Our favorite Modern Family is back in action with a special one-hour premiere. Yay!
The show kicked off with two episodes in a row, both full of Manny insights and Phil flavor. The first episode, “Suddenly, Last Summer,” opens in the middle of summer, as June’s Supreme Court ruling overturned Prop 8, allowing gay marriage in California. The family is excited for the expected Cam and Mitchell engagement, and everyone pressures the couple into coming up with a romantic proposal. For Gloria, Cam’s romantic proposal will make up for her own, barely asked proposal story with Jay. For Claire, Mitchell’s proposal is a chance for him to make up for being the “less feeling” of the couple; unfortunately, Claire’s idea of romance is breaking up with Cam or telling him Mitchell has cancer right before he gets on one knee. It’s more dramatic that way. Hilarity ensues as both Cam and Mitchell sabotage each other’s proposals to carry out their own, superior ones, ending in tire-changing disaster, but romantic tire-changing disaster. When both men find themselves on one knee to put on the spare, they never ask, they only both say, “yes.”
Other fun happenings this episode include Baby Fulgencio’s apparent dislike of gay marriage, vomiting every time he hears it, but no one can get too mad at the adorableness that is Fulgencio.
Claire and Phil try to change plans for Alex, Luke, and Haley to give themselves a kid-free week during the summer, and we are reminded that Luke might just be past his years of wearing underwear on the outside of his pants, when he has a crush on a Dirty Dancing fan, who Phil loves: “Never let her go.”
When Gloria and Jay and Claire and Phil help put together the back-up plans at Mitch and Cam’s townhouse, both couples rekindle their romances. Jay tells Gloria of the very romantic proposal he had planned for her, and Phil reminds Claire of all the work he put into asking her to marry him and assures her that she is not a “bloodless robot.”
There were lots of Jay and Manny bonding moments this episode, which is always a fun dynamic. When Manny packs to visit family in Colombia, Jay allows him to only take one robe, causing Manny to respond, “I guess we know what everyone will be talking about my second morning there.”
Jay and Manny head to the courthouse to get Manny’s birth certificate. While in line, Manny feels scared about going, prompting a Jay pep talk and ugly looks from the many gay couples in line for marriage licenses who misconstrue the conversation. Although Jay can’t wait to get Manny away for a bit, he breaks down crying while reading Manny’s note to Gloria, telling her to “take of Jay.”
The second episode (second part of the premiere), “First Days,” lived up to its title with school beginning and Claire going back to work.
Luke and Manny get dropped off at high school (Manny’s voice has changed!), and the pair can’t get away from their parents fast enough. Both Phil and Gloria lament on their babies getting older, prompting them to go get coffee, but when their coffee shop is filming a commercial, they are recruited as background extras. The two become mime goons, throwing fake punches and answering a thumb/pinky phone. Phil invents his own character, a doctor who’s out with his mistress, which seemed like a missed opportunity to bring Clive Bixby back, but after talking about their kids getting older, both cry, while pretending to eat nonexistent food, still in the background of the commercial. Hilarious.
Claire is incredibly nervous about going to work for Jay in a managerial position and wants everyone to like her. She brings cookies to the office, but Jay thinks she needs to be tougher. She doesn’t listen and tries to be friends with everyone, making a few Phil jokes, my favorite being her “Christopher walk-in closet” impression. Her only friend is the office IT weirdo who shows her how to tell the sex of a turtle. He’s about to be fired, and when Claire tells him this, the office’s computers go haywire, forcing Claire to learn that sometimes it’s okay to listen to Dad, an important lesson for us all.
Cam is asked to be a substitute teacher at the high school, and both dads must coordinate to take care of Lily, resulting in a disappointingly forced (and short) story of Mitchell bringing Lily to work with him. Cam’s story, however, is far more comical when he gets placed as the AP History substitute. True to his style, he dresses like George Washington (circa crossing the Delaware), but when Alex ends up teaching the class, Cam feels unqualified for the position. After helping the principal coach the football team, Cam is offered a gym teacher position.
Cam: “Do I get to wear shorts?”
Principal: “Yep, you get a whistle too.”
Cam: “Well, I always get a whistle when I wear shorts.”
The hour premiere ends with Cam, still in George Washington garb, crossing the field on a football sled. Not a disappointing start to the season, and it’s obvious that there is still fun to be had when the dynamics of this Modern Family are explored. I do hope we get to see some of our old favorites back in action this season (Fizbo, Manny’s romantic endeavors, Clive Bixby, Gil Thorp – I’m going to stop myself now).
Hilary Miller is currently an MFA student in Screenwriting at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA. When not not watching, writing, or talking about movies and television shows, she can usually be found making crock-pot creations, laughing, talking too loud, running, devouring a good book, eating, racking up cellular bills chatting with her bomb family, sticking her toes in the sand, or wishing she were Hermione Granger, sometimes all at once. And while part of her heart is still in Indiana, the rest of it belongs to her puppy, Estelle Getty.