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Modern Family Review: A Not So Happy Valenbirthuhhhversary...

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I took Jay's advice about 30 minutes prior to when he gave it at the conclusion of "Regrets Only" last night, listening closely to the latest episode of Modern Family.

And, for the first time in memory when it comes to this show, I didn't laugh out loud once.

For a few weeks, the series has been teetering close to feeling like a regular sitcom. Sadly, it fell off that edge here, courtesy of a confluence of cliches and set-ups that I've seen a million times before.

Hiliarous and Married

A husband doesn't know why he's fighting with his wife? A character won't stop singing bad karaoke songs? These are far from original storylines. Beyond these developments, Modern Family went so far over the top in an attempt to force laughs that I rolled my eyes instead of slapped my knees.

I mean... a fire extinguisher fight? I expect that sort of nonsense on Two and a Half Men.

Another problem with the episode: the characters have stopped feeling like real people. We get it: Gloria has a shrill voice, Phil can be clueless and Claire is controlling. But is there anything else to these people? It hasn't felt that way for awhile now. There are few funnier moments on television than Ty Burrell in a confused panic (Happy Valenbirthuhhhversary!), but it seems to be the only note he plays.

The Mitchell/Cameron storyline was by far the best of the episode, mostly because it delivered the sort of subtle references and jokes I look for from Modern Family. We had Mitchell stepping on the scale while trying to save the party; Luke unaware of how to use redial; and, in my favorite line of the night, Luke, utterly dumbfounded about the question, telling the caterers that he thinks his father is home.

Overall, however, I regret to say that "Regrets Only" tread far too much in played-out character traits and overused sitcom tropes. I'm curious to hear what others think as I publish the Modern Family lines that did at least make me smile:

Cam: What are we going to do?
Luke: I could start a fire.
Cam: No! But keep that in your back pocket. | permalink
Caterer: Hi there. Is your father home?
Luke: I think so. Why? | permalink
Cam: Shouldn't you get back to Donald? That is the name of your cat, right? | permalink
Phil: Happy Valenbirthuhhhversary! | permalink

           Jay: You know, when you get a massage, you sound like a Tijuana prostitute. | permalink

Review

Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
  • 3.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (23 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Liked this episode a lot. Lots going on and many big laughs. Let's face it, there aren't many new stories to tell about families after a thousand family sitcoms. Is kids walking in on parents in bed a new story, or did you just get your first tv? Best episode all season in my opinion, or maybe I was just glad to not watch that awful mother character anymore.

Lawrie

wasn't the most original episode but definitely made me laugh :)

Ace

I thought Hayley's performance was the more breakout one as she faked her employment. Everything else was decent for a sitcom, however, a bit sub parr for MF's standards.

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I agree -- over-reliance on familiar tropes and just an overall laziness this week. They took the easy way out of a lot of storylines and never really paid off a lot of the setups. You can check out my full review here.

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I liked it Ok -- and even thought the Cam and Mitchell storyline was the first in a long while that wasn't rotten. I also enjoyed how Haley managed to save herself when she looked so far in over her head. And I can still laugh recalling Manny saying that if Jay keeps it up, this won't be the last plug he pulls! So, sorry -- but I don't hate the show and look forward to next week's episode!

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Agreed! I'm quite disappointed. I miss the original writing as well!

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Yes, I must agree with, it was not funny and instead of watching, I turned to American Idol. Hopefully they will go back to the original writing, because I really like this show.

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I agree completely! I think the last one I laughed out loud with was the one where the kids walked in on their parents. It depends on the writer that is writing it I think. When Steve Levitan writes the episode it is usually a good one! I usually cried watching this show and miss it!!!