’s not ready to anchor a
meal.”
• Haley threatens Alex that she’ll wear her favorite shirt—the one with the guy
from Back to the Future. “You mean Albert Einstein? Alex retorts.
• “There they are … my dirty old men.” (Gloria to Jay and Manny)