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‘Modern Family’ Review: “The Help”

Modern Family The Help
ABC

On tonight’s all-new episode of ‘Modern Family,’ ‘Pitch Perfect’ star Adam Levine guests as Gloria’s new male nanny — but Jay and Manny are none too pleased about it. And Nathan Lane’s Pepper returns to help Cam and Mitch plan their exciting upcoming wedding, but his ideas may be a little … too exciting for the pair. Meanwhile, a visit from Phil’s dad (a returning Fred Willard) is exacerbating Claire’s stress. Read on for our review of “The Help”! 

There’s plenty of help to go around in tonight’s episode — some desired, some fought over, and some resisted. First up is Gloria’s new nanny, who just happens to be a dude (or a “Manny,” which throws the real Manny for a loop). Naturally, Jay and Manny aren’t happy about having another guy in the house, especially one who Gloria likes so much. It’s a plot that ‘Friends’ covered years ago, when Rachel finally found the perfect nanny, but the fact that he was a man made Ross feel uncomfortable and threatened, especially given his sensitive leanings. ‘Modern Family’ updates the concept and does away with the weird, sensitivity-phobia, instead focusing on how a male nanny who excels where Jay and Manny falter. I hope Adam Levine sticks around for a while because he’s quite perfect in the part.

Over at Cam and Mitch’s house, the guys seek the help of their extravagant friend Pepper in planning their wedding — the only problem is that Pepper has been planning so many weddings that he’s constantly scrabbling for new and more fantastic ideas; in this instance, a purple-themed wedding where the guys ride in on a unicorn. But Pepper’s brow-beaten assistant Ronaldo has perfect ideas for Cam and Mitch, and the drama of Ronaldo stepping on Pepper’s turf leads to a sweet conclusion when the former professes his love for the latter. Pepper is great at helping, but not so much at stepping back and helping himself, and aside from the genuine adorableness of this plot, it also provides us with some of the biggest laughs. Nathan Lane’s Pepper is always a joy, whether he’s acting over the top or when Lane provides real emotion to such an outlandish character. But Ronaldo might be the real star, and his instant wedding planner love affair with Cam and Mitch is fun to watch.

Back at Claire and Phil’s house, Phil’s dad, Frank, has been visiting for a couple of weeks after breaking it off with his girlfriend in Florida. After talking to her own dad, Claire suggests that Phil and Jay take Frank out for a night on the town to see that there are plenty of fish in the sea — unfortunately, Frank ends up with a very different kind of therapy than Claire intended when he accidentally brings home a prostitute. But she ends up being exactly what he needed because — as it turns out — Frank ditched his girlfriend out of fear that he wasn’t adequate enough, and his prostitute gave him the kind of confidence he needed to get back on the horse, so to speak. It’s a cute plot, but it loses a few points with the unnecessary drama between Alex and Hayley, which feels like ‘Modern Family’ trying to keep the kids involved any way they can.

“The Help” is yet another solid episode following two weeks of consistent improvements, proving that ‘Modern Family’ can definitely keep the momentum rolling after the occasional misfire.

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