Modern Family Recap: Saddle Up

Hey, so did you guys catch the Modern Family Awards on Sunday night? The show swept the comedy category of the 2011 Emmys so decisively that now there will surely be legions of haters poised to cry "overrated!" or "meh" if Modern Family doesn’t consistently prove to be as sharp and cutting edge as Julie Bowen’s clavicles. So how did Modern Family's first episodes of the new season fare? A bit like Ty Burrell’s Emmy acceptance speech: not all that surprising and a little sentimental, but charming nonetheless.

The night kicks off with the whole clan (plus Dylan, who’s starting to look like a Madame Tussaud’s wax figure version of himself) heading to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for a dude ranch vacation, complete with skeet shooting, horseback riding (Gloria’s got skills), super-cute cowboy clothes, and many versions of masculinity to explore. Phil is convinced that when Jay says, "Phil is my son-in-law" he’s actually saying "Phyllis, my son-in-law," so Phil has been practicing his cowboy skills in an attempt to impress Jay with his manliness. (It's not the first time this particular story line, the cowboy particulars aside, has been trotted out.) Cam and Mitchell are on the macho kick, too — they see the trip as an opportunity to butch up the photo book they’re putting together to impress prospective moms — they wanna adopt a baby boy! Then Mitchell, who isn’t exactly the strongest dude on the ranch, grapples with the frustratingly heteronormative question of whether he’s manly enough to raise a son ("I need to be able to teach my son all the things that my dad taught … Claire"). Luke just wants to shoot off some firecrackers and see "stuff turn into flying chunks of stuff," while Manny, bless his heart, just wants to book a spa treatment. Read More...


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