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Modern Family 1.21 – Travels With Scout

Grade: B

This week’s Modern Family focuses mostly on Phil’s father coming to visit and the dog that he brings as well as Cam joining Dylan’s band and Manny’s nightmares. The Dunphy story takes up the majority of the episode, with Cam’s in 2nd and Manny’s in a distant 3rd.

But that’s ok. Manny’s plot this week is easily the weakest of the three and lacks any real classical Manny moments (save for Manny and the foil, that was pretty darned funny). The story didn’t really thematically fit with the others as well and on the whole lacked any real laugh out loud moments.

The opposite is true for Phil and Cam. Phil’s father (guest star Fred Willard) is exactly what you’d expect Phil’s father to be: corny, a little dumb and extremely endearing. Ty Burrell once said that playing Phil was like playing a character whose brain was a meadow of flowers and he was just running through it. Fred Willard takes that idea and creates a slightly older version of it that works extremely well. Their interactions are also one of the highlights of the episode, especially when they are bowing to each other in the kitchen.

Phil’s father brings a dog for the family, and Claire couldn’t be more upset (or so it seems). She goes off about how it’s going to have to be her that takes care of the dog. The writers included an image of Claire doing Luke’s paper route, which might have been one of the funniest things that Julie Bowen has done with her character so far. The look of exhaustion and frustration on a bicycle that’s clearly too small is one of the funniest 5 seconds that I’ve seen in the show (it was a bit Family Guy-esque, except relevant and funny). Speaking of Luke, he continued to steal every single scene that he was in and the writers used the dog storyline to create some hilarious metaphors for Luke.

And while the Dunphy storyline was solid, it was Cam’s storyline that really sold me this week. First of all, Dylan is back! Dylan is easily one of my favorite characters on the show and he’s great in almost every single scene that he’s been in. The interaction between Cam and Dylan is also fantastic, and “oh, that’s hurt more” was the best line from the episode (as was Mitch’s comment on how they are a traditional family).

Cam’s drum abilities were hilarious, but thankfully made sense given his musical background. His final performance in glam rock makeup with Lily on his shirt was amazing as was his continued “moment”. The confrontation of Cam and the band’s old drummer was also great and gave the storyline a necessary ending that was both funny and pragmatic.

Overall, a solid week for Modern Family. This was not the best episode of the series (and the second half of the episode was a bit weaker than the first) but wasn’t bad by any means. I really wish ABC would release an album for Dylan’s band. How many of you would have “I wanna do you” on repeat?

Modern Family airs Wednesdays at 9pm on ABC


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