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'Modern Family': On second thought, guest spots not necessary

November 19, 2009 |  7:01 am
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In an episode with Elizabeth Banks and Edward Norton in guest spots, my attention was glued to the kids on "Modern Family."

The young actors have really grown into their characters and Wednesday night's episode renewed my love and restored my faith in child actors. There hasn't been a family-based comedy in awhile with the kids having prominent roles.

OK, there have been numerous, but most are painful to watch. Plus I generally don't do kids on television unless they are a part of Fox's Animation Domination lineup.

And while the kids on "Modern Family" aren't yellow, spiky-haired tots with evil monkeys in their closet, they are just as animated.

The ongoing sisterly feud between Sarah Hyland (Haley) and Ariel Winter (Alex) continues to pay off in laughs, with the girls throwing little stinkers toward each other in every episode. Nolan Gould is a little too good at sweet, but blissfully inept Luke -- on second thought he does have to keep up with a father that had to have been repeatedly dropped on his head as a kid.

Last week I shared my excitement for the addition of Banks and Norton to the show.

Banks didn't disappoint me in the least bit, and she had every bit of the moxie about her that I adore. The things she says ... including her less than subtle way of showing off her new goods to Cameron and Mitchell.

How Sal and these boys manage to be this close, yet remain so uptight, surprises me. I think it was that balance that made the scenes more comedic.

Banks offered a nice storyline for the new dads. One that most brand-new parents can’t sympathize with: How do you still enjoy nights out with friends who aren't parents? If you really think they want to talk over drinks about the cute pooping noises your baby made that morning, then you should get your head out of the diaper genie. They might not be as rude and say, “You should kill that baby,” but then again you don't have Sal as a best friend. 

She even delivered this line when being barraged by baby pictures (come on parents, not drink material ... hate to tell you.): “Fine, show me the pictures of Yoko … 'cause she’s Asian and she broke up our group."

Norton as Izzy LaFontaine, a washed-up '80s lead guitarist (bass player, actually) and singer (eh, backup) offered a few laughs. But comedy isn't Norton's specialty, and he probably knows it.

In the spirit of Phil's wish list for the perfect anniversary gift (LaFontaine wasn't it if you couldn't guess) here's my wish list for future episodes

Things I want:

More Gloria. She's being underutilized!

More Luke and Phil scenes. They are to die for.

Less Manny. He's cute, suave and a mini-adult. I get it, he can take a backseat until his deadbeat dad comes around.

Fewer guest stars. Everyday it feels like there is new star power being announced. While I love it occasionally, it feels overwhelming.

Bring in Shelley Long (An earlier version of this post misspelled Long's name as Shelly.) for a recurring role as Jay's ex-wife. "The Incident" is the best episode for a reason: her.

-- Gerrick Kennedy (Follow me on Twitter @GerrickKennedy).

Photo: Elizabeth Banks guests as Mitchell and Cameron's best girlfriend, Sal, on "Modern Family." Credit: ABC

Related:

'Modern Family': Too much nice, not enough fire

Elizabeth Banks, Edward Norton to liven up 'Modern Family'

Complete coverage of 'Modern Family' on Show Tracker

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