‘Modern Family’ Review: “ClosetCon ’13”
It's a week of firsts on an all-new 'Modern Family' when Jay takes Claire to ClosetCon (the premiere closet industry convention) for the very first time for a little networking, while Cam takes Mitch and Lily home to Missouri for their first farm visit. Meanwhile, Phil gains access to Jay's secret closet back at home, resulting in disaster. After last week's lackluster episode, is "ClosetCon '13" a return to form? Read on for our review!
There's much ado about closets -- and cons -- this week, making "ClosetCon '13" a pretty clever title, even if the episode itself is a rather formulaic and so-so half hour. Claire and Jay head off to a closet convention, and while Jay tries to pull a practical joke on Claire involving a skeleton in a closet, some figurative skeletons emerge from their family closet -- turns out Jay tried to get Phil a job out of the state to get him out of Claire's life, while Claire called immigration on Gloria, and the two have a bonding moment where they find some common ground.
Mitch finds himself in misery in Missouri when he has to deal with the farm life -- made even worse when he has to closet himself to please Cam's bigoted grandmother, who doesn't know about her grandson's family or upcoming wedding. Some brief shenanigans ensue involving a fake story about a farmhand named Bud who adopted a Vietnamese girl, and there's a cute lesson about being honest with family because they might surprise you with their love ... or not, since grandma is still a bigot in the end.
Meanwhile, Phil gets excited to gain access to Jay's secret closet while he's away, finding a treasure trove of antique model toys. Of course he breaks one and spends the rest of the episode fixing it with the help of his own father via Skype, and there's some nice bonding and a cute and unexpected appearance from Fred Willard. Hayley and Alex spend most of the episode bickering over which one of them the pizza boy has a crush on, then get stuck together when their hair gets tangled up in a model plane -- a tired sisterly conflict trope that results in their eventual bonding, naturally.
Overall, this week is an improvement over last week's overloaded mess of an episode, if only because we're back down to the basic three-plot structure, but there are no big, stand-out laughs and everything seems just a bit too unoffensive and, well ... it's just fine. Here's an episode of wholesome, family basic cable comedy where families have simple conflicts that are resolved over the course of 30 minutes with commercial breaks. It's just so basic. I'm starting to wonder what the point of 'Modern Family' really is anymore besides being harmless entertainment that's occasionally pretty funny and often charming. I guess that's all it needs to be.