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15 Best Modern Family Episodes of the Series   3 comments

It was the television season of 2009-2010 when we were first introduced to three different families: the Dunphys with control freak mom Claire and happy go lucky dad Phil, the Pritchetts with sexy and loud Latina Gloria and a much older husband Jay, and gay couple Mitchell and Cameron. Four years later, with four Comedy Series Emmys, stars as household names, and a hundred plus nominations from different TV award giving bodies, Modern Family is definitely one of the landmarks of TV comedy this generation.

And as the show celebrate their 100th episode this week, let’s take a visit down memory lane and check the show’s fifteen best episodes from the first 99 ones:

All photos are courtesy of abc.go.com/shows/modern-family/photos

1.01 Pilot

01. PILOT (Season 1, Episode 1)
Written by: Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd
Directed by: Jason Winer

I’m very lenient when it comes to pilot episodes of comedies since it needs a certain amount of time before the show can finally find and settle with the direction of where it wants to go. With that said, Modern Family is off to a good start by coming up with one of the funniest pilot episodes in years. The show gave a clear background of all the characters and introduced us to their world instantly. And of course, who would ever forget the Circle of Life moment which is like one of the best use of the song since…well…uhm… The Lion King?

1.09 Fizbo

02. FIZBO (Season 1, Episode 9)
Written by: Paul Corrigan, Brad Walsh
Directed by: Jason Winer

Eight episodes later, and we had the first birthday of the show when Luke Dunphy had his animal themed birthday. Between Gloria jumping as the men drools over her, Claire trying her best in the bead section of the party, and the introduction of Fizbo the clown a.k.a. one of the most memorable alter egos in the show, it’s definitely one of the show’s strongest episodes.

1.15 My Funky Valentine

03. MY FUNKY VALENTINE (Season 1, Episode 15)
Written by: Jerry Collins
Directed by: Michael Spiller

Valentine episodes are common among comedy series, so it’s hard to come up with a memorable one, but the show’s first take on it is its best one yet. If Cameron has Fizbo, then Phil and Claire has Clive and Julianna as their alter egos. This also addressed the initial observation between Jay and Gloria’s age differences, but in a very comedic manner. Now if only the show’s succeeding Valentine-themed ones were as great as this one…

2.02 The Kiss

04. THE KISS (Season 2, Episode 2)
Written by: Abraham Higginbotham
Directed by: Scott Ellis

As I mentioned above, one of the best things about Modern Family is how they address the issues about the show and the characters in it. During the first season, the show received some flack for not showing any kisses between gay couple Cam and Mitch.  And with this second episode from their sophomore season, they finally managed to answer all back in a very heartfelt manner. Kudos, guys!

2.03 Earthquake

05. EARTHQUAKE (Season 2, Episode 3)
Written by: Paul Corrigan, Brad Walsh
Directed by: Michael Spiller

During its first airing, it was a pretty weird theme as it was up against Glee‘s Grilled Cheesus episode. Both involved religious themed storylines, and we saw both of it in the same week. But this one is probably more consistent, as it showed three different storylines, all funny as they revolve around one incident: the earthquake. If Gloria killing a rat isn’t enough for you, then maybe Phil surviving a cabinet fall while Claire is stuck with the plumber might do the trick.

2.05 Unplugged

06. UNPLUGGED (Season 2, Episode 5)
Written by: Steven Levitan
Directed by: Michael Spiller

Definitely what I consider as my most favorite episode of Modern Family ever, I have probably lost count on how many times I’ve seen this episode. On one hand, you have Cam and Mitch battling it out with a lesbian couple for a shot at an exclusive school. On the other, you have Gloria’s rowdy fight with her neighbor’s dog. And over at the Dunphys, a contest on who can stand away from technology the longest is happening. If Earthquake managed to bring three storylines with one relation, then this one had three separate storylines all working effectively. I still howl like a mad man everytime Gloria mentions that “jar of pickols“.

2.06 Halloween

07. HALLOWEEN (Season 2, Episode 6)
Written by: Jeffrey Richman
Directed by: Michael Spiller

Winner of the Emmy for Best Directing in a Comedy Series, the show’s first Halloween episode is definitely a riot in almost any aspect. You have Mitchell being stuck in the bathroom of his office donning a Spiderman costume, Phil and Claire’s over the top Halloween preparations, and Gloria’s accent issues are the highlight of this episode. As the show went on, Modern Family have become some sort of formulaic wit their treatment of the episodes, but this belongs to the earlier ones where everything is still fresh and clicking.

