Modern Family brought us their own brand of holiday cheer on Wednesday night, and it was another enjoyable episode from this standout freshman comedy. Though not as laugh-out-loud funny as some of their recent episodes, "Undeck the Halls" was still a quality installment and it has set the bar for hopefully many Christmas episodes to come.
And as a little Christmas gift to the viewers, we learned that Phil's dad will be played by none other than Fred Willard (Fernwood 2 Night, Best in Show). This was some outstanding casting. Not only do Willard and Ty Burrell look alike, their vocal delivery is also very similar. It's not hard to see the pair as related. And, of course, there's the fact that Fred Willard is pretty darn hilarious. His role was very small in this episode, only a few lines, but he killed with each one. Here's to hoping the casting was in anticipation of an upcoming episode (or many) where he'll be a bigger focus.
But it was the holidays -- not Fred Willard -- that this episode was all about. In the Dunphy household, things were going well on Christmas Eve until Claire found what appeared to be a cigarette burn on their couch. All three kids were suspects and Phil and Claire demanded to know who was responsible. That would have been a pretty generic sitcom set up, except Phil took the extra step of threatening to call off Christmas if no one confessed. Learning that Phil has a history of big proclamations was what really made this storyline work. Phil never intended to call off the holiday, but now he and Claire were stuck with it because they couldn't let the kids think they wouldn't follow up their threat. So it became less about the cigarette smoking and more about how to get Christmas back. This was a fun story, though not overwhelmingly hilarious. Phil, as usual, had the best parts, including bringing Christmas back and then shutting it down again, and then proclaiming he'd take the family to Italy to make up for accusing the kids of something sunlight and a Christmas ornament were ultimately responsible for.
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