TV in Review: Modern Family, “Schooled”
October 22, 2012 Leave a comment
Remember two weeks back, when the Modern Family episode “Schooled” first aired? I don’t. Life has been busy with travel, people, and job stuff. You know, life been full of life. I am only just now getting back to occasional glimpses at what’s larger than life. Television.
The season premiere of Modern Family (“Bringing Up Baby”) picked up quickly on the biggest hanging thread of last season — Gloria’s pregnancy. In episode two (“Schooled”), they start by addressing another major life event — Haley’s departure for college.
PHIL: If I could get everyone to raise their glass as I quote from one of our nation’s great father’s — Jefferson. George Jefferson. “I never dreamed that one of my one would be going off to a university, but here I stand, a proud black man, knowing that all those hours I put in at the dry cleaner –”
CLAIRE: Phil –
PHIL: Not now, Weezie.
Phil is amusing here, but it would have been funnier if he hadn’t warned everyone that the quote was going to be from George Jefferson, which kind of took some air out of the inappropriateness. I would have liked a few seconds of figuring it out, rather than having it spoon-delivered. Perhaps a lot of the young folk wouldn’t recognize The Jeffersons, but is simply giving his first name going to make much of a difference, then?
We get instant sibling rivalry as Cam and Mitch make sure that their daughter Lily is also toasted, for her first day of kindergarten.
CLAIRE: Haley going to college is a miracle. Lily going to kindergarten is the law.
Sibling rivalry is, of course, one of the engines of Modern Family.
HALEY: Dad, if you want me to get good grades, I have to look cute. [To Alex.] Don’t say a word.
ALEX: No, no, I agree with that premise.
HALEY: Don’t dork up our room.
ALEX: Don’t slut up your college.
Still amusing, and a little less clunky than the premiere, but I’m really reminded that we’ve moved passed The Cosby Show when Phil questions Claire putting a box of condoms in Haley’s luggage. I don’t think that Clair Huxtable did that with Denise.
Come to think of it, did Dr. Huxtable ever dispense advice like Cam?
CAM: If you ever put your hands on my daughter again, I will string you up by your feet, run you up the flagpole and let the birds peck out your eyes.
I guess that times change.
As for Cam and Mitch’s explanation of how gay men and lesbians don’t have as much in common as outsiders might expect, well, sure it’s sophisticated…
…but they don’t go into the similarities of both groups being excluded and discriminated against because of their sexual and romantic preferences. They gay men vs. lesbian women feud is obvious, but has its fun moments.
PAM: I look forward to your frittata.
CAM: Why, are you visiting us in 2008?
It can really funny to show how some stereotypes wind up matching reality, but I like it best when they also have their prejudices challenged.
My favorite moments of “Schooled” were Phil’s over-the-top dorkiness.
PHIL: You only get one chance at a first impression. I suggest Julia Child, because it’s easy to do.
The writers must have had a ton o’ fun coming up with the collection of Phil’sosophy sayings that he gives to Haley as a going-to-college gift.
PHIL: The most amazing things that can happen to a human being will happen to you, if you just lower your expectations.
But my favorite has to be:
PHIL: Dance until your feet. Sing until your lungs hurt. Act until you’re William Hurt.
It was a gentle episode, still not classic Modern Family, but more interesting to me than the premiere. I haven’t heard anything about episode three, so I’m hoping that they’re steadily building, getting their comedy feet back.
CLAIRE: If you need anything at all, you just call us.
HALEY: I’ll probably need some more condoms soon.
PHIL: Not funny.
ABC first broadcast Season 4, Episode 2 of Modern Family on October 10, 2012.
Polentical: TV in Review: Modern Family, “Bringing Up Baby” (Season 4, Episode 1)