2.08 Manny Get Your Gun

08. MANNY GET YOUR GUN (Season 2, Episode 8)
Written by: Danny Zuker
Directed by: Michael Spiller

It’s safe to say that one of the show’s secret weapons is its great use of its ensemble. That’s why storylines that involve the whole cast is such a joy to watch. For the show’s second season, it’s Manny’s turn to celebrate his birthday and while this would have been a perfect time for a celebration, the opposite happens to be the case for each of the family’s feuding issues. With that said, how the show managed to still end up on a sweet note is what earns the “aww” after watching this episode.

2.13 Caught in the Act

09. CAUGHT IN THE ACT (Season 2, Episode 13)
Written by: Steven Levitan, Jeffrey Richman
Directed by: Michael Spiller

It is no secret that most of the stories featured in the show were from real life experiences of the writing group. That’s why it’s even funnier when Caught in the Act was shown primarily because of them admitting who are responsible for what stories. It was writer Jeffrey Richman’s own experience on what happened to Cama nd Mitch’s spilling issue, while show creator Steven Levitan is guilty of the Dunphy’s. If you still need more evidence on why this episode is one of the show’s best, one simply has to remember that uncompromising position between Phil and Claire at the start of the episode to prove my point.

3.04 Door to Door

10. DOOR TO DOOR (Season 3, Episode 3)
Written by: Bill Wrubel
Directed by: Chris Koch

Moving on to the show’s third season, this is the first episode that particularly clicked with me. That “door to door” montage of Claire, Jay and Manny, and Cameron and Gloria is one of the best edited scenes of the whole series. This episode shows us the fatherly side of Jay, which is a rarity in the show and with his character. Plus points to that Streetcar Named Desire reference in Gloria and Cam’s story.

3.17 Leap Day

11. LEAP DAY (Season 3, Episode 17)
Written by: Danny Zuker
Directed by: Gail Mancuso

The leap day narrative has been done in at least three shows the week this was aired, but what made this one memorable is that they connected it with a character, as it was revealed that it was Cam’s birthday.  Just the mere fact that Cam is in denial that this is his 40th birthday, as compared to his claim that it’s his 10th one is already a hoot. Then you also have Phil’s wish for this day to be special which is so typical of his character to do, and of Claire to be the thorn in his rose of plans. Gloria and Jay’s was the filler one here, but as expected, they managed to wrap this up in the end with a heart-tugging celebration that involved the whole ensemble.

3.24 Baby on Board

12. BABY ON BOARD (Season 3, Episode 24)
Written by: Anraham Higginbotham
Directed by: Steven Levitan

Modern Family has a habit of screwing up their season finale episodes. In the first season, I would have preferred it if Hawaii was their last episode. In the second one, See You Next Fall made more sense as the season closer. But for the show’s third season, they finally managed to hit it the right way. As the episode began, it seemed like it’s your typical episode with all the comedy already. But it went to be more dramatic as it progresses, and it just ended on that bittersweet moment with Cam and Mitch under the stars. Also, it’s their first time to do a cliff hanger story with Gloria’s revelation.

4.07 Arrested

13. ARRESTED (Season 4, Episode 7)
Written by: Becky Mann, Audrey Sielaff
Directed by: Gail Mancuso

Current winner of the Directing in a Comedy Emmy, Arrested is a perfect throwback to the older Modern Family. At this stage in the show, they have already managed to pair up all possible combination in their ensemble, but it’s still refreshing to see them do it by threes instead. Also, it’s great that they focus some of their major storylines to the kids in the show (particularly Haley in this one, since the kids have already built a fanbase of their own, and has shown multiple times in the past that they are capable to deliver as well) since it’s always the adults who take up the credit in terms of the show’s acting.

4.24 Goodnight Gracie

14. GOODNIGHT GRACIE (Season 4, Episode 24)
Written by: Steven Levitan, Jeffrey Richman
Directed by: Steven Levitan

Now we’re even when it comes to season finales. If the first two finales were underwhelming, the latter two definitely were much better ones. Goodnight Gracie is a very dramatic arc to say the least, we’re attending a funeral after all. But if there’s one show that manages to bring the optimism in cases such as this, it’s definitely this one. It felt like an effective throwback to the first season where in the characters are not playing exaggerated versions of themselves (a habit most sitcoms are guilty of), and the sweetness isn’t totally forced. I also noticed how the spotlight in the series finales isn’t limited to one person only, and Alex giving that speech is a worthy way to end an uneven season.

