Modern Family Season 1 Review
Modern Family is a television comedy series that first aired in 2009. It is to me one of the best sitcoms and such an entertaining, often hilarious show. Its first season is the strongest one with many truly fantastic episodes.
Let’s first talk about each character individually. Jay is excellent as the oldest person of the bunch. I really like his sense of humor and the xenophobic remarks he makes to Gloria are the some of the highlights of the show. Gloria is also really good. She isn’t the funniest character here, but she is a lot of fun and is very likable. Manny is not my favorite, but even he has his moments.
Mitchell and Cam are not the best representations of the LGBT community and some of the stereotypes truly bothered me, but they are still great together as a couple and I still liked that they are a true family. I liked the incorporation of their baby Lily in many storylines and although Mitchell is not particularly funny for the most part, he is the more realistic member of this family. As for Cameron, he is theatrical, but he is very funny at times and I loved some of his monologues quite a bit.
But the most “traditional” family here is by far the best one. I just love Phil and he is without a doubt the finest character in Modern Family. His hilarious lines are the highlights, but his childlike personality is so endearing and such a different character than usual. He is great and definitely the highlight. As for Claire, she’s typical, but still relatable and realistic and sometimes her actions are very funny. The kids are not the greatest, but they are stupendous nonetheless as usually the kids in sitcoms are much worse and even obnoxious. On the one hand, Alex a typical nerd, but on the other hand, she is refreshingly mean and sometimes just nasty towards her siblings. Haley is a clichéd teenager, but she is still likable and the banter between the two sisters is very good. And Luke is pretty good at times, but mostly annoying in his stupidity.
The actors are fantastic all around. All of them are wonderful with Ty Burell being the best of the bunch, Ed O’Neill is also excellent and Eric Stonestreet is stupendous. Of the children, Ariel Winter is by far the best one.
Pilot is absolutely magnificent and such a great way to open the season, introducing us to all of the characters in a quick, but effective way and making us intrigued to learn more about them. The Bicycle Thief doesn’t have the greatest subplot with Phil, but the subplot with Mitchell and Cam is pretty funny.
Come Fly with Me has a great, albeit too brutal subplot with Phil and Jay and it really explores their relationship in a great way. And the other two subplots are pretty entertaining as well. The Incident is a fantastic episode with Mitchell and Claire’s mother being superb. She deserved more than one episode in this season as she is so funny and memorable and the character interactions are great in this one.
Coal Digger is such a terrific episode that has a terrific relationship between Gloria and Claire and such a wonderful, truly heartwarming finale that really brought a smile to my face. Run for Your Wife is another great episode and one of the best of the season as Cam’s racists remarks to their Asian doctor are just hilarious, Jay and Gloria’s disagreement over Manny’s Columbian outfit are really well executed and the running competition between Claire and Phil is just so funny while also being beautiful.
En Garde isn’t the most hilarious episode, but it does have a wonderful relationship between Claire and Mitchell. It is a shame that this is the only episode the two shared as they are quite good together. Great Expectations is amazing. Everyone stays at Jay’s house and that subplot is really good, but the other one is even better with Cam and Mitch reuniting with their crazy old friend. And Elizabeth Banks stole the show as she usually does and she is such a great fit for this character and I hope she returns as she is so funny.
I really do not understand the praise that Fizbo receives as it is to me one of the weakest episodes in this season due to Manny’s boring quest for a girl and Phil’s not that interesting phobia of clowns being too extended. Undeck the Halls is a phenomenal Christmas episode and one of the best in the first season due to all three subplots being wonderful – Mitch and Cam have an interesting new visitor, Claire and Phil’s parenting methods are beautifully brought to the table here and of course Jay’s hard and eventually softened attitude towards Christmas traditions is some great stuff and I just love how the series explores some multi-cultural, diverse families and the troubles those face.
Up All Night is problematic. Jay’s relationship with Manny’s biological father is interesting and the character finally shows up plus Mitch and Cam’s parenting methods clash here in a funny manner, but Phil’s subplot is mostly boring despite Claire’s obsession with firemen which is hysterical. Not in My House ties all of the stories up really well, Cam’s good nature is well put to use here and Phil is again funny, but the dog butler in Jay and Gloria’s subplot is stupid and dull.
Fifteen Percent is a classic. Absolutely every story here works with Jay’s suspicion over the sexuality of one of his friends being very funny, Manny is even very funny here and of course the highlights are once again the Dunphys with the remote situation being one of the funniest scenes of the entire season. Moon Landing is another great one. Jay and Cameron finally get to spend time together with hilarious results, Gloria’s crazy driving is also pretty funny and Claire is the most memorable character here and so relatable in her competition with her old friend.
My Funky Valentine is another fantastic episode and this mid-point of the season is really the greatest with hit after hit. Mitch and Cam helping Manny out with the girl is sweet, Jay confronts his insecurities with the age gap between him and Gloria and once again the Dunphy couple wins the episode with a hilarious role-play sex date that goes awry. They are so charming and funny together. Fears is a huge let down after the previous superb outing in large part thanks to somewhat disappointing storylines except for Mitchell and Cam who are fantastic here with a very relatable and heartwarming problem.
Truth Be Told puts Phil in an uncomfortable position with amusing results, but Mitchell’s as well as Jay’s stories are very good as well. Starry Night is one of the weakest episodes of this season because only Gloria and Cameron’s subplot is quite satisfying and it was great to finally see the two of them together.
Game Changer is absolutely amazing. Cameron is so good here, the Latino family is also very entertaining and the Dunphys are once again the best with Phil being so lovable in this one. Benched has its moments, but is mostly forgettable.
Travels with Scout has a great use of Phil’s father and the two are such a great duo. But Cam is pretty interesting as well, with a somewhat different side to him explored this time around. Airport 2010 has a great premise and most of the characters are really good, but the build-up to the holiday is a bit too prolonged and not as entertaining as it could have been.
Hawaii is an improvement over the previous episode with some romantic moments, but with Jay being the highlight with some very important issues being raised. Family Portrait is an excellent way to end the season. This is a great Claire vehicle, Phil is once again terrific and that last sequence is so endearing and a perfect ending for the season. I just wish that the subplot with Mitchell wasn’t so stereotypical.
All in all, Modern Family Season 1 has some weaker episodes and some stereotypes here and there, but this is mostly a fantastic season filled with so many classic episodes, excellent use of all of its endearing characters and many hilarious scenes.
Worst Episodes: Up All Night, Starry Night and Benched.
Best Episodes: Coal Digger, Run for Your Wife, Fifteen Percent, Moon Landing, My Funky Valentine and Family Portrait.