Modern Family “Lifetime Supply” Review

Having a Colombian mother, I grew up with my fair share of unusual old wives’ tales and superstitions, but tonight’s Modern Family was the first time I had heard about the catastrophe attached to dreaming about a black mouse. Considering the number of things that I was told were bad omens in my childhood – including certain houseplants and birds – it doesn’t really surprise me that Gloria would become so agitated over an innocuous dream she could hardly remember about a little black mouse. Suddenly every little thing seemed to point to disaster and the worst of it was that she had no idea what her dream was trying to tell her.

For Jay, there was a little bit of a disaster in Javier returning to make up for missed time with Manny. Although Jay’s luck wasn’t with him when he tried to one-up Javier at the racetrack, I liked seeing Jay get passive-aggressive in an effort to assert himself as a worthwhile male figure in Manny’s life. Jay and Manny have become quite close over the last few seasons of Modern Family and as Jay explained, he’s got his own “thing” going with Manny and he didn’t like to be reminded of the fact that he’s technically not Manny’s father. It was a genuinely heartfelt sentiment coming from someone that frequently seems annoyed by his family’s wacky antics.

The most direct link between Gloria’s dream and misfortune was the black mouse that had made a comfortable home out of Cam’s trophy box in the garage. After wining the equivalent of an Oscar in the environmental law world, Mitch proudly displayed his trophy on the fireplace mantle. Cam added one of his most treasured bass fishing trophies to the mantle and Mitch was immediately irritated. It wasn’t until Alex – who is basically the female teen version of Mitch – came over to hear Mitch’s complaints that he realized that he had been acting like a fourteen year old girl.

In Phil’s case, the fact that he finally ran out of the lifetime supply of razors he had won on a game show fifteen years before only enforced Gloria’s panic about their impending doom. Having missed a phone call from his doctor, Phil had already convinced himself that he was dying and was living out his last moments on Earth as a clingy father. I loved how his chances of survival became slimmer and slimmer in his head as the day went on and he went from having a 60% chance of imminent death to having a 95% chance of death without ever having spoken to his doctor.

Although the thought of Phil actually having to battle a life threatening illness would not be very funny, Claire’s confidence that Phil was overreacting made it easy to laugh at everything that he was saying and doing. Eventually the whole family got sucked into the idea that Phil was going to die, but the despair lasted for only a few moments before the truth about the doctor’s missed call was revealed to everyone’s relief.

I knew that punch line was coming from the moment Phil and his doctor chatted about real estate, but it was a welcome happy ending to what could have been a story that went in a darker direction. I definitely don’t mind when comedies or sitcoms dabble in the dramatic every now and then, but there’s something special about the way Modern Family can touch on somewhat serious life issues through a purely comedic lens without turning it into parody.

Although we frequently see the makings of the emotional safety net that this family of characters could provide for one another, the stories have never become dramatic enough that we’ve had to shed tears along with them. There may come a time for that in the future of Modern Family, but for right now, I’m thrilled to be able to sit back and enjoy a slice of life family comedy that doesn’t take real life too seriously.