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'Modern Family': Love is in the air

February 11, 2010 | 11:17 am


Ratings juggernaut “American Idol” didn’t kill ABC's favorite family.

Wednesday night’s “Modern Family” rose to a season high and was second in the slot to "Idol," which more than doubled the ABC show's rating, according to Nielsen overnights.

How appropriate that viewers showed the freshman comedy the most love on the episode that was, well, about love. This week was the ubiquitous Valentine’s Day episode, one that I was dreading. Sorry I don’t stand behind what Gloria mused was her “favorite day in America,” not me. It’s just another sad reminder that, like Manny, I have no Valentine.

Fortunately for me I have laughs to keep me warm at night, and the clan provided me enough laughs to cuddle myself into submission.

With love so high in the air this time of the year, everyone had a different way of showing: Phil planned on doing a little of the "same ole, same ole" with Claire: Italian food, a heart drawn in fog and a cute lil’ predictable V-Day card, Manny took to poetry that benefited his nemesis, Jay thought it would be romantic to take Gloria to a comedy show and Mitchell was too busy preparing for a case to notice baby Lily made the perfect little cherubic angel thanks to daddy Cam. “It was sort of a Bob Mackie meets Martha Stewart project.”

Of course with this family everything turned upside down with a flurry of awkwardness. But love is after all still in the air.

Tired of doing a little of the same, Claire decided to take a more naughty approach and do a little role playing; kudos to Claire for getting her groove back. I’ve always thought role playing was a way to spice things up, especially after 17 (albeit, good) years of being Phil and Claire. But Phil, being only Phil – or wait, Clive Bixby -- makes it both odd and awkwardly arousing:

Phil as Clive: “I’m in town for a trade show. I design high-end electro-acoustic transducers.”

Claire as Julianna: “Wow, that is very specific.”

Phil: “It’s a fancy way of saying, ‘I get things to make noise.’ ”

Jay Say what you want, but it’s this oddball swagger that makes him – dare I say it – sexy. While other critics criticize him for being unsexy – sure, he’s no Jack Bauer, or even Jack Donaghy – but Phil represents the everyman, the man you see at work, the man who raises your kids and the man who loves you unconditionally. Even when he says disturbingly dirty things like he’s “pretty smooth all over.” The scenes between Phil and Claire were steamy, despite the tragic elevator. Sure, the role playing didn’t quite work out for them they way they thought – but, hey, they’ve got a good thing going.

The episode also addressed the white elephant in the room this entire season: Gloria and Jay. Sure, there have been a mention or two, and maybe a kid mistakenly called her a “coaldigger” after hearing Claire talk about her stepmom, but the odd couple appeal has never truly been addressed. I’ll admit on the pilot I thought, yeah, it’s the money. But it took one episode for me to actually bite my words: Gloria loves her Jay. And he’s subsequently spent a small moment of every episode pinching himself. No, Jay, you aren’t dreaming.

Watching him cringe at the comedy show while the “COMEdian” (Gloria’s pronunciation not mine) made age joke after age joke. While I got zero laughs from the exchange, I looked up David Brenner and apparently I should know who he is. Sorry, I didn’t. Did anyone?

There were far too many moments to cherish: Hayley’s boyfriend re-creating the iconic John Lennon and Yoko Ono portrait (I died), Mitchell stepping up for his stepbro (heartwarming) and Gloria coming to the rescue of her stepdaughter stuck on a escalator – she couldn’t take off her coat (priceless).

While I still hate Valentine's Day -- with a burning passion -- my favorite family made it a little more bearable this year.

As usual some of my favorite LOL-worthy moments:

Jay: I have to get old. ... You don't have to get fat.

Manny: Can we stop calling me little guy? I'm in the 40th percentile.

Manny: You have a laugh that makes science lab seem like recess.

Mitchell: I had to settle.
Cameron: Well, your mom might think so, but some think I'm a catch.

Phil: Did he trump me? You tell me. He made a painting out of a photograph one time. I have hand picked a card, drawn a heart in the steam on the medicine cabinet, and taken Claire to Fritelli's, a family-style Italian restaurant, for 17 years in a row ... yeah, he got me. He got me.

Dylan: All women should look as tasty as you when they're old.

Gloria: Jay, you look so strong and sexy. Like an Olympic wrestler, but with money.

Cameron: It's Valentine's Day. It's not the day you run away from love. It's the day you chase it down.

Phil: Perhaps I'll be Reginald Appleby. An English gentleman in town for a polo match.

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

Photos: (Top) Phil and Claire spice things up; (bottom) Jay looks into the future. Credit: ABC


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