Modern Family 2.15 "Princess Party" Review

This week's Modern Family, "Princess Party," had the potential to be one of the greats, as Fizbo was making a return, Shelley Long was back as Jay's ex-wife, and Matt Dillon was guest starring as Claire's ex-boyfriend, Robbie.  While I found parts of it quite funny (Alex playing the Jaws theme as Dee entered the house was a master stroke), the sum total of the episode came up a bit short for me.  The "Fizbo" episode in Season One was maybe the best episode of the series to date, so the prospect of seeing Cameron as the clown again really piqued my interest in the episode.  Unfortunately, we only got one, semi-short appearance, and while funny, it didn't give me any belly laughs.  It's probably my fault for having too high expectations for the episode, especially after the excellent run of episodes the show has been on, but then again, the outing fell short in the other stories as well.

I like Shelley Long just fine, but I don't feel any great need to have her return as Jay's ex-wife.  As was reiterated in this episode, she is the one who broke up the family.  Further, the character is often so bizarre that she doesn't seem to jive with the cast of characters we know and love.  She feels too disruptive, and I feel like she's more of an obstacle to the comedy than a facilitator.  Coinciding with Shelley Long's arrival was Matt Dillon as Claire's high school boyfriend.  Personally, I'm not a huge Matt Dillon fan, but I thought he was fine as Robbie.  My problem with the character is that he was so obviously not right for Claire that there was no real danger of Phil thinking Claire might actually want Robbie instead.  If I was the writer (and thank the good Lord that I am not), I would have written the character as a more dashing guy who makes Jay fumble around and be his awkward self.  He can be reassured at the end that Claire loves him for who he is.  Now, perhaps that story is a bit obvious (and a good reason why I am not a comedy writer), but it's more plausible and has more humor potential than the story that made it into the episode.  Yes, Dee making out with Robbie was funny, but it was a one-note funny. Read More...


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