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No Sophomore Slump Here!
on September 20, 2011
When "Modern Family" premiered in the fall of 2009, it was a breath of fresh air. An incredibly brilliant, well written and acted series depicting family life of the Pritchett/Dunphy clan. It was one of the best things I had seen on network TV in years. From start to finish, the debut season was an instant classic, and the show deservedly got the attention from critics and award shows. But then came the obvious question. Can they do it again? Was the show a one season wonder? Would they suffer from the ever dreadful 'sophomore slump'? When season two premiered in the fall of 2010, it was apparent right away, especially with the first few episodes, that any fears or doubt were instantly washed away. Season 2 premiered as strong as ever, and rolled out 24 high quality episodes. But first....
A little catch up. The series features Pritchett family patriarch, Jay (the fantastic Ed'o'Neill), who is married to a much younger columbian woman named Gloria (Sofia Vergara), and step-father to Manny. His daughter Claire (Julie Bowen) is married to Phil (Ty Burrell), and they have three children, Haley, Luke, and Alex. Jay's son Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) lives with his partner, Cameron (the hilarious Eric Stonestreet) and their adopted daughter, Lily.
Season 2 got things off on the right foot. The season premiere, "The Old Wagon", was a strong welcome back that showcased everything that makes the show so great. Humor and heart. The episode dealt with Phil finally deciding to get rid of the old family car, but not without one last trip down memory lane. One of the season's best episodes for sure. Next up is "The Kiss". The show had had some controvery surrounding the gay characters of Mitchell and Cameron never kissing. This hilarious episode focuses on Mitchell's growing concern of Cameron's reluctance to show passion in public. It was such a well done episode that made the ballyhoo surrounding it into nothing, as the episode handled it in such a normal, natural way, and didn't make a big deal out of it. Brilliant! Episode 3, "Earthquake", was supposed to be the season premiere, but was pushed back to be the 3rd episode. It doesn't take much to figure out what the episode is about. "Unplugged" is a great episode that features Phil and Claire persuading the kids to all give up their electronical devices and learn to communicate better with each other. "Halloween" is another instant classic. Claire goes all out for the holiday and has everyone playing a part, but of course, it doesn't go too well. Elsewhere, "Caught In The Act" is an unflinchingly funny and honest episode where the 3 Dunphy kids catch their parents 'in the act '. Valentine's Day laughs return in the hilarious "Bixby's Back", and Nathan Lane shines as a Mitchell/Cam buddy who befriends Jay in "Boys' Night". "See You Next Fall" deals with Alex's middle school graduation, and the hilarity that ensues trying to get there. The season ends with Jay's birthday and him just wanting to go fishing, but his family has other plans in "The One That Got Away". There's so much more!
Some say season 2 DID in fact suffer from a sophomore slump, but I just don't see it. The second half of the season isn't as strong as the first, but that doesn't mean anything. It's still great. The overall season is yet another testament to the great writing, acting, and directing that was established in season one. Each character is still fully fleshed out and with their own unique personalities. The incredibly talented cast continue to make their charcaters full fledged, fully fleshed out characters we love, care about, and laugh with. It doesn't hurt that the writing is so sharp, so clever, so relatable, and the humor as top notch as ever, for the actors to once again display why they are the best ensemble cast on television. I love how the show never shys away from the sweet moments, how almost every episode ends with something nice. That's just not something you get a lot of on television these days. It's the show that not only makes me laugh, but can also move me and make me feel for these people. I can't remember the last time I said that about a network television show.
The season 2 set also comes pretty well packed with special features. Just like the season 1 set, it comes with Deleted Family Interviews, Deleted And Extended Scenes, and a Gag Reel. For the rest, we are treated to 6 featurettes (2 more than season 1) and a music video for "Imagine Me Naked", the song Dylan wrote for Haley. The new featurettes are "At Home With Modern Family", "Modern Family Holidays", "Mitch's Flash Mob", "Strangers On A Treadmill - Table Read", "Waiting For Oprah", and "Chatting With Steve Levitan".
Season 2 of "Modern Family" is worth every penny. Some special guests include Shelley Long, Matt Dillon, Natahn Lane, Elizabeth Banks, and more. In addition to it's cast, it can't help but have great guest stars too! Simply put, "Modern Family" is divine television. The rare show that deserves all the hype, all the praise, and gives me hope for network comedy. Season 2 is great. Pick it up now.