5.02 First Days

15. FIRST DAYS (Season 5, Episode 2)
Written by: Paul Corrigan, Brad Walsh
Directed by: Steven Levitan

As for the show’s current season, what I particularly love about this episode is that it makes the show feel as if it’s a character in the episode as well. With this one, it’s as if the show is on its first day as well, as it tries out new approach in its storytelling. From the stories in the actual episode, up until the delivery of the “lesson” at the end and the transitions in between stories, this is Modern Family doing a different approach. And I’m sorry but I can’t let my discussion of this episode pass without mentioning that hilarious Gloria and Phil moments as commercial extras.

There you have it! Are you excited for the episode this week? And did you love their new OBB? Don’t forget to watch Modern Family this Wednesday, 9 PM on ABC.

Also, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

 

 

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65th Primetime Emmys: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series   Leave a comment

supp actor comedy

PAST PREDICTIONS:

2005: Peter Boyle, “Everybody Loves Raymond[WRONG]
2006:
Jeremy Piven, “Entourage[CORRECT]
2007:
Jeremy Piven, “Entourage[CORRECT]
2008:
Jeremy Piven, “Entourage[CORRECT]
2009:
Neil Patrick Harris, “How I Met Your Mother[WRONG]
2010:
Eric Stonestreet, “Modern Family[CORRECT]
2011:
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family[CORRECT]
2012:
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family[WRONG]

After discussing the directing and writing categories, let’s go back to the acting ones. For now, we’ll be discussing the supporting categories in a comedy series. As for the actors, the final list of nominees ended up shocking the prognosticating world, as it gives the most extreme inclusions and exclusions. Some of the snubbed were current titleholder Eric Stonestreet for Modern Family, Max Greenfield for New Girl, and Will Arnett for Arrested Development. All three were predicted to be sure locks to receive nominations here, but it obviously did not materialize. As for those who were actually nominated…

While not all four Modern Family guys received nominations this year, three of them still managed to do so. 2011 winner Ty Burrell is back for another nod, and this year, he submitted Mistery Date which was the episode that involved a gay Matthew Broderick confusing a date with Burrell’s character. Burrell is one of the few MF stars who have multiple episodes to choose from, so this episode is a hit or miss for others. On one hand, this has the typical Phil funny stuff, but on the other, Broderick’s snub here might be telling of the Academy’s perception of the said episode.

Then we have Jesse Tyler Ferguson. Despite having no wins yet, it is actually surprising that Jesse Tyler Ferguson is one of the four actors from the cast (and the only one aside from Ty Burrell among males) that managed to receive nominations for all four previous seasons of the show. I think this indicates some passion on his character. While his episode The Wow Factor shows a competitive Mitchell; his attempts to beat young kids might not be as comedic as one would assume.

Ed O’Neill’s best tape was two years ago for the episode The Kiss during the show’ sophomore season. However, this year, he’s probably one who can benefit from the “multiple tape format” among co-stars. His original planned tape “The Wow Factor” was changed because it was co-star Ferguson’s submission already. This gives him an advantage to submit another tape of his liking which was the season opener Bringing Up Baby. The common factor among his chosen tapes was that they were all heart-tugging and it might work well for him in the end.

For his final season in SNL, Bill Hader receives a farewell nod from the Academy. This year, he submits the first episode with Seth MacFarlane. I personally think that this is a solid submission with his Clint Eastwood bit as arguably the most memorable among all the episodes in this category. As Kristen Wiig proved last year (and Steve Carell the year before), they mostly don’t care if you are leaving the show already and that they aren’t as sentimental as expected. The only downside of his submission is that there’s no sight of Stefon.

As per the Emmy rulebook, a person who has two continuing roles in a series can’t be campaigned for both, so they must choose one that will be for consideration. That’s the risk that paid off for Tony Hale this year by going with his current show Veep rather than sticking for Arrested Development.  Obviously, it’s a good call knowing that AD very much underperformed while Veep overperformed. As for his submission Running, I think it gives him a lot do in terms of showcasing his comedic skills and is the perfect submission for him. In fact, I’d rank him as the contender with the best possibility to overcome the Modern Family guys.

Lastly, there’s Adam Driver. It’s one of the nominations I root for but certainly did not expect to happen. This is really a surprise because all the talks prior to the nominations have been for the supporting actresses, so Adam Driver being the first one outside of Lena Dunham to get an acting nod means something. In his tape It’s Back, he stands out because of the show’s tone among the other programs in this category. With that said, it can go back and forth with him, though I don’t see him winning this year.

