I've been writing about Modern Family for long enough that I just don't have it in me to keep talking about all of the things that I wish the show would improve upon. "Yard Sale" had that irksome privileged perspective, lack of subtlety and the same repetitive bits of Jay being crotchety/Gloria being fiery and hot, Claire being uptight/Phil being kooky and Cam being sensitive/Mitch being a unlikable jerk that I always talk about. In this episode, even the kids barely had anything to do but read a few lines without making the script feel forced... and I'd argue that a few of them, especially Manny, failed. Fortunately, there were a few salvageable lines that saved "Yard Sale" from being a complete waste:
"Eww, he wrote my body is a wonderland."
Haley was in this episode via videochat for all of three seconds, yet in spite (or maybe because) of that, she was one of the best characters in the whole episode. Well-meaning Phil writing a message from John Mayer is a really funny concept, and makes me miss their father-daughter dynamic. I also laughed out loud at: "And move slow, I'm still drunk... ing my coffee."
"If she wants to get her heart broken by a gay guy, she can do so at 18 or 19 and drink her way through it."
Claire talking about her wild child past is always a good go-to for Modern Family. Also, her lines took screen time away from another episode where Mitch and Cam fought with each other for little to no reason with no affection whatsoever, so there's that.
"I've had bigger hogs than this between my legs."
I wasn't a fan of Phil's motorcycle storyline or the 127 Hours spoof, but seeing his pant leg cut off at the end was kind of cute. This line and Jay's reaction to it yet again borrowed very closely from a popular Arrested Development gag, which is slightly unsettling.
"Here comes Claire -- Hey girl!"
"I don't know what that was."
This show is not good enough at crafting well-rounded actually dynamic gay characters (at least as of late) to pull off the Alex's supposedly gay boyfriend storyline. Claire's response to her brother pretty much summed up how I felt about most of this episode.
"Can I help you?"
"Yeah, why does everybody think I'm gay?"
"God I hate yard sales."
Ed O'Neill has been acting his heart out for the 2013 Emmy this season, and sending in this episode might do the trick. If I voted, I'd probably give it to him solely based on, "You're not a pig. You're daddy's little girl."
"I know how to push buttons to get what I want. And what I want is to see a puppet show."
Up until Jay was obviously dressed as Uncle Grumpy and Claire had to point it out (and before all of the jokes about how horrible Colombians are), I liked Gloria's dark ventriloquist past bit. The highlight of the entire evening was when the dummy got pulled out the same moment that Alex's boyfriend "just happened" to be playing the comic "dun dun dunnnn" on the keyboard. It was reminiscent of the Lion King gag from the pilot, and a type of humor the writers would be wise to return to.
What did you think of "Yard Sale"? Are we just being Uncle Grumpys? Discuss below.
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