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Modern Family: 'The Old Wagon'; King of the castle

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First off, I’d like to thoroughly congratulate this show for its Emmy wins, particularly Eric Stonestreet, who last year was a revelation as Cam/Fizbo. The show, while not my favourite comedy of the season, was certainly up there and was well deserving of its merits. So, well done!

And I enjoyed ‘The Old Wagon’, I did. I felt like they were playing it safe – a story where Mitchell and Cameron argue over something petty, Gloria getting upset with Manny for flying the coup, and the Dunphys all getting frustrated with each other in the very funny car scene.

But playing it safe isn’t always a bad thing – if they had started with an episode on the level of ‘Fizbo’, then it may have turned off new viewers who didn’t quite get the wackiness (and it paid off – Modern Family notched 12.6 million viewers). So I appreciate that this wasn’t the boldest start to the season for a good reason.
By far the best storyline of the episode was Gloria struggling to keep her son around as a new woman entered his life. What I like about ‘Modern Family’ is that it constantly puts new spins on clichéd storylines, making them feel fresh. Because Manny is such a grown up in a child’s body already, the joke takes a slightly different turn, because Manny can sort of understand the type of story they’re playing up to, without being meta.

But I enjoyed the other two storylines too – Mitchell with power tools is a funny sight gag, and my favourite line of the night was Jay’s ‘That was my Vietnam… and I was in Vietnam.’ And the Dunphys storyline was sweet too, and I totally bought the idea of Claire not wanting to let go of that rusty old banger because of what it represented. Nolan Gould continues to shine as clueless but loveable Luke, who lit up when the jar of sunshine glowed for a moment.

I don’t think the episode needed the saccharine music-y moment at the end though. I know ABC are massive fans of ‘This is how you should feel!’ music, but seeing the family laugh about the crazy day they’d had would have gotten the message across fine.

Still, a perfectly enjoyable start to the season, and certainly better than a lot of the new sitcoms starting this year.

What did everybody else think?

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