Modern Family is back

By Samantha Gillis

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Courtesy of ABC

Coming off of their five Emmy wins, including Outstanding Comedy Series for the second year in a row, “Modern Family” returned with two new episodes on Wednesday night. The family is about the get a little bit bigger. Last season ended with Mitch and Cam deciding to adopt another baby, this time a boy. We only got to see Lily after she was already home and missed the whole adoption process the first time around, but with this new baby we’ll get to see the whole thing, which is bound to be one of the more hilarious plot lines of the new season.

The first episode centered on the idea of being a manly man, and what better place to do that than a dude ranch in Wyoming? Phil is concerned that Jay doesn’t take him seriously as a man (“Phil is sounds a lot like Phyllis”) and hopes to use the family vacation as a chance to prove himself to his father-in-law by shooting, roping and eating pancakes. All the makings of a man.

Mitchell is worried that he can’t be the father of a son because he “doesn’t get boys.” After some quality time blowing things up with Luke, Mitchell feels he has the skills needed to raise a boy. While vacation episodes are usually the weaker episodes of the season, because of the forced theme, they do a good job of getting characters who have very little screen time together to interact, such as Luke and Mitchell. Their scenes here were some of the funniest of the episode.

Hayley’s boyfriend Dylan tags along for the family vacation and attempts to propose to Hayley around the campfire, only to have Claire stop him half way through. Dylan later disappears into the woods, prompting a search party. He is later found and completely fine but newly employed by Jake, the woman (going with the theme of masculinity?), and will be staying in Wyoming. Dylan will be sorely missed, even though he was about as one note as characters come. It was a guaranteed laugh whenever he started talking.

The episode ends with Jay, on the back of “buffalo” Phil’s horse, saving Gloria from the creepy cowboy, Hank. We’ve seen it before, even though Jay is a man’s man he is an older man and therefore still needs to reassure himself that his young wife still loves him. She does.

Overall, it was an okay episode, but not good enough to be a season premiere.

The second episode returned the show to the element that won it the Emmys. Back home and with no set theme to follow, this is why people love “Modern Family.”

After deciding that Mitchell was in fact enough of a man to have a son, he and Cam start making plans for how they’ll tell the rest of family. After Lily’s Simba-esqe entrance the two hope to go more low key – only a banner, music, and a few sparklers.

Although she was in the previous episode, this episode really gives us our first look at the “new” Lily. The role of Lily was recast for this season with an older, more expressive child. This change begs the question of whether the deadpan Lily of the past was intentional or all there was to work with. Along with Lily’s first few lines she also gets her first emotion: jealously. Lily does NOT want a baby brother, and she makes it known. Cam worries that his coddling has made her this way, while Mitchell thinks it may be a behavior she has picked up from himself. Deadpan Lily was often the “straight man” to her two fathers’ antics, so it will be interesting to see the direction Lily takes, now that she will be a speaking character.

Manny steals, and Jay and Gloria differ on how to treat the situation. Phil and Claire argue over whose fault it is that Claire fell at the supermarket, and Claire goes to lengths to prove she is right. These are similar to situations we’ve seen before. The writers have opened this season by reassuring us that everyone still has the same quirks they had before and we’re not really in for anything too different than before, whhich is fine by me. Maybe Manny’s precocious nature, Cam’s flamboyancy, or Phil’s foolishness will get old eventually, but it hasn’t yet.

Samantha Gillis can be reached for comment at [email protected]