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Modern Family Watch: Don't Bite Your Friends

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Spoilers for last night’s Modern Family coming up:

“Dance Dance Revelation” was an amusing but not stellar Modern Family, hobbled by the title storyline involving Claire and Gloria’s rivalry as school-dance organizers. I know some people find Claire overly shrill and grating as a character; I don’t, and I actually think that Julie Bowen has surprised me in the role, both in her ability to do straight comedy and in the way she grounds Claire’s behavior in her insecurity. But I felt this is a situation I’ve seen Claire in enough times lately: her climactic complaint to Gloria that the school dance is “the one thing” she has sounded an awful lot like her complaint about Halloween, which if I recall correctly was “the one thing” she had left in the family.

Still, enough funny stuff in the Jay-and-Phil how-to-be-a-man subplot and the biting storyline that the episode largely worked, in ways a short hail of bullets can take care of:

* Though the Claire-and-Gloria storyline was not my favorite, I continue to love when the show pairs Manny and Luke—one of them far older than his age, the other far younger.

* Fans of Breaking Bad may have noticed Danny “Tortuga” Trejo as Gus the custodian. Nice to see he’s still got a good head on his shoulders.

* “Pay It Forward! They don’t make movies out of bad ideas!”

* The character of the Cute Toddler can be a minefield on TV, and it’s interesting how Modern Family handles it: rather than having Lily cute it up for the camera, she’s basically inert—if it’s possible for a toddler to be deadpan, that’s what she is. So it’s kind of amusing when the show puts her in a storyline that involves her aggression, and represents it by having her “bite” Cam or Mitchell when one of them has her head obscured with their body.

* Also cute: Cameron’s ukelele serenade. But it remains only TV’s second-best song about not biting other people, behind this Yo Gabba Gabba! classic, which I basically wrote this post as an excuse to embed. Enjoy!