Phil's birthday episode did not live up to the standard set by Luke's birthday episode. But how could it, really? Luke had Fizbo. Phil only had an iPad. But even without Cameron's clown alter ego, "Game Changer" was still a lot of fun. It had its weak moments, including the fact that all three storylines were standard sitcom fodder, but the likeability of the characters and the deftness of the actors helped make the episode enjoyable.
Again, the set ups here were all industry standards. Claire had to race around to get Phil's perfect birthday present, Cameron overheard private conversations, Mitchell wanted to become tougher and Jay thought he was better at something than he actually is. All were raised above the norm with some well-placed twists and some great performances. Ty Burrell displayed a wide range of emotions during Phil's draining day. Quickly moving from joy to disappointment, Burrell made Phil's pain very funny. Best was when Phil realized the key to a good birthday is low expectations. Returning home after time spent at the Fun Zone batting cages, Phil expected nothing and admitted to Claire, with an emotionless smile, that everything was fine because he could no longer feel. This was a great reaction to his very disappointing birthday.
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