With no Eric Stonestreet this year, this category is very up in the air. However, for the past ten years, series shows with three or more acting nominations has better odds of winning because it gives their actors more tapes and episodes as submissions. This has happened to The West Wing in 2002, Sex and the City in 2004, Desperate Housewives in 2005, Grey’s Anatomy in 2007, and Modern Family here for the past three years. I think the same will still happen this year, and the combo of their three submissions puts Ty Burrell in an advantage over his two co-stars. The only scenario I see where in someone NOT from Modern Family winning is if there is a fatigue on the show already. In that case, Tony Hale wins from a bunch of Veep and Arrested Development supporters.

Prediction: Ty Burrell, “Modern Family
Runner-Up: Ed O’Neill, “Modern Family

Full Rankings:
1. Ty Burrell, “Modern Family
2. Ed O’Neill, “Modern Family
3. Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Modern Family
4. Tony Hale, “Arrested Development!
5. Bill Hader, “Saturday Night Live
6. Adam Driver, “Girls” 

To check my complete Emmy predictions, you can see them here.

And, you can also follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

ANALYSIS: Emmy Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series 2012   Leave a comment

EPISODE SUBMISSIONS:

• Ty Burrell, “Modern Family” (Lifetime Supply)
• Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Modern Family” (Leap Day)
• Max Greenfield, “New Girl” (Control)
• Bill Hader, “Saturday Night Live” (Host: Katy Perry)
• Ed O’Neill, “Modern Family” (Baby on Board)
• Eric Stonestreet, “Modern Family” (Treehouse)

Current champ Ty Burrell can easily go for a repeat win in this category, thanks to having a “moment” in all four Modern Family tapes this season. While his episode submission that dealt with him thinking that there’s something wrong with his health is strong itself, it also does not hurt him that over the top characters and scene-stealers are well loved in this category and even rewarded with multiple Emmys (e.g. Everybody Loves Raymond’s Brad Garrett and Entourage’s Jeremy Piven). Jesse Tyler Ferguson benefits from the fact that he is the most consistent if you take a look at the performance of the cast season-wise. In his submitted episode, he deals with his plans to surprise Cam with a birthday celebration with plans ranging from a Wizard of Oz theme to a party in the deck. If voters want to spread the wealth and reward all Modern Family cast first, then I can see Jesse Tyler Ferguson taking home the Emmy this year. First time Emmy nominee Max Greenfield instantly managed to make it to the final Emmy list this year. That is probably why his character Schmidt is also one of the most popular and most loved in the series. It also helps him that his submission gave him screen time, range, and impact when the character of Zooey Deschanel confronted him with his OC condition. His only hindrance from the trophy is that he has to overcome four Modern Family men with four Modern Family tapes. Bill Hader should be proud of the fact that he is the first male regular Saturday Night Live cast member to get nominated in this category since they started competing here in 2008. Also, since cast member Kristen Wiig officially exited the show last season, he’s the only possible nominee from the show to return next year. His surprise nomination (over the likes of Chris Colfer and Nick Offerman) is most likely due to his  famous Stefon skit, and he rightfully submitted an episode that highlighted that. However, I don’t think this will bring him anywhere to the Emmy podium next month. Two time nominee Ed O’Neill seems to suffer from the fact that he had a weak season altogether, so he has lesser options than last year where in I’m pretty sure he came in second. This year, he submitted an episode where in he helped his granddaughter overcome stage fright by dancing with her. While it tugs to the heart, his exposure was so short and he must just rely with the episodes submitted by his co-stars. All in all, I think he just have to sit this year out and wish for better material next year. 2010 winner Eric Stonestreet had a hit or miss season in totality, but he’s lucky that he got a winning tape with his submission. In “Treehouse”, he took a bet that he can manage to get a single woman’s number and convince her that he’s straight. What’s good about this episode is that it puts Cam front and center and far from the usual Cam and Mitch bickering. However, his role is somewhat polarizing and if viewers are mixed on loving and hating it, that won’t necessarily end with a second Emmy for the actor.

It is noteworthy to mention that once a single show receives three or more nominations in a single field, the winner usually comes from that show as proven by Sex and the City in 2004, Desperate Housewives in 2005, Grey’s Anatomy in 2007, and Modern Family the past two years. With that said, I’m expecting that the winner comes from Modern Family again this year. If they choose to spread the wealth, expect Jesse Tyler Ferguson to win. If they go with overdue factor, Ed O’Neill might pull off an upset. If they based it on a single episode, Eric Stonestreet might repeat. But if they take into consideration all factors, then Ty Burrell gets a repeat win. I’m currently betting on that.

Prediction: 
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”
Dark Horse: Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Modern Family”
Complete Rankings:
1. Burrell
2. Ferguson
3. Greenfield
4. Stonestreet
5. O’Neill
6. Hader