I like the ease of Modern Family. Even the more over-the-top characters (Phil, Cameron and sometimes Jay) have a great subtleness to them that makes their line delivery that much funnier. I say this because I caught a bit of The Middle before watching "Run for Your Wife." That show was so generically frantic and forced that it was painful to watch. Lesson learned. Don't turn it to ABC until the nine o'clock hour.
Even though both series are basically about the same thing -- family -- Modern Family is far and away the better comedy. Not only is it funnier, but also the jokes are smarter and the characters are more relatable. This is saying something since The Middle is trying way too hard to be the comedy that "middle America" will enjoy. Me, I think the idea of supporting your kids and making your loved ones feel special resonates more easily than pining for your son's old football jersey as a sign of his love. But that's just me.
"Run for Your Wife" had three great stories to follow, all told with a perfectly relaxed tone, while still hitting you hard with some great laugh-out-loud moments. For the kids, it was the first day of school. Claire and Phil were "go, go, go" getting their three kids out the door, while Jay and Gloria were helping Manny get ready for his first day in the fifth grade. While the Dunphy kids had their standard prep for day one, Manny was decked out in a traditional Columbian poncho. This was a hilarious visual and gave Jay some great material: "There's only two places a man should wear a poncho: Niagara Falls and log rides." After discovering the poncho stuffed in the trunk of Jay's car, Gloria demanded they go to the school to support Manny and let him wear it. Gloria's love for her son is strong, but not blind. So when Manny also pulled out a pan flute, she knew it must be destroyed.
Claire, meanwhile, was set for a quiet, relaxing day at home without the kids. Phil, thinking his wife would be rudderless without the children around, rearranged his schedule to be home. He felt Claire would need some support, when all she wanted was a day to herself: "I listen with my mind, and if you pay attention, women will tell you what they want by telling you the opposite of what they want." In no time, this turned into Phil challenging his wife to a footrace, which ended with Claire realizing her husband wasn't staying home for her, but more for himself. Just a small number of episodes in, the series has proven it has heart under the hilarity, which makes me enjoy the series even more